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.
Let's just get one thing straight: the most important moment of any gala is when you show up strutting your new outfit. This year, I was lucky enough to get a custom-designed, fitted white suit by my dear friend, the Costume Director of New York City Ballet, Marc Happel. He very graciously added that on to his already loaded week with two new ballets going in the gala performance. It was truly a dream come true to walk down the red carpet with his suit on. I have wanted one of those made for me for a very, very long time and the day came! I will wear that suit for many years to come.
This week began with a blow-out show that included George Balanchine's "Slaughter on 10th Avenue," which I got to fly and strut around the stage with the awesome Robbie Fairchild. We only got one show this year so we literally left it all out there with nothing more to give. So, naturally, the next morning, I could barely walk or pick up my leg--too many kicks the night before. I tend to call myself, "the one show Wonder Woman." Many times I get to perform a certain ballet once a season when others may get two or three. It all comes down to seniority and ranks and I'm very much looking forward to the days of developing a role over a series of performances. But the "one time only" ones are also a blast because you give it all you got and more. Don't get me wrong--one should do that all the time!
I want to end this week's blog with a dedication to a young dancer named Eva, who lived in New Haven, Connecticut. I went to perform for a 'Nutcracker' a few years back and she was in the production as part of the civic ballet company there. I learned recently that not long after that, she passed away due to a freak house fire at her university. The school is a having a benefit performance in honor of her to raise money for a scholarship that was started in her name and they asked me if I could send a signed photograph or pointe shoes to be auctioned off. I later learned this young woman had idolized me and had written notes in the programs about me. I immediately broke down in tears (as you will see in the video) for about 20 minutes. The feeling of loss and joy came together in a way I have never experienced. I made a difference in this young woman's life and now she is gone. I will perform in this benefit in honor of her and the spirit she left behind. This is a moment in time I will never forget and I hope she will be watching from the wings.
Check out last week's video blog here.
You can find Sara Mearns on twitter here: @nycbstar2b.