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Sara Mearns – cand baletul este si pasiune si placere

Image„Ingredientele cheie pentru un performance perfect: a fi complementara cu muzica, cu partenerul de dans si a avea un costum care sa iti vina perfect”, spune  Sara Mearns, solista in New York City Ballet. Companie de dans care a devenit in timp o institutie mamut, ce poate rula si pana la 33 de show-uri de balet diferite in doar 3 saptamani.

Sara este o dansatoare completa si complexa, in acelasi timp fenomenal de draguta incat sa imi acorde onoarea unui interviu, printre turnee in SUA si in lume.

Sara vorbeste despre ea cu multa modestie, despre mentorii ei (coregrafi sau dansatori) cu multa admiratie si despre micile ritualuri inaintea fiecarui performance. Despre cum dansul arata ce este mai frumos intr-o societate si inspira catre visare, creativitate si libertate de expresie, indiferent de varsta. Crede ca balerina perfecta este o imbinare intre gratie, muzicalitate, pasiune si o minte mereu deschisa la nou. Ca imperfectiunea in dans este o notiune subiectiva si ca atat in viata, cat si pe scena, nu exista lebada alba fara cea neagra.

Despre toate acestea, dar si multe alte piese din universul frumos al Sarei, in interviul de mai jos, lasat in original pentru a nu strica nuantele fiecarei fraze. Interviul a fost posibil datorita Sarei, dar si Gildei Squire, to whom I kindly thank. Credite foto: Arthur Elgort. 

 1.What are the key 3 ingredient for the perfect ballet performance?

There will never be a perfect ballet performance; it’s the nature of the art form. And that is what’s beautiful about being an artist.  Imperfection can be beauty is someone else’s eyes. Three key ingredients to a near perfect performance are being one with the music, being one with your partner, and having your costume fit correctly. 

2.Top 3 qualities of a ballerina? 

Grace, musicality, passion, and an added one… An open mind. 

3.What is your favourite role/roles?

I’m lucky enough to be in New York City Ballet where we can do 33 different ballets in 3 weeks. I don’t think it’s possible to have one favorite role. A few may be Swan Lake, Serenade Waltz girl, Concerto Barroco, Diamonds, Fearful Symmetries, and Russian Seasons. 

4.What is your favourite ballet position?

My favorite ballet position, if it were possible to me, is a beautiful developpe to the front, turned out and held, just like Wendy Whelan. But one that I can do is arabesque.

5.White swan or black swan?

I have to have both. One makes the other special. You can’t have one without the other. But my favorite moment of the ballet would be the final moments as the white swan has to leave her prince behind. 

Who are your favourite ballet dancers of all time? What are your favourite choreographers of all time?

Natalia Markarova is my biggest inspiration. She had this innate talent of seeming like she was exploring all the steps for the first time and at the same time, dancing them like she had known the choreography for 20 years. She had the ability to make everything look fresh but marinated at the same time. Her arms were and still are the best I have ever seen. My favorite choreographer is Alexei Ratmansky. There is not enough time and space here to describe how wonderful and talented he is. I have performed three of his ballets, and in every single one, I have gone farther, higher, faster than in any other piece I’ve done. He has made me a better artist and yearning for more. He allows me to explore the unknown while making me work harder than I ever have for someone. I believe he is the genius of this generation. 

6.What is your ritual before going on stage?

I always have to sign the sign-in sheet myself with my full name.  If I’m late signing, I will find the stage manager and make sure I sign before they throw away the paper. Another is hugging my partner and saying „It’s just me and you out there.” 

7.How do you train your body outside ballet classes?

Training outside of ballet can be tricky and should be a very calculated, careful approach. I like to be able to go to the gym and ride the bike if I need better stamina. I like to do something called Gyrotonics, which is an extreme form of Pilates, but approaches the workings and breathing of your body in a more organic, circular, strength within length sort of thing. It has brought me back from every single injury I’ve had. 

8.How do you cope with the immense responsibility of being a principal dancer with one of the most important ballet companies in the world?

I don’t believe there is an element of coping. I don’t feel an immense responsibility, oddly enough, even though yes, my status in New York City Ballet is huge. I feel a responsibility to the ballets and to the music instead. That alone keeps my mind busy and very excited to show what this amazing ballet company can produce.

9.What is your favourite quote?

„To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” Olympic Athlete Steve Prefontaine.

10.What would you want your legacy to be?

„Dancers work and live from the inside. They drive themselves constantly, producing a glow that lights not only themselves, but audience after audience. They personify life itself.”  Dancer and Choreographer Murray Louis.

11.What do you most like about the American ballet school compared with the Russian or French ones?

This is a tough question at this point to answer but here is something. I would want people to remember me as the ballerina who never held back, that pushed farther than anyone else they’d seen, and that I had them at the edge of their seats. I want to bring tears to their eyes because they were so moved by how I portrayed the music and left my heart out there on stage. I want the audience to have an unforgettable experience when they come to the ballet, and can’t wait to come back when they leave. The American ballet schools leave room for the students to have their own personality in their dancing. They don’t turn them into soldiers and make them march to the same tune. Everyone had different strengths and that is celebrated here in the United States. You are not told to look like the girl or boy next to you. 

12.What other passions do you have or would secretly like to explore?

My other passions are exploring all the other performing and non-performing art forms. I feel it is my duty as an artist to appreciate, experience, and support what other artists have to offer. Being in New York, I am very lucky that I can have something different planned every night. My biggest passion is live classical music from the New York Philharmonic. What I secretly would like to explore is to learn ballroom dancing and possibly contemporary dance. 

13.Does dance impact society? Which is its role in your opinion?

The role of dance in society is something I haven’t really nailed down yet in my own mind. I know how I feel about it and what it does for my world and everyone around me. I believe it can show you what true beauty can look like. It can give anyone an escape from the stresses of daily life and transport you to a world unknown but full of surprises. It only creates happiness in people when you yourself dance or when you see someone else do it. It provides freedom of expression and creativity to thrive in, young and old. Without the performing arts or dance, society would be a very unhappy, uninspired, cold place. 

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