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The 8 Best Ballet and Summer Dance Festivals in the World 2022

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Summer dance festival. Three little words that conjure up a world of beauty, grace, refinement – and also provocation, wild abandon, and heat. What could be better for a weekend adventure or a glorious week away this summer? Abbie Martin Greenbaum has compiled a list of the best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob’s Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.

what are the best ballet and contemporary dance festivals in the world this summer?

With its delicate balance of grace and movement, dance performances manage to harness the same kind of magic as the bright summer sunshine. And after two years of uncertainty, we are relieved to see almost all of our favorite festivals return to the stage this season. From Austria to Colorado, here’s our list of 8 extraordinary summer dance festivals to get you started.

best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob's Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.
The best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob’s Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.

Tickets are already on sale for some of these events, some are nearly sold out, and others are just about to become available, so this is a good time to get out your calendar and start scheduling.

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8 of the best ballet and contemporary dance festivals in the summer of 2022

1. Festival TransAmériques

Festival TransAmériques. Montreal, Canada, May 25th – June 9th, 2022. Founded in 1985, FTA is both a theater and dance festival dedicated to contemporary works. This year’s festival will include 23 shows, presented in venues and public spaces across the city.

best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob's Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.
best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob’s Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.

The full program is available online, and includes nine dance performances. Among them, Re:Incarnation by Qudus Onikeku, High Bed Lower Castle by Ellen Furey and Malik Nashad Sharpe, Face to Face by Naishi Wang, and Make Banana Cry by Andrew Tay and Stephen Thompson.  Stay at: The Fairmont Queen ElizabethDon’t miss: The final dance performance of the fest, Mélanie Demers’ Confession Publique.

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2. spoleto

Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, South Carolina, May 27th – June 12th, 2022One of the largest performing arts festivals in the United States, Spoleto was originally founded in 1977.  Composer Gian Carlo Menotti launched it as a counterpart to the Italian arts festival of the same name. It features dance, opera, musical theater, jazz, visual art, and more.

best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob's Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.
best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob’s Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.

Included in the program are three dance performances: POWER, from celebrated choreographer Reggie Wilson; Ballet Encore with stars of New York City Ballet; and three evenings with Cuba’s Malposo Dance Company. Stay at: Wentworth Mansion or Belmond Charleston Place. Don’t miss: Though it is not quite dance, Machine de Cirque will offer a night of spectacular physical performance, as seven acrobats take the stage for an unforgettable circus performance.

3. American Dance Festival

American Dance Festival, Durham, North Carolina, June 3rd – July 20th, 2022 and Raleigh, North Carolina, September 8th – 11th, 2022. The American Dance Festival has assembled a thrilling program for its 89th season.

best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob's Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.
best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob’s Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.

They’ll feature performances by both established and emerging companies, including ShaLeigh Dance Works, Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre, Pilobolus, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Abby Z and the New Utility, and others. And with the addition of their Raleigh festival in early September, they will keep you on your toes almost all summer long.  Stay at: 21c Museum Hotel DurhamDon’tmiss: The ADF Fête on June 17th. A season-opening celebration in honor of Giorgios Bakatsias.

4. Jacob’s Pillow

Jacob’s Pillow, Beckett, Massachusetts, June 22nd – August 28th, 2022The famed dance center returns for a very special 90 anniversary season. As well as ten weeks of live performances in the newly renovated Ted Shawn Theatre, attendees can also expect virtual programming and community events.

best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob's Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.
best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob’s Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.

The festival will include both performances that are one-night-only, and performances that run for one week each – including America(na) to Me, BODYTRAFFIC, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, SW!NG OUT, and A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham.  Stay at: Blantyre in Lenox Massachusetts.  Don’t miss: The 90th Anniversary Gala, on June 18th – two days before the festival begins.

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5. Festival D’avignon.

Festival D’avignon, Avignon, France, July 7 – July 26, 2022. One of the most prominent arts festivals in the world, the Avignon Festival was founded in 1947 by French actor Jean Vilar. We are thrilled that this summer it returns for its 76th year.

Avignon, Provence, France.

In addition to dance, attendees can enjoy theater, storytelling, readings, music, visual art, and readingsStay at:  The Hotel Crillon le Brave or Hotel La MirandeDon’t miss: The presentation of this year’s program, on May 10th.

6. ImPulsTanz

ImPulsTanz, Vienna, Austria, July 7th – August 8th, 2022. Started in 1984, ImPulsTanz is one of the leading international contemporary dance festivals in the world. Hundreds of dance performances, workshops, DJ sets, and research projects fill the city of Vienna, bringing together over 100,000 spectators and performers.

best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob's Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.
best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob’s Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.

This year, they are expecting performances by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Akram Khan, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker / Rosas, Wim Vandekeybus, Florentina Holzinger, Trajal Harrell, Lenio Kaklea Michael Turinsky, and many others. Stay at: Hotel Sacher Wien. Don’t miss: The festival’s collaboration with many local museums, including mumok and Leopold Museum.

7. Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga, New York, July 12th – July 18th, 2022.  As well as their annual June jazz festival, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) also hosts the New York City Ballet for a long weekend every July.

best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob's Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.
best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob’s Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.

This year’s lineup includes three separate performances: “20th Century Masters,” “Evolution,” and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The festival will feature the work of both classic and contemporary choreographers and composers, and we know it will be a summer to remember. Stay at: The Saratoga Arms HotelDon’t miss: Back by popular demand, “NYCB On and Off the Stage,” which will give audiences an intimate sneak peak of everything they can expect at the residency

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8. Vail International Dance Festival

Vail Dance FestivalVail, Colorado, July 29th – August 9th 2022. From their first festival 1989, the Vail Dance festival has included a vibrant mix of dance performances and educational programming. They began their assent to international dance destination when they hosted the Bolshoi Ballet Academy of Moscow during that first summer, marking the company’s first tour in the United States in 40 years.

best ballet and modern dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob’s Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto.

This year’s program includes one showstopper after another, with appearances by New York City Ballet MOVES, Ephrat Asherie Dance, Limón Dance Company, DanceAspen, and others.  Stay at: The Four Seasons Resort Vail or SonnenalpDon’t miss: On August 4th, the return of Dancing in the Park. In the neighboring town of Avon, the festival puts on a one-night-only event that is participatory and free for dance fans of all ages. If reading about all this dance makes you want to get up and move – this is your chance.

best ballet and contemporary dance festivals in the summer of 2022

That’s the rundown on some of the best ballet and contemporary dance festivals in the world for summer 2022, including Jacob’s Pillow, Avignon, Vail, Saratoga and Spoleto. What’s at the top of your list?

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Abbie Martin Greenbaum grew up in New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn, where she drinks a lot of coffee and matches roommates together for a living. At Oberlin College, she studied English and Cinema, which are still two of her favorite things, along with dessert and musical theater. She believes in magic.

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