Sara Mearns - New York City Ballet prima ballerina
Ballet has always fascinated people, especially those who have only dreamt of putting on the delicate shoes and floating away on a stage. But we wanted to share with you a real story, of the talented New York City Ballet dancer, Sara Mearns.
We've fallen in love with her by watching AOL series "City Ballet" and got immediately mesmerized by the struggle, the beauty, the flexibility of everything she does. But we'll let her tell you more about how it is to be living in the shoes of real doll.
Ballet dancers usually start at an early age. Is this also true about you?
Yes! I started when I was 3 and a half years old. My mom put me in. She just thought “What do you do with a 3 years old girl? Put her in ballet class!”. Most girls start around that age.
Ballet is an art involving precision, discipline and sacrifice. Which one was more difficult for you?
I would definitely say that precision was probably the most difficult for me to conquer. I didn’t seem to have any issue with sacrificing at an early age, and I think I was pretty disciplined. I know that I was more disciplined with dance then I was with school work.
Dance was more important to me than anything, and it still is to this day. Precision within dance I believe is very, very, hard to achieve. I never thought I had a good technique and was miles away from anyone in my class. I work every day to improve my technique and precision and won’t stop until I retire.
How was it to be filming the AOL series, "City Ballet", you always look so natural in front of the camera?
I loved filming for the AOL series, they had a great crew and producer, and the brains behind the whole thing was Sarah Jessica Parker. I truly admire what she had to go thru to make something like this happen for our company.
I believe it reversed what Black Swan did for our art form and lifestyle. It showed the realities and beauties of our everyday life, and didn’t make it a blood seeking thriller. It made something that young artists and dancers can aspire to. As for being in front of the camera, I don’t do fake very well so I was just myself and truthful.
Who's Sara on stage and who's the one after the makeup is gone?
Sara on stage is like watching the sunset every day. It will never be the same twice, the colors are always changing, but it will always be full of emotion and drama. It will be peaceful at times, but accelerates when the music is rapturous and romantic. I have been called a force of nature.
Sara offstage is shy, giggly, sensitive and very devoted. She has very strong opinions, but is a good listener. Oh...and I cry a lot...at everything!
What music do you listen to when you're with friends or even alone? Do you dance at home? We're talking no choreographies here, just being silly.
My boyfriend and I like to listen to classic jazz, Big Band, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and also The XX is one of our favorite bands! And no, I don’t usually dance at home, but every once in a while I will break out into a spontaneous move and my boyfriend will just laugh at me. Although lately he joins right in.
How has your nervousness changed along the years? And what's the secret?
I am not one of those to get crazy nervous on stage or before I go on. Although, if it has been a while and I'm coming back from an injury, I can get very anxious and not feel very good before the show.
I don’t have a secret! My main thing is I don’t give myself a lot of time to just wait before I go onstage. I almost wait till the last minute to do everything so I don’t have time to get nervous.
What's your career plan after you put on the shelf the ballet flats for good?
This is the hardest question I had to answer to. I am hoping the answer will come when the time is right. Now I am living the present and taking it all in. I try not to think too far ahead because then I miss what's happening right in front of me. The time will come when future plans will arise, but not yet!
We all have bad days when we wake up and the first thought is "I don't want to get up and go to work". What do you do on days like these?
Those mornings are the worst! It's usually on a day where I have so many hours of rehearsal that I don’t know if I have the energy. I lay there in bed for a minute and think about my options. Then I go back to the time when I was injured and wishing I had all that work and rehearsing to do, and that gets my butt out of bed!
I am coming into the busiest time in my career and there was a time when I had nothing, so I need to be grateful for every chance I get to step into the studio or stage, to become a better artist, technician, and ultimately human being.
If I had the time I would...
Book myself spa treatments after every show. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a night time recovery spa!
If I weren't doing ballet I...
Would be the most miserable person on my planet, and no one would want to hang out with me. To be serious, there isn’t anything else I would be doing. I truly believe this is my calling. It's my oxygen.
When I heard I became a principal dancer...
I started balling. I was in full costume and makeup right after the performance. I jumped on to my boyfriend at the time and just balled and screamed for about 10 minutes…in full costume. But then I had to go to a rehearsal. Haha.
In my wardrobe...
I have lots of purple (my favorite color), sparkly clothing, a white pant suit, and two pairs of leather pants that I can’t live without, and lots of Cole Haan, and lots of dangling gold earrings.
"Ballerina rock star chic", as quoted by Drew Barrymore.
If you want to keep up with what Sara is doing, don't forget to look for her on social media and also follow her on Facebook.
Photo credit: Erin Baiano, Paul Kolnik, Sarah Silver