“In her show Beyond Ballet, presented this week at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Sara Mearns, a star principal dancer with New York City Ballet, joins a long line of big-name ballet dancers who’ve leapt over any perceived dividing lines between ballet and modern dance. Sometimes Mearns has skipped over that line, à la Isadora — in recent years she’s performed some of Duncan’s iconic solos — or slithered over that line, à la Merce: in April she danced in “Night of 100 Solos,” the worldwide Cunningham centenary celebration.
Mearns, who gobbles up space with a thrilling largesse, a glistening musicality, and a formidable, clarifying technique, is an authentic mover regardless of what she’s dancing. This doesn’t mean she’s now a Duncan or a Cunningham expert — she’s not: these things take time and deep immersion. But she’s interested in exploring their movement, and is thus interesting to watch.”
“‘Ballet is comfortable to me. So I want to get out of my comfort zone literally and doing these other things gets me out of that. It also makes me a stronger dancer and more full artist. So when I do come back to City Ballet, in a way I feel more myself when I’m on stage. I feel like a stronger artist. It’s hard to explain but all these experiences really help me in my ballet career.’
One of the five pieces Mearns will perform this week at Jacob’s Pillow is No. 1 with Honji Wang of the French hip-hop duo Wang Ramirez. Created in 2017, No. 1 is a Pillow-commissioned work that brings together French hip-hop duo Wang Ramirez (Honji Wang and Sebastien Ramirez), recipients of two Bessie Award recognitions (2013 award for Outstanding Performers and 2017 nomination for Outstanding Production) and Sara Mearns.”
“Earlier this summer, Sara Mearns came to a shocking realization: She hadn’t worn a pair of point shoes in four and a half weeks.
At City Ballet, Ms. Mearns, 33, is lauded for her musicality, daring and indelible old-school glamour. She moves so big, yet doesn’t sacrifice delicacy. But though she is one of the most celebrated ballerinas in the world, she isn’t tethered to ballet. She’s curious; she wants to experience as much as she can in the body that she has now.”
“WICKED is also a difficult musical to sing. The two women playing the witches do most of the vocal work, and one of them has to hit that high F in “Defying Gravity.” The night I saw the show, that job fell to Sarah Anne Fernandez, who is the understudy for Elphaba. (Before you get nervous about that, remember that Sutton Foster was originally the understudy in Thoroughly Modern Millie, a show for which she went on to win a Tony.) Fernandez is phenomenal — she can belt with the best of them, but also brings out the depth of Elphaba’s character.“
“As someone who listened to the cast recording of Wicked with the mega-talented Idina Menzel as Elphaba for 15 years, hearing someone else belt out ‘Defying Gravity’ may have been weird but I was lucky enough to see Sarah Anne Fernandez step into the role as an understudy. She was phenomenal.“
“Choreographer Lorin Latarro knows what it takes to sustain a career in the theatre world. As a veteran of 14 Broadway shows as a dancer, Latarro has made her mark as a choreographer for almost a decade. Her work is currently represented on Broadway in the show, Waitress.
Latarro spoke with Dance Network about her recent successes, her advice to dancers who want to make the transition to choreographer and a sneak peek at Almost Famous, the stage adaptation of the 2000 Cameron Crowe film. It will have its world premiere at The Old Globe in San Diego beginning this fall.”
“When talking about theater classics, there is a musical from the 1950s that undoubtedly brings back good memories. Maybe that’s why, every time we know that a theater company puts on the stage, we do not hesitate to go see it.
Well, good news! Because the Pioneer Theater will be presenting the musical work Grease, from Friday 10 to Saturday 25 May . In this presentation a young Hispanic talent will be playing the role of Doody . His name is José Álvarez Nufrio, better known as Pepe Nufrio.”
“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.
“The new stage musical version of DreamWorks’ The Prince of Egypt will make its London premiere next year, with a West End production set to begin previews Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at the Dominion Theatre. The 32-week limited engagement will officially open Tuesday, February 25.
The production is directed by Scott Schwartz (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and choreographed by Sean Cheesman (So You Think You Can Dance).”
“From Shakespeare to Sondheim, from the grandeur of opera to small vignettes, Lorin Latarro constantly stretches herself.
‘I’m interested in the inner life of characters, but I’m also interested in kinetic functions,’ she says, which explains how she makes baking both frenetic and sensual in Waitress or how she renders writing both frustrating and blissful in Merrily. Here, the choreographer breaks down the movement behind five of her routines to get behind the psychology in the dance.”