“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.”