Mearns’s Magnificent “Opposites”

One of the many things I admire about New York City Ballet’s Sara Mearns is how she works at and succeeds at making her unique physique one of her greatest strengths.  Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times recently wrote:

“She has unconventionally high shoulders, athletic legs and feet. (The shoulders of a copybook ballerina slope down, with an impression of marmoreal repose; the legs of the same copybook artist show no sign of muscular emphasis.) […] Many of the best dancers are made up of opposites; certainly she is. Those high shoulders used to seem stiff, even to shorten the line of her neck. They seldom seem so now, but at all times they’ve been opposed by the yielding pliancy of her back. Without good control of the back, a dancer can’t have an arabesque — the line in which she or he extends a leg straight behind. Without an arabesque, a ballerina is a lighthouse without a light […] Ms. Mearns […] has an arabesque charged with ardor, gesture, urgency. She extends her line; and energy courses through her arm and leg — through her whole being — into space.”

Her gifts illuminate this must-watch video clip of Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco as well as these footage selections from NYCB’s Facebook page:




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