NYC Ballet dancers take the stage for a unique Jackson performance

(Jackson, Wyo.) - This weekend, experience the artistry, beauty and strength of dancers from New York City Ballet.

Jackson is one of only four cities in the nation that gets to enjoy Stars of American Ballet, featuring dancers from the New York City Ballet, which is designed for the first-time ballet fan all the way to the ballet aficionado.

The show will feature five female and five male dancers performing pieces that have never been seen before in Jackson like Justin Peck’s Sea Change and Distractions, as well as Balanchine’s Tarantella, Stars and Stripes, and Who Cares?

Stars Director Daniel Ulbricht says that he designs the performance program like a tasting menu at a restaurant -- there is something for everyone. 

"The goal is to find things that identify with the audience's likes," he said. "It could be something that is contemporary, it could be something that is more modern or it could be something classical. My goal as a director is for somebody to leave with a favorite piece."

While the Stars of the American Ballet will offer something to everyone, Ulbricht has a strong focus on attracting a new fan of ballet. 

"We will be representing someone's first ballet experience, so I really want to make a mark," he added. "We infuse it [the ballet pieces] with modern music, letting them see the artistry and athleticism up close."

The Stars of the American Ballet performance in Jackson features some of the top NYC Ballet dancers. Eight are considered "Principal," which means they are at the top of their career, with one "Soloist" and one "Corps" member dancing. 

Ulbricht says that one of the main goals of this tour is to give communities access to the dancers that they couldn't get anywhere else. The dancers will be available for photos and autographs after the performances, and the public is often invited to dress rehearsals, classes, Q&As, and lectures.

"A really important component is not just making it a show where everybody goes and leaves, but having a larger impact on the community," said Ubricht. 

"In New York, people stop talking about the ballet when they get to the subway station. In a place like Jackson, they talk about it for days and weeks and I think that means we have done our craft well," he added.

On Thursday, August 18, Dancers' Workshop will host a Fundraising Gala Evening with Stars of American Ballet. The annual Fundraising Gala will include a performance and dinner in one fabulous evening hosted by Barbara and John Vogelstein. Purchase Gala tickets here before they sell out.

Performances will be on Friday, August 19 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, August 20 at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets here. 

There will also be free open rehearsals this Wednesday, August 17 at 5 p.m. and on Friday, August 19 at 1 p.m. These are free and open to the public. More information on open rehearsals is available here.

This is the 7th year that the dancers of Stars of American Ballet have been in a summer residency at Dancers’ Workshop. The group has traveled to Santa Fe and Napa Valley, will spend this weekend in Jackson and will head to Chicago after.

"We are really excited to be here. I think there will be a really great energy in town, not only with the community but with the dancers. The dancers love coming to Jackson," said Ubricht.