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.
JUST SAY YES
The theme of this week is to say yes to everything. I was told by my one of girlfriends recently that one of my best attributes is that I say yes to every outing or project that comes my way. This week was a good example of that.
I started it off in my home state of South Carolina performing with the University of South Carolina's dance company. The ballet mistress, Stacy Calvert, is the daughter of my first tap teacher, Naomi Calvert. Stacy was a soloist with New York City Ballet and now runs the USC dance department. She invites five other principal dancers and me to perform in their gala every April, which is nice for me because I get to perform for all the people that helped me get to where I am today. The people that have been there from the beginning. When you get to a certain status or place in your career, one should give back to the younger generation and help inspire them to pursue their dance career, and hopefully by coming home to dance, I am doing exactly that to all the young ballerinas that I once was.
Also on my trip home, I got to visit with the Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities which I attended for my 9th grade year. I had not been back since I left in 10th grade and I wanted to visit with the dance department students. The studios are big and gorgeous; the campus is full of life and all I remember are the friendships I made that have lasted all this time. I performed my first full length at 14, Coppelia, during my year there, which was quite a stepping stone for my career and me.
Less than 48 hours later, I was back in New York rehearsing for spring season. I also brought back my puppy who has been on vacay with my mama while I've been traveling the world. So I am trying to settle back in and get ready to open next week, but I'm also trying to fit in everything I can while I have nights off! In this week alone, I will be seeing the philharmonic, the opera, an off-Broadway play, a musical, plus have dinner with friends on four other nights. This past injury not only taught me to be grateful for my career but to go out in the world and live! I have never felt more inspired and culturally fulfilled than I am right now. New York is the mecca for life experiences--all you have to do is walk outside. This not only goes for New York but for any place you live. Find those thrills and chills and don't let them go.
I was very lucky to visit St. Luke's School, a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school in lower Manhattan, this week and talk to students from kindergarten to 8th grade. I have to admit I was very nervous going into it, not knowing if they would really respond to me or they would just dose off. It turns out, it couldn't have been a bigger hit. As soon as I put my pointe shoes on...the kids were hooked. They couldn't get enough! I had them show me some of their moves too, which were unbelievably adorable. By now, I think I have spoken to all age groups and school situations. I'm finding it very therapeutic and educational for myself. It allows me to voice all the struggles, emotions, and lessons I've learned being a professional athlete and artist for ten years. I've also come to realize that I want to connect with people on a deeper level, more than just knowing they are there in the darkness of a theater. I enjoy reading and responding to fan mail, interviews, blogs, Facebook messages, tweets, anything that comes my way. It makes me so happy that my artform and my gift can reach people at such a significant place and time that we can share.
This all comes back to my point of saying yes to everything. Yes, there are times when I feel overwhelmed and I want to run away but that just means I need a quiet walk by myself or play time with my puppy. In the end, I would rather be the busy bee who gets more done in a day than someone who can't think of anything to do on any given night.
Are you catching my drift? Hope so. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been watching these videos and reading my blogs. See you next week for the spring season opening!
Check out last week's video blog here.
You can find Sara Mearns on twitter here: @nycbstar2b.