Sara Mearns was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and began her dance training at the age of
three with Ann Brodie at the Calvert-Brodie School of Dance in Columbia. Following study with
Patricia McBride at Dance Place, School of North Carolina Dance Theatre, South Carolina
Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, and the School of American Ballet (the official
school of New York City Ballet), she became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in 2003
and danced a featured role in Michel Fokine’s Chopiniana in 2004. Ms. Mearns joined the
Company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2004, was promoted to the rank of soloist in
2006, and was promoted to principal dancer in 2008.
At the age of 19, while still a member of the corps de ballet, Ms. Mearns performed her first
featured role as Odette/Odile in Peter Martins’s Swan Lake. She has since appeared in featured roles in works choreographed by George Balanchine (including Apollo, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Concerto Barocco, Jewels, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Serenade, Stars and Stripes, Symphony in C, and Walpurgisnacht Ballet), Jerome Robbins (such as Dances at a Gathering, The Goldberg Variations, and In the Night), Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp (Brahms/Handel), Peter Martins (Barber Violin Concerto, Beethoven Romance, Chichester Psalms, Fearful Symmetries, among others), Christopher Wheeldon (including DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse, Les Carillons and Polyphonia), Alexei Ratmansky (Concerto DSCH, Namouna, A Grand Divertissement, and Russian Seasons); Susan Stroman (Double Feature and Frankie and Johnny…and Rose); and Richard Tanner (Sonatas and Interludes).
In 2011 Sara Mearns originated the role of Honorata in Paul McCartney’s Ocean’s Kingdom with choreography by Peter Martins, and she was nominated for a Benois de la Danse award for her performance. In 2003 she was a recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award and a nominee for the Princess Grace Award.