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.
FROM STUDIO TO STAGE
The start of a new season is always exciting. The end of winter into spring and the first day of New York City Ballet's spring season gives breath and energy into my life that had been missing since last May. It has been a year since my back injury happened and never in my dreams did I think I would be sitting here talking (and writing) to you about performing again. It has been such a wild and crazy year but I am so thankful for the spring of 2013 to finally be here.
The first day of being back in the theater is always a joyous one and you can tell it in the energy of dancers in our company. It's good to be home; on our home turf where we do our best work. Traveling and seeing the world has been incredible but there is something about the comfort and security of twirling and jumping around on the stage you know best. I have been dancing on the New York State Theater/David H. Koch Theater stage for ten years now and the feeling I get never gets old when I step on it for the first time after months away. I like to start the season out with the best possible energy and vibes no matter how my body feels or how stressed out I am from rehearsing and getting ready. I live for the moment I step in front of the audience for the first time and show them something they have never seen.
I have to admit, I surprise myself with how much energy I come up with as soon as I jump out into the lights. It literally comes out of nowhere. Usually I am pushing myself to get going backstage and to make sure I am just warmed up enough and shoes broken in, and then WAM! "balls to the wall" as they like to say. I was fortunate enough to be part of a ballet that hasn't gone in over ten years called Ivesiana. It's a very artistic, spooky, creative work of art that George Balanchine made back in the '50s. I had so much fun with it and find myself amazed at how beautifully my colleagues embrace a ballet like that. It's definitely not very every one; it's not an "in your face" piece such as Stars and Stripes or Who Cares, which were also on the program.
Also this week, I'm performing in Peter Martins's Thou Swell. The whole cast basically feels like we are at a dance club in the '20s. I don't think I have ever been more relaxed or had so much fun on stage before. There is a live band on stage as well as singers who belt their hearts out for 40 minutes along side us dancin' and jumpin' around. I think it might be a possibility that the people on stage are having the most fun out of an entire theater of people but I wouldn't have it any other way. I think it may be one of those times where you have to be part of it to appreciate it. Hopefully the audience gets a kick out of the set which has tables and chairs sitting atop of platforms that each couple gets to lounge on, surrounded by pillars of mirrors as well as a giant one hanging over head. If you love live jazz music, gorgeous gowns, and men in tuxes... this is the ballet for you.
I was able to show you some rehearsal footage this week as well as backstage pre-show fun before "places!"
There is much more ballet to come this spring as well as a very exciting project I am doing with the New York Philharmonic in the summer!
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Check out last week's video blog here.
You can find Sara Mearns on twitter here: @nycbstar2b.