City Ballet introduces seven dancers as the performance continues

It started like any other Saturday at the New York City Ballet: company class followed by a day of rehearsals. But for the seven dancers, it ended better than usual. Preston Chamblee, Ashley Hod, Emily Kikta, Isabella LaFreniere, Miriam Miller, Mira Nadon and Emma Von Enck, all members of the ballet troupe, were all promoted to soloists.

What a surprise: Each was sent an email that morning to report to Jonathan Stafford, the City Ballet’s artistic director, at the end of the day. They receive news as a group. “We met at the door, and we hope this is good news as we are all here,” LaFreniere said with a laugh.

The promotions come at an uncertain time. The dancers are back in the studio for winter practice, which begins on Thursday, 10 days late due to disruption caused by the spread of the Omicron variant, which forced the company to pause and cancel performances of “George Balanchine’s Nutcracker” in late December.

“The closure after Nutcracker was really devastating,” Hod said. “I missed three Sugarplum shows I was supposed to have, and that left me bewildered in career-wise. As a member of the legion, you really value every opportunity.”

A soloist is one notch below the level that the principal covets. Among the women, all were highly regarded, with the exception of Von Enck, a sparkling dancer who consistently delivered vibrant performances. Nadon too, constantly impresses, even in his first debut Dewdrop’s performance in “The Nutcracker.” And in the fall, LaFreniere, 25 years old, made her notable debut as the female lead in Balanchine’s “Chaconne”.

Since she joined the company in 2014, LaFreniere’s career has been cut short due to injury. To get through tough times, she focuses on staying fit. “I just try to keep my chin up every day,” says LaFreniere. “Small steps are big wins.”

Hod, 26, has also been with the company for nearly 10 years after joining the ballet troupe in 2013 after 10 years as a student at City Ballet’s School of American Ballet. “I didn’t expect this to happen at this point in pre-season and how it turned out,” she said. “I thought promoting in a really big group wouldn’t feel as special, but it was quite the opposite: These are all dancers that I admire a lot – many of them grew up with me. They are my friends. I mean, you spend 12 hours a day with these people! ”

Hod said that they were prepared during the meeting, but as soon as they entered the dressing room, they let loose. “We were all screaming and hugging and crying, and it was just an overblown explosion of emotions within us,” Hod said. “You can only feel the journey we’ve been through and the journey we’ve been on together. It was a moment I will never forget.” City Ballet introduces seven dancers as the performance continues

Fry Electronics Team

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