Sara Mearns, Principal Ballerina/New York City Ballet
Like many young girls, I studied ballet – starting at age six. My first teacher was a rather round, lovely gregarious lady named Dolly Dibley. Class was fun and my best friend Cindy and I collected star stickers for classes taken. We performed for the aged at a local home to great applause…we thought we were something. My second teacher, Amy Cooper, ran a studio alongside her sister Claudia, who taught jazz and tap. Amy was a classically trained, very serious teacher, who frequently expressed her great concern over my turnout. We worked hard at it and eventually graduated to rehearsals for real recitals on stage, which was terrifying and thrilling.
Recital night: Me & Cindy
I so loved the ballet that I would spend hours watching dancers like Suzanne Farrell, Edward Villella, and of course, Baryshnikov on television. On trips up north to Interlochen, the teachers up there would let me sit and watch the girls in pointe class – I would sit there and dream of one day being up on pointe myself. But as with any great dream, passion alone is not enough, you also need great commitment and I grew tired of waiting for that day we’d graduate to pointe shoes and quit dance. I’ve never believed in regrets, but my decision to abandon that dream comes as close as anything to that emotional concept. I wish I would have kept at it.
In the years since, I continue to love and admire the grace and beauty of the ballet and the dancers who kept their commitment to it. The dancers of New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre are amongst my favorites. There are a lot of talented dancers in those companies but someone who stands out for me is the NYC Ballet Principal dancer, Sara Mearns. She’s a beautiful, talented dancer but what sets her apart for me is the power and passion in her dance. Her extensions are incredible and she’s both graceful and powerful in her interpretations of ballets both classic and modern. Watching her dance, takes me back to those days sitting at Interlochen and all my girlish dreams of becoming a ballerina in New York. But I’m also reminded of something that Patti Smith quoted her husband Fred of saying… “Not all dreams need to be realized.” Patti said, sometimes just loving the dream is enough.
Photo credits: ©Sarah Silver / Dance Magazine & Datura Blog