“In a large practice studio inside Lincoln Center’s Koch Theater, Suzanne Farrell watches quietly as New York City Ballet principals Sara Mearns and Russell Janzen work through a series of supported poses. As Janzen kneels to face her, Mearns brushes through to croisé arabesque, extending her leg high behind her. ‘I wouldn’t penché there,’ says Farrell, gently. ‘You can, but I wouldn’t.’
‘I get so excited here,’ says Mearns with a laugh. The three are slowly working through the pas de deux of Diamonds, the ballet George Balanchine created on Farrell and Jacques D’Amboise in 1967 that makes up the third act of his full-length Jewels.
“How do principal dancers handle their intense schedules? For New York City Ballet star Sara Mearns, honing her instrument is key. The company’s Tuesday-through-Sunday workweeks, lengthy performance seasons and extensive repertoire can make for longs days and late nights. ‘During performance weeks, I think about what I’m doing that night and make sure I don’t have a lot during the day—or if I do, I’m smart about it,’ says Mearns. ‘You do one or two things full-out and then take it easy so that you perform your best at night.’ Pointe spent a rehearsal day with Mearns to see how she does it all.”
“Upon discovering a long-lost Bizet score, Balanchine took only two weeks to choreograph the neoclassical masterpiece Symphony in C, which dazzles with dozens of dancers – the ballerinas in sparkling Swarovski gems – and brings down the house at each performance. Set to Bizet’s high-spirited score, last night’s finale showcased Ashley Boulder who radiated her joy in her on-the-money pirouettes. Both Jared and Tyler Angle dazzled. Nonetheless, my eyes kept watching Sara Mearns who dominated center stage as the curtain closed.”
“There were numerous standouts among the cast on opening night, chief among them Sara Mearns and Jared Angle in the ballet’s second movement, an adagio of impossible beauty. Mearns brought to bear the full force of her trademark mystery and elegance on this section and with Angle’s confident partnering she danced with an abandon that was at once steely and delicate. There was an audible sigh of awe among the audience at that movement’s end.”
“In 1938, George Balanchine choreographed dances for Vera Zorina in the Rodgers and Hart musical I Married an Angel, and married her onstage. So it’s a cute bit of historical rhyming that Joshua Bergasse, the director and choreographer of the City Center Encores! production of the show (March 20-24), recently married its star, Sara Mearns. One of the boldest ballerinas at New York City Ballet, which Balanchine founded at City Center, in 1948, Mearns is making her début in a speaking role. Angelic dancing shouldn’t give her any trouble.”
“Now, Mr. Bergasse, 46, is creating new moves for his Angel, Ms. Mearns, 33, who is a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, the company that Balanchine formed, with Lincoln Kirstein, in 1948. In the show, an Angel comes down from heaven, marries a mortal — Count Willy Palaffi (Mark Evans) — and loses her wings.
It’s a part made for Ms. Mearns who, as it happens is not only beautiful, but also funny — smart and daffy in a Carole Lombard kind of way, with a rich, meaty speaking voice. When Mr. Bergasse choreographed the Broadway musical “On the Town,” he created the “Lonely Town” pas de deux on her. (She filled in at the last minute for one performance.) But this is the couple’s biggest project together so far, and Ms. Mearns’s first speaking role.”
“Up next was Mozartiana, a jubilant piece that begins with the lead ballerina dancing with four very talented School of American Ballet students. Led by Sara Mearns, the group of five performed in earnest, focusing on their fancy footwork. Because she is known for her penchant for the dramatic in both movement and expression, it was a joy to see Mearns perform with breezy lightness and a smile. This infectious quality increased when Russell Janzen appeared. The duo danced as two pieces of a puzzle, working together to complete Balanchine’s intricate and delicate choreography. It was delightful.”
“Sara Mearns compares what it’s like to portray both good and evil through the universal language of ballet pantomime in the same scene of The Sleeping Beauty by breaking down her performances as both the villainous Carabosse and the beloved Lilac Fairy.”
“It’s a new year, and that means a time to try new things, wear new dancewear, learn something to improve your technique and maybe go outside your comfort zone for a try. And you can do all of those things at the very exciting Sara Mearns Master Class and Só Dança Collection Reveal this Monday, January 14, at Broadway Dance Center (BDC)!
The collection’s products are not only designed to look and feel great on the outside, but Mearns says she hopes that can translate to the inside as well, and that dancers can exude confidence – and feel confident – when they put on the new Só Dança leotards, leggings and tops.