ABT's Isabella Boylston Brings New Festival to Her Hometown in Sun Valley, Idaho

Ballet Sun Valley Artistic Director Isabella Boylston and choreographer Gemma Bond. Photo by Dean Shitagi for Ballerina Project.

Ballet stars are coming to Sun Valley, Idaho—the hometown of American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who will serve as artistic director of the new Ballet Sun Valley festival, August 22–24.

Not only does the event feature a top-notch lineup from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet and others, it gives selected students the opportunity to take free classes from the festival's performers on the Day for Dance Education on August 23.

"My producer Bob Smelick and I came up with the idea together," explains Boylston. "I've always felt strongly that education is the number-one way to change the world into a better place. I've seen firsthand what a huge, positive impact dance can have on kids, regardless of whether or not they actually end up becoming professional dancers. Growing up, I relied on ballet scholarships for pretty much my whole training, so I'm thrilled that all the classes will be free, thanks to a generous sponsor."

Boylston says about half of the participating students are from the Idaho dance community, and half are from out of state. "I'm thrilled that so many kids are making the trip for the day and to see the shows," she says.

On the Day for Dance Education, NYCB's Tyler Angle and ABT's Stella Abrera and Lauren Post and will teach ballet, NYCB's Tiler Peck will lead a class in variations on pointe, ABT's James Whiteside will give a jazz lesson, and ABT's Gemma Bond—who created a new work for the festival—will lead an introduction to choreography class.

Students will also receive a free ticket for one of the festival's performances, and Boylston will give a talk about her journey in dance from her early days in Idaho to her rise at American Ballet Theatre.

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