SARA MEARNS is one of today’s most internationally celebrated classical ballet dancers. As a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, Ms. Mearns has performed featured roles in beloved Balanchine ballets such as Symphony in C, Jewels (Emeralds and Diamonds), Serenade, Mozartiana, and Walpurgisnacht Ballet, amongst countless others. In 2006, New York City Ballet’s Ballet Master-in-Chief Peter Martins selected Ms. Mearns, then age 19, from the corps de ballet to perform the role of Swan Queen in his Swan Lake. Ms. Mearns continues to perform the role to critical acclaim.
Ms. Mearns began her dance training at the age of three with Ann Brodie at the Calvert-Brodie School of Dance in her hometown of Columbia, South Carolina. At the age of 13, Ms. Mearns trained with Patricia McBride at Dance Place, the School of North Carolina Dance Theatre, in Charlotte. She continued her studies at age 14 with Stanislav Issaev at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. Ms. Mearns entered the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, as a full time student in the fall of 2001. In the fall of 2003, she became an apprentice with New York City Ballet. As an apprentice, she danced a featured role in Michel Fokine’s Chopiniana, performed by SAB as part of New York City Ballet’s winter 2004 season. In June of 2004, she joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet and was promoted to the rank of soloist in March of 2006. In June of 2008, she was promoted to principal dancer.
Ms. Mearns has originated roles in works by world renowned choreographers Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Peter Martins, Justin Peck, Karole Armitage, Benjamin Millepied, Liam Scarlett, Richard Tanner, Susan Stroman, and Emmy Award winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse. She has commissioned works for the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center in 2013 and 2014. She also starred in a full-evening production, “A Dancers Dream”, at the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert. Ms. Mearns has appeared as a guest artist around the world. Recently, Ms. Mearns made her Broadway debut in the “Lonely Town pas de deux” from the Tony-nominated musical, On the Town.
In addition to Ms. Mearns’ busy career, she is committed to exposing young people – boys and girls – to the wonders of classical ballet, from fitness and health to developing discipline and a love for the arts. A frequent speaker at schools, Ms. Mearns is proud of her ability to touch young people with a positive message, with the hope that they, too, will pursue their dreams to the fullest. She has also become an advocate for injury prevention. After suffering a painful back injury during the summer of 2012 while on stage, Ms. Mearns was forced to take eight months off from dancing. This time allowed her to re-prioritize and re-evaluate her life and goals. She realized that talking about injury prevention when it comes to dance is just as important as spreading the message about the art form itself. She has participated on numerous panels and in conferences talking about this very issue, which has helped raise awareness about the need for alternative therapy options for professional ballet dancers across the country.
Ms. Mearns was nominated for the Benois de la Dance award for best female performance of the year in 2012 for her role in Paul McCartney’s Ocean’s Kingdom, with choreography by Peter Martins. Also, she was nominated for a Bessie Award for outstanding performance in a large venue in 2014. She is featured on AOL’s series City.Ballet’s first and second seasons, executive produced by Sarah Jessica Parker, and recently joined Youtube’s DanceOn as a partner. Ms. Mearns serves on the advisory board of Dance NYC, and on the artists’ committee of The Joyce Theater. She is an ambassador to the Dizzy Feet Foundation, founded by Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman. She is currently the face of K Deer Yoga and an ambassador for the iconic fragrance beauty company, Guerlain. Mearns has a partnership with COLE HAAN in which she will collaborate on a 3 year campaign designing ballet flats and handbags. She is also currently featured in the dance wear companies Bloch and Danskin spring 2015 campaigns. Sara lives in New York City full time with her two adorable pups and boyfriend, Joshua Bergasse.