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Vail Youth Ballet Co. performs Saturday

Vail Friends of Dance presents Spring Showcase at the Battle Mountain High School Auditorium

The Vail Youth Ballet Company has been rehearsing for months and will bring their talents to the stage on Saturday with performances at 1 and 6 p.m. at the Battle Mountain High School auditorium.
of Dance/Courtesy photo

Spring is often thought of as a symbolic time of the year, representing new beginnings with the melting of snow and awakening of flowers, migration of birds and planting of flowers. The Vail Youth Ballet Co.’s Spring Showcase incorporates many of these symbols and themes. Audiences will be treated to two performances of traditional ballet, contemporary, hip hop, lyrical and more as the dancers share styles of dance that speak to each of them, personally.

This year’s Spring Showcase features twenty-two pieces, some including the entire company and small groups, while others are duets and solos. Each of the six graduating seniors performs a solo to their own choreography and personally selected music; ultimately representing a personal story or message.

“We have six seniors this year who each bring a distinctive style, flow and objective to their pieces,” said artistic director Ashley Calligan. “Choreographing alongside professionals gives these dancers a look at what the process looks like at various stages in their dance careers. It also teaches them how to command the space, give peers feedback and corrections, and see the piece from the idea to the stage.”



Dancer Astrid McGinley chose “Love on The Brain” to dance a contemporary duet with Clara Goehring, expressing their story of friendship and development in dance together over the years. McGinley said that the choreography she selected “showcases constant movement and our abilities in jumps and floor work.”

Astrid McGinley soars through the air while rehearsing her performance, “Love on the Brain” as part of the annual Spring Showcase, presented by Vail Friends of Dance on Saturday at the Battle Mountain High School Auditorium in Edwards.
Vail Friends of Dance/Courtesy photo

Instead of dancing to music, Aletheia Greshko will be dancing to the poem, “A Dream of Life,” and will be improvising her dance rather than performing a pre-choreographed number. “For me, dance is freedom and I want to be able to explore movement as it comes, rather than being boxed in by choreography,” Greshko said. “It is very liberating to me.”

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Gracie Johnson’s contemporary piece to “Where’s My Love” incorporates and honors the different training, teachers and friends she has experienced throughout her dance career at Vail Valley Academy of Dance and studios outside of the valley. Johnson also choreographed an all-company group number to the “Barbie” favorite, “Dance the Night” by Dua Lipa. Johnson wanted to choreograph a fun piece where everyone can have a good time with friends and celebrate as this year of dance comes to a close.

In addition to traditional ballet the Spring Showcase will feature an all-company group number to the “Barbie” movie favorite, “Dance the Night” by Dua Lipa.
of Dance/Courtesy photo

Ellie Drescher’s contemporary ballet performance to “The Graduate” is sure to bring a tear to the audience as she recognizes old memories while looking forward to moving on and making new ones. Drescher enjoyed seeing what moves came to mind as she explored this fun but emotional music. Drescher has also choreographed the only tap dance on the program.

Ava Harper continues the emotional storytelling with her contemporary solo to “Easy” by Son Lux. The interesting textures of the song give way to the story of letting someone go and the emotions involved in the process. Harper also set a group hip-hop piece that “was the most fun ever,” she said. She has always loved teaching and knew that she would love teaching the group her piece, something she hopes to continue in the future.

Vivian May chose to choreograph her contemporary lyrical piece to Florence & The Machine’s “Shake It Out.” She wanted her performance to be powerful, as she leaves company with a bang. The story is about hard days, but it is OK to shake it off, move on and use those times to become stronger. May enjoyed choreographing this challenging piece highlighting movements that felt good to her.

In addition to student-choreographed dances, there are a number of pieces that have been set by guest choreographers Jared Mesa, Sarah Tallman and Clayton Cunningham.

As an award winner for his choreography at Burklyn Ballet Theatre and currently with the Western Arkansas Ballet, Mesa is excited to see both pieces he’s choreographed. “All of these dancers have immense talent. The Vail Valley community should not miss this performance. The level of diverse styles and talent will make for a very entertaining performance,” Mesa said.

Tallman has spent the past 15 years performing with Wonderbound and has danced in over 30 original works. An accomplished choreographer, her experience with the Vail Youth Ballet Co. dancers is always a pleasure. “It is a joy spending time in the studio with them as they have a wonderful ability to take in new information and make it their own,” she said. They pour their hearts out, make new discoveries in their dancing and push the limits of what is possible.”

Vail Friends of Dance presents Vail Youth Ballet Co.’s Spring Showcase with traditional ballet, tap, contemporary and hip hop performances.
of Dance/Courtesy photo

Presented by Vail Friends of Dance, the Spring Showcase is under the direction of artistic director Ashley Calligan, who has also choreographed several pieces for the company dancers. There will be two performances on Saturday at 1 and 6 p.m. General admission tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at or at the door. Be sure to bring cash for the bake sale and to purchase flowers for your favorite dancers.

Hovey & Harrison in Edwards will be hosting a Spring Showcase happy hour and a Mexican buffet on Saturday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person for the buffet with all proceeds going directly to the Vail Friends of Dance mission of providing financial aid, scholarships and performance opportunities to local dancers. The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased in advance online at or at the door.


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