Welcome to Barre None, my new video blog exclusively on Huffington Post. I'm Sara Mearns and I hope to be your tour guide into the world of classical ballet. You might ask yourself, "Why a video blog that goes behind the scenes of a classical ballet dancer's daily life?" Because what you see on the stage does not begin to capture what ballet or our lives are all about. You see the performance, but what you don't see -- the rehearsals, the costume designs, the frazzled nerves, the learning of a new ballet, the constant travels around the world, the injuries and the oftentimes long, painful road to recovery that lead us to wonder if this is the injury that can end a career -- it's all a part of what we do and who we are.
I'm only one dancer, but I hope that by giving you a window into my life as a principal ballerina at New York City Ballet, a door will be opened to more interest, curiosity, and enthusiasm for this artform that I, and so many others, love and work so hard for. So come on in, pull up a seat, and join me every Friday. You'll have a great time. I promise. Barre None.
I knew this trip was going to be one for the books but I wasn't expecting one for the ages. Ok...that sounded corny but seeing how it is my last night here and reliving everything I have done this past week, I can't honestly believe it. I still have more to see tomorrow before I leave! I have a few moments that really stand out for me that are worth passing on.
One is realizing that if you pick your friends wisely, you will never go a day without laughing, sharing, and for me, becoming a better person, a better human being. With my two friends Marc Happel and Harvey Weiss, I would not be the woman I am today. They have brought wisdom, culture, laughter, grace, and love into my life that no one could ever replace.
Second, when I was taking class this week in London, I saw a young girl--who was probably out of her league taking class with advanced professionals--but nonetheless, was making an effort. By the end of barre, she was in tears because she could not keep up. I saw this and wanted to go over and say, "Don't worry, it happens to all of us." By the time the last barre combo was done, she had rushed out the room and was not coming back. I want to let all those young up-and-coming ballerinas know that there will be times when you look around and you are out of your league; that you can't keep up and everyone is older than you. Please don't let these issues affect you because all these complications will only make you grow and learn. I took class at Broadway Dance Center when I was eight years old with a very strict Russian teacher and was the youngest in the class by at least 30 years. I don't remember getting flustered or nervous. Keep up the best you can and don't worry about the rest. You can't expect a professional level quality of yourself when you are 12! The time will come, but for now, take it one class at a time and always do your best.
The last moment I would like to share has to do with the show I saw tonight. It is called "The Drowned Man" by the same London production company that created "Sleep No More." Punchdrunk has completely out done itself this time. "Sleep No More" became a phenomenon in London and New York two years ago and now they have created something five times bigger and ten times better. It is a theatrical show with no speaking and is mostly dancing and acting in a warehouse space that they turn into a entire world that you, the audience, have to explore on your own wearing white carnival masks. There are no boundaries between you and the performers and they can come up to you and touch you, hug you, or even kiss you (on your mask). The production is always based on a story but they twist and turn it to have it become a very dark and, at times, very scary environment to be in. It runs three hours and you must find the characters and follow them. Long story short, I was completely immersed deep inside the characters last night and almost felt like I was performing with them. I got separated from my friends and this dark, mysterious world of the drowned man became my friend. The choreography is unbelievable and I can't believe these dancers keep this up every single night. At points, I was crying under my mask because of how intense and emotional these performers are. I don't want to give too much away, as I pray it makes its way to New York. As a performing artist, I bow down to these dancers and creators for their work, imagination, and passion.
I am leaving London a changed woman, artist, and soul because of this show. During the last moment of the production last night, the main character, who I and dozens of others had followed for an hour and a half, came up to me, looked in my eyes and hugged me. It is rare and almost non-existent that they hug you but this man did. I felt like he was saying thank you. And that moment was heaven for me.
See you next week.... From the beach!!
Check out last week's video blog here.
You can find Sara Mearns on twitter here: @nycbstar2b.