“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.”
“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.”