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Ashly's performance quality will be missed. I always admired her dancing because it seemed that she dove into every role full force. I remember her dancing Martins "Morgen" a couple of years back, and they way she was flinging herself across the stage without any fear took my breath away. So many memorable roles for her! I am sure she will succeed in whatever she does.

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I think every time I saw The Times Are Racing Ashly was the "tap girl." Her speed and energy were infectious. Honestly I can't picture this ballet without her and Justin Peck, who will also be retiring from dancing after today.

Anyway when I first saw Ashly Isaacs in Symphony in C third movement I thought she'd for sure make principal. She had such energy and attack. Then she got sidelined with some injuries but it sounds like during that time she developed a solid plan B and I'm sure she'll succeed in her next chapter.

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6 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I think every time I saw The Times Are Racing Ashly was the "tap girl." Her speed and energy were infectious. Honestly I can't picture this ballet without her and Justin Peck, who will also be retiring from dancing after today.

The casting sheet has said "Pollack (replaces J. Peck)" for awhile now. Is there a unisex role in the ballet?

 

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, nanushka said:

The casting sheet has said "Pollack (replaces J. Peck)" for awhile now. Is there a unisex role in the ballet?

 

All the roles in the ballet are supposed to be unisex. The central romantic pas de deux has been danced by two men and a man and woman and works equally well both ways.

Edited by canbelto

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Ashly Isaacs at her best had an incredible dynamism and charisma. If she can bring that energy to her new ventures she should do very well. I wish her much success. 

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4 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I'm so sorry to see her go! I still remember her absolutely thrilling fouettés when she danced Hyppolita a few seasons back. They were so on the music and done so securely and fearlessly it looked like magic. 

I had the great pleasure of watching Ashly as a 10 year old dancer in Magda Aunon's studio in Fort Lauderdale doing those same thrilling fouettes!  Merde and congratulations Ashly from your ballet mom admirers in south Florida.  I'm sure you'll be a star wherever you go in life.  

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/11/arts/dance/new-york-city-ballets-spring-was-full-of-revelations.html

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Was anyone at the final performance? Did Ashly get a bouquet or anything special?

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10 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Was anyone at the final performance? Did Ashly get a bouquet or anything special?

A solo bow in front of the curtain but I ducked out after that so not sure about a bouquet. A lot of warm applause for her throughout. What a great piece to go out on! She looked like she was having a great time and feeling a lot. I enjoyed the piece. Interesting that the central PDD has so partnering/lifting of one another — that’s the same when it’s done M/F?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, canbelto said:

Was anyone at the final performance? Did Ashly get a bouquet or anything special?

When Issacs and Britney Pollack came out for their onstage solo bows at the end of the ballet, Pollack very graciously gestured in Isaacs' direction then raced back to stand in line with the rest of the dancers so Issacs could take that bow alone. Isaacs also got a solo bow in front of the curtain (no bouquet). You could hear the rest of the cast and whoever else was around backstage giving her a rousing cheer after the final bows in front of the curtain, which was lovely. 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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53 minutes ago, nanushka said:

A solo bow in front of the curtain but I ducked out after that so not sure about a bouquet. A lot of warm applause for her throughout. What a great piece to go out on! She looked like she was having a great time and feeling a lot. I enjoyed the piece. Interesting that the central PDD has so partnering/lifting of one another — that’s the same when it’s done M/F?

Per this NYT article by Gia Kourlas, Peck did tweak the choreograph a bit to accommodate two same-sex dancers:

For his pas de deux, Mr. Peck has made small tweaks so that each dancer takes a turn leading the other; learning how to be the supported one has been an adjustment for both. “There’s a constant exchange of who’s leading and who’s in charge,” Mr. Applebaum said. “So you have to switch on a dime.”

I don't recall a lot in the way of lifts or supported promenades in the M/F version of the pas, to be honest, which doesn't mean they're not there of course. 

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5 hours ago, canbelto said:

I think every time I saw The Times Are Racing Ashly was the "tap girl." Her speed and energy were infectious. Honestly I can't picture this ballet without her and Justin Peck, who will also be retiring from dancing after today.

I've seen the The Times Are Racing with the "tap roles" danced by Peck and Fairchild, Peck and Isaacs, and, today, Pollack and Isaacs. I much preferred Isaacs to Fairchild in the role, not because she danced it with more technical finesse (because, lets be honest, I don't think even Terpsichore herself could do that) but because she brought a certain feeling to the role that Fairchild didn't. To me Isaacs seemed like a seeker, someone who is set a bit apart from community on stage, and who finds her way into it by the end. It gave the ballet a bit of a narrative hook that I really like. (And I really like the ballet, too.) It was bittersweet to watch her dance this special role one last time.

Pollack was really, really good in Peck's role, by the way, and I'd be happy to see her keep it. Interestingly enough, she danced those tap steps more like Fairchild than like Peck: she has more of Fairchild's fluidity, less of Peck's foursquare attack. She was breathtakingly fast, but nonetheless seemed like she had plenty more speed in reserve had she needed it. Brava.

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22 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Pollack was really, really good in Peck's role, by the way, and I'd be happy to see her keep it. Interestingly enough, she danced those tap steps more like Fairchild than like Peck: she has more of Fairchild's fluidity, less of Peck's foursquare attack. She was breathtakingly fast, but nonetheless seemed like she had plenty more speed in reserve had she needed it. Brava.

My first time seeing it, but completely agree — Pollack was excellent. Isaacs gave a very good performance, but when they were dancing at the same time, my eyes were drawn to Pollack.

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1 hour ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I've seen the The Times Are Racing with the "tap roles" danced by Peck and Fairchild, Peck and Isaacs, and, today, Pollack and Isaacs. I much preferred Isaacs to Fairchild in the role, not because she danced it with more technical finesse (because, lets be honest, I don't think even Terpsichore herself could do that) but because she brought a certain feeling to the role that Fairchild didn't. To me Isaacs seemed like a seeker, someone who is set a bit apart from community on stage, and who finds her way into it by the end. It gave the ballet a bit of a narrative hook that I really like. (And I really like the ballet, too.) It was bittersweet to watch her dance this special role one last time.

Pollack was really, really good in Peck's role, by the way, and I'd be happy to see her keep it. Interestingly enough, she danced those tap steps more like Fairchild than like Peck: she has more of Fairchild's fluidity, less of Peck's foursquare attack. She was breathtakingly fast, but nonetheless seemed like she had plenty more speed in reserve had she needed it. Brava.

Glad to hear Pollack was good in the Peck role. I just associate the role with Peck because he made such a good foil for Isaacs as the tappers. He was tall with the long torso and black t-shirt, she was shorter and more compact, and the whole tap duet just had a Fred and Ginger vibe when they danced it. (NOT comparing them to Fred and Ginger, just saying they complemented each other very much the same way.)

Anyway point is I will miss both Peck and Isaacs as The Times Are Racing tappers and feel fortunate that I saw them in it a number of times.

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Posted (edited)

I'd like to echo others and say that Pollack was really great in The Times are Racing. I thought Applebaum and Stanley were beautiful in the pas de deux, and while I suppose it could be just as effective with a male-female pair, I loved how it was danced by the two men. This was my first time seeing the piece, or any Peck piece for that matter, and I really enjoyed it. I liked having a contemporary piece as part of a mostly Balanchine program, rather than having to attend an all-21st-century-choreographers program to see Peck's work. 

3 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

To me Isaacs seemed like a seeker, someone who is set a bit apart from community on stage, and who finds her way into it by the end. It gave the ballet a bit of a narrative hook that I really like. (And I really like the ballet, too.) It was bittersweet to watch her dance this special role one last time.

This made it such a perfect piece for her a farewell. 

Bouder and Ball were superb in Stars and Stripes. What can make Bouder irksome in some other ballets is what makes her so well-suited to this type of wink-and-grin ballet. And her dancing was truly impressive. Ball looked at ease throughout all the bravura dancing and soared through the super fast tempi with ease. 

I can see why Kowroski or Mearns might be more effective in Slaughter, but I thought Tess was very good. It was noted by someone that her extensions hadn't look so hot in a previous performance, but they were excellent this afternoon. She came out of her shell more than I expected. Veyette was fine in this sort of role and it didn't expose too many of his weaknesses.

Ulbricht was perfect in Tarantella; just the right combo of virtuosity and earthiness, with flair to spare. It was nice to see Pereira in this role. As has been noted before, she can sometimes be outshone by other ballerinas when she's sharing the stage, but here she got the opportunity to show how strong she is technically. Ulbricht's performance had so much oomph that he sort of stole the show, but Pereira managed to hold her own.

Shout out to Hoxha, who was excellent in Stars and Stripes, as well as in Slaughter, in which he danced one of the police officers. 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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11 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I'd like to echo others and say that Pollack was really great in The Times are Racing. I thought Applebaum and Stanley were beautiful in the pas de deux, and while I suppose it could be just as effective with a male-female pair, I loved how it was danced by the two men. This was my first time seeing the piece, or any Peck piece for that matter, and I really enjoyed it. I liked having a contemporary piece as part of a mostly Balanchine program, rather than having to attend an all-21st-century-choreographers program to see Peck's work. 

This made it such a perfect piece for her a farewell. 

Bouder and Ball were superb in Stars and Stripes. What can make Bouder irksome in some other ballets is what makes her so well-suited to this type of wink-and-grin ballet. And her dancing was truly impressive. Ball looked at ease throughout all the bravura dancing and soared through the super fast tempi with ease. 

I can see why Kowroski or Mearns might be more effective in Slaughter, but I thought Tess was very good. It was noted by someone that her extensions hadn't look so hot in a previous performance, but they were excellent this afternoon. She came out of her shell more than I expected. Veyette was fine in this sort of role and it didn't expose too many of his weaknesses.

Ulbricht was perfect in Tarantella; just the right combo of virtuosity and earthiness, with flair to spare. It was nice to see Pereira in this role. As has been noted before, she can sometimes be outshone by other ballerinas when she's sharing the stage, but here she got the opportunity to show how strong she is technically. Ulbricht's performance had so much oomph that he sort of stole the show, but Pereira managed to hold her own.

Shout out to Hoxha, who was excellent in Stars and Stripes, as well as in Slaughter, in which he danced one of the police officers. 

I'd like to take back everything I wrote about Teresa Reichlen in Slaughter. She was magnificent this afternoon... sexy, saucy, playful, funny. My guess is that she's nursing a bruise on both shin and shoulders from her spectacular high kicks. 

Ashly Isaacs was so moving, a beautiful dancer and so beloved. There was a group of company members in the back of the First Ring cheering her on. Godspeed. She will be missed.

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Are there any other reported retirements other than Ashly and Justin Peck? I thought Sarah Villwock may be leaving since her husband left to work for PNB, but I haven’t seen anything indicating she will do so.

Also, add Olivia Mackinnon to the list of injured dancers. She has posted some stories in the last few days about an injury and was in the hospital. Sending healing thoughts her way!

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On 5/24/2019 at 10:12 PM, vipa said:

Interesting to mention T&V, contrasting a more compact style with a handsome princely style. Peter Martins isn't mentioned much as a dancer, but his T&V was an amazing combination of both. He was a tall elegant dancer who did T&V to perfection including the double tour pirouette section (doing double pirouettes as Veyette ad DeLuz sometimes did). I have noticed that some dancers walk around for the start of that music and start the sequence later. That always bothers me!

Peter was excellent in Theme.  My recollections go back more to loving Gelsey and Misha.  

 

On 5/24/2019 at 10:34 PM, cobweb said:

After seeing how great Harrison Ball looks this season, so sharp, musical, and beautiful, I would like to see him in T&V. Not sure his partnering is there yet though. 

I’d love to see Harrison Ball in Theme!

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Posted (edited)

Loved Sunday's performance.  Isaacs brought tears to my eyes during her performance.  I was so pleased that the audience greeted her with such enthusiasm as she joined the rest of the dancers on stage.  It would have been nice if they gave her a bouquet at the end, but she almost seemed shy to take a solo bow.  As others have mentioned, her fellow dancers made a huge fuss as could be heard on the other side of the curtain when the house lights came on.  I thought Pollack was great opposite Isaacs, but as someone else mentioned above, I kind of preferred the pairing of J. Peck with Isaacs.

Wow on Tess in Slaughter!   She was positively on fire!   Veyette and rest of cast were terrific as well and Applebaum was hilarious.

Bouder and Ball were marvelous in Stars and Stripes, and I second fondoffouettes shout out on Hoxha's outstanding performance in S&S and Slaughter! 

Ulbricht and Pereira were terrific in Tarantella and I found myself becoming almost breathless watching them.   I've seen them dance Tarantella together before.   Ulbricht is always exciting, and I thought Erica danced even better than usual this time around.

 

 

 

Edited by NinaFan

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Laracey and Kretchmar were both terrific in Stravinsky Violin Concerto on Sat evening.  I haven't seen this much depth in that pas in SVC since Alexandra Ansanelli did the role.  Laracey and LaCour were magical together.  I have not been a huge fan of Kretchmar in the past, and I feel that she is often miscast.  However, this angular, spikey role in SVC fit her like a glove.  

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Re:  removed post.

Two things:

  • Only blogs by ballet professionals can be cited/linked on Ballet Alert!, and they are posted in the Links forum.  If you don't see a link by a ballet professional within a week of the publication date, you can use the "contact us" form to let us know about it.
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9 hours ago, wonderwall said:

Are there any other reported retirements other than Ashly and Justin Peck?

I must have missed this about Justin Peck retiring.   When was it announced?

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3 minutes ago, NinaFan said:

I must have missed this about Justin Peck retiring.   When was it announced?

when the new leadership team was announced they said after this season Justin Peck will no longer be dancing.

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Posted (edited)

On Friday evening the program consisted of: Scotch Symphony; Duo Concertant; Sonatine; and Stravinsky Violin Concerto. The following night a performance of Valse-Fantaisie replaced the slot occupied by Duo Concertant. The casting on these two evenings, however, was completely different. Both the Saturday and Sunday matinees, on the other hand (the program: Stars and Stripes; Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; Tarantella; and The Times Are Racing), had the exact same cast, with one exception: Ashly Isaacs and Brittany Pollack switched roles in the last work. Yet, partly for the reasons mentioned by posters above, everything performed by NYCB over the weekend was hugely enjoyable. In a nutshell, the company ended its Spring 2019 repertory season brilliantly!

Both Stars and Stripes and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (superbly performed with Ashley Bouder and Harrison Ball, and Teresa Reichlen and Andrew Veyette as the leads respectively) benefited from their placement on the same program—they were more appealing in this context. Each had fit somewhat awkwardly on separate programs earlier.

Watching Scotch Symphony, an enchanting work rarely presented, afforded considerable pleasure this season. Ditto for Valse-Fantaisie, which I was only able to see for the first time Saturday night, fortunately with the excellent cast headed by Indiana Woodward and Harrison Ball.

Although the recent weight loss by Ashley Laracey is disappointing, her wonderful debuts in Scotch Symphony and Stravinsky Violin Concerto provided further proof of what an exceptional ballerina she is.

Looking at the list of featured roles Ashly Isaacs has performed beautifully with NYCB brought back pleasant memories, so I obviously concur with all the praise for her accomplishments already offered by previous posters. Certainly it occurred to me that performing one last time a memorable part she has danced with unforgettable verve would be fantastic as a farewell. There is something I failed to realize though: at the end of The Times Are Racing her role makes a final entrance and hurries downstage left away from the others to dance a short but spirited solo as the music bursts into a thrilling climax—what a magnificent note to end a dance career on!

Nevertheless, as long as the dancers in the roster are talented and remain enthusiastic, casting changes—unless they are egregious—will have little effect on Justin Peck’s “sneaker ballet”: I have now seen it numerous times with all sorts of them (Brittany Pollack has been fabulous in three different roles), and it never fails to thrill. In fact, it only gets better. Less than three years after its premiere, The Times Are Racing has proven the perfect closer on a program. All twenty dancers in the cast typically do outstanding work throughout. In this run the second segment with the sensational trio of Emilie Gerrity, Lydia Wellington and Indiana Woodward (along with Peter Walker) proved particularly mesmerizing—especially during the vocalized portion of the score.

And a word about Unity Phelan’s mishap last Thursday in the Scherzo of Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3: her debut proper in that role four days earlier (on Sunday afternoon) was spectacular!

Edited by Royal Blue

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Watching Act II of Midsummer this season will not be the same without Tiler Peck.  This is one of her signature roles, and in my opinion others in the company who are cast don't approach her level in this pas.  In fact, despite the very high level of talent overall in the company, she was very much missed in many roles this season.

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