Sara Mearns, the object of fervid admiration as a principal with the New York City Ballet, is paying a visit to Fall for Dance. This annual event, which showcases bits of every kind of dance imaginable (something for everyone, so to speak, and at a reasonable price), is sheltered at City Center and often sells out—to an audience of both newbies and old hands.
In this year’s opening program, the audience got to see a ballerina who doesn’t conform to any of the usual types we view nowadays: the lyrical, frangible heroine; the sensational athlete; the earth mother, et al. She was stolidly partnered by Casey Herd, an American who’s a principal with the Dutch National Ballet. Herd was chosen, I would guess, to match Mearns’ anti-ballerina physical type. They danced a duet, The Bright Motion, by the City Ballet’s Justin Peck to music from Mark Dancigers. Had the choreography been more inventive and focused, it might have conjured up the heroine of Willa Cather’s Song of the Lark.
Mearns did her job with a lovely clarity, yet never seemed to make her dancing look significant, never fully “owned” her role. Was this reticence due to modesty or, perhaps, the feeling that the occasion didn’t seem sufficiently “important”? I liked what Mearns did here, mostly because of my history of watching her: I like what she’s done.
© 2013 Tobi Tobias