The Most Talked-Of Ballerina in America: Sara Mearns
“We are here to express through movement; to tell a story, to create a magical world for the audience that they will never ever experience again.” — Sara Mearns
That’s exactly what Sara Mearns accomplishes every time she performs; she creates a one-of-a-kind experience for the audience.
Sara Mearns was born in South Carolina where she initiated her ballet training at the Calvert-Brodie School of Dance at the age of three. In the fall of 2001, she continued her training full time in the New York City Ballet. She became a member of the corps de ballet in 2004. Mearns worked her way up to soloist by 2006 and two years later was appointed principal dancer.
However, Mearns — like many other dancers — has received a lot of criticism in regards to her style and body image. If I had to use one word to describe her appearance in the image above it would be fierce. In the dance world, you need to be relentless to make it to the top. But arguably, Mearns has drawn outside of the lines a little bit too much.
Critics wonder if her body language is too forceful and immodest. Throughout her performances, she goes against the ideal ballerina Balanchine created: a sleek dancer. Instead, Mearns transforms her roles into something that leaves the audience in awe with a sprinkle of confusion, having never seen a performance like Mearns’. For example, in Balanchine’s “Robert Schumann’s ‘‘Davidsbündlertänze,’” she plays the role of the wife — Clara Schumann. She controls every second of her performance and leaves her audience captivated as she adds just the right amount of pauses, leaving everyone in anticipation of her next move. Although Mearns has a tendency to bring in an element of boldness, she just as easily can tone it down. The rare appearance of her more subtle gestures of head turns and hand movements add an element of surprise and innovation which, greatly impacts her performance.
Balanchine trained his dancers to “see the music” and would require them to be in position a moment before the beat. The order in which the audience would experience a ballet was seeing the dancer and immediately following would be the music. This style of dancing faded away with time but Mearns has revived it with a hint of spice.
Mearns plays with time and captivates her audience with her gaze. She applies more eye makeup compared to other dancers in order to bring out her small eyes and make the connection with the audience more engaging. Her delivery is impeccable and despite the criticism behind her performance, Mearns has achieved what every dancer strives to do: provide their audience with a magical experience they can only observe once.
Learn more about Sara Mearns on a more personal level by checking out her Blog: http://saramearns.com/blog/