Emilie Gerrity, Isabella LaFreniere, Roman Mejia, and Mira Nadon are promoted to Principal Dancer
New York City Ballet has announced that four of its dancers — Emilie Gerrity, Isabella LaFreniere, Roman Mejia, and Mira Nadon — have been promoted from Soloist to Principal Dancer.
The promotions were made by NYCB Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford and Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan, following the final performance of a two-week run of The Sleeping Beauty, which closed the Company's 2023 Winter Season. During the season, all four dancers originated featured roles in World Premiere ballets in addition to making significant debuts in a wide range of the company's repertory.
With her promotion, Nadon becomes the first Asian American female Principal Dancer in New York City Ballet's history.
During NYCB's 2023 Winter Season, Gerrity debuted in featured roles in Balanchine's Walpurgisnacht Ballet and Peter Martins' The Sleeping Beauty (Lilac Fairy). She also originated featured roles in the company's Winter Season premieres, Justin Peck's Copland Dance Episodes and Keerati Jinakunwiphat's Fortuitous Ash. In recent seasons Gerrity has also debuted in featured roles in Balanchine's Apollo, Episodes, and Symphony in C.
Born in Danbury, Connecticut, Gerrity began her dance training at the age of five at Betty Jean's Dance Studio in Wappingers Falls, New York before studying at the New Paltz School of Ballet. Gerrity attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet (SAB) during the summers of 2004, 2005, and
2006, before enrolling as a full-time student in the winter of 2006. While at SAB, she performed George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco as part of Protégés II at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Gerrity was named an apprentice with NYCB in 2009, joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in
2010, and was promoted to Soloist in 2017. In 2009 Gerrity was the recipient of SAB's Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise.
During NYCB's 2023 Winter Season, LaFreniere debuted in featured roles in Martins' The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora), Jerome Robbins' Rondo, and Alexei Ratmansky's Voices. She also originated a featured role in Peck's Copland Dance Episodes. In recent seasons LaFreniere has also debuted featured roles in Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15, Raymonda Variations, and Episodes, and Peck's Everywhere We Go.
Born in Lambertville, Michigan, LaFreniere began her dance training at the age of seven at the Northeast Academy of Dance, followed by training at the Southold Dance Theatre in South Bend, Indiana, and then at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago, Illinois. She began studying at SAB during the 2008 summer course and enrolled as a full-time student in 2010. She received additional training at the Chautauqua Institution and Pacific Northwest Ballet summer programs. LaFreniere became an apprentice with NYCB in 2013, joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2014, and was promoted to Soloist in 2022. LaFreniere was a recipient of SAB's Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise in 2013.
During NYCB's 2023 Winter Season, Mejia debuted in two featured roles in Martins' The Sleeping Beauty (Bluebird and Gold) and originated a featured role in Peck's Copland Dance Episodes. In recent seasons he has debuted in featured roles in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oberon), “Rubies” from Jewels, and Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux, as well as Robbins' The Four Seasons and Piano Pieces, and Christopher Wheeldon's DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse.
Mejia was born in Fort Worth, Texas and began studying ballet at age three with his mother and father, Maria Terezia Balogh and Paul Mejia, a former dancer with NYCB. At age 13, he entered the Mejia Ballet Academy. He attended summer courses at SAB in 2014 and 2015 before entering the School full-time in 2015. In 2017, he became an apprentice with NYCB and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet later that year. He was promoted to Soloist in 2021. In 2019, Mejia was the recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA Dance Fellowship and in 2020 Mejia was a finalist for the Clive Barnes Award for excellence in dance.
During NYCB's 2023 Winter Season, Nadon debuted in featured roles in Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Episodes, Robbins' Rondo, and Martins' The Sleeping Beauty (Lilac Fairy and Diamond). She also originated featured roles in the company's 2023 Winter Season premieres, Peck's Copland Dance Episodes and Jinakunwiphat's Fortuitous Ash. In recent seasons she has debuted in featured roles in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (Sugarplum Fairy), as well as Balanchine's Vienna Waltzes (Merry Widow).
Nadon was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and began her ballet training at the age of six at the Inland Pacific Ballet Academy in Montclair, California. She attended summer courses at SAB in 2014 and 2015, before entering SAB full-time in 2015. Nadon became an apprentice with NYCB in 2017, joined NYCB as a member of the corps de ballet in 2018, and was promoted to Soloist in 2022. Nadon is a recipient of the 2022 Princess Grace Award and the 2022 Clive Barnes Award for excellence in dance.
Following the close of the 2023 Winter Season on Sunday 26 February, NYCB will travel to Madrid for the Company's first-ever performances in the Spanish capital. The engagement, which will take place from 23 to 26 March at the Teatro Real, will feature Balanchine's Serenade and Square Dance and Peck's The Times Are Racing. The Company will return to New York for its six-week 2023 Spring Season from April 18 to May 28 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.