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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, also in Columbia.

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, full time in the fall of 2001. In the fall of 2003 Ms. Mearns became an apprentice with New York City Ballet.

As an apprentice, Ms. Mearns danced a featured role in Michel Fokine's Chopiniana, performed by SAB as part of New York City Ballet's 2004 winter season.

In June of 2004, Ms. Mearns joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet.

In March of 2006 she was promoted to soloist and in June 2008, Ms. Mearns was promoted to principal dancer. Learn more about Sara at her website, saramearns.com.


  • Allegro Brillante
  • Apollo (Polyhymnia)
  • Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet
  • Chaconne
  • Concerto Barocco
  • Cortège Hongrois 
  • "Diamonds" from Jewels
  • "Emeralds" from Jewels
  • Episodes
  • Firebird
  • The Four Temperaments
  • Ivesiana (In the Inn)
  • Kammermusik No. 2
  • Liebeslieder Walzer
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (Titania)
  • Mozartiana
  • George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® (Sugarplum Fairy, Dewdrop)
  • Orpheus
  • Prodigal Son
  • Raymonda Variations
  • Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze"
  • Serenade
  • Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
  • La Sonnambula
  • Stars and Stripes
  • Stravinsky Violin Concerto
  • Swan Lake
  • Symphony in C (Second Movement)
  • Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux
  • Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2
  • Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3
  • La Valse
  • Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir
  • Vienna Waltzes
  • Walpurgisnacht Ballet
  • Western Symphony (Rondo)
  • Who Cares?


  • Bournonville Divertissements (Pas de Deux from Flower Festival in Genzano)


  • Herman Schmerman


  • Barber Violin Concerto
  • Beethoven Romance
  • Chichester Psalms
  • Fearful Symmetries
  • Morgen
  • Naïve and Sentimental Music
  • Octet
  • The Sleeping Beauty (Carabosse, Lilac Fairy)
  • Swan Lake (Odette/Odile, Spanish)
  • Thou Swell


  • Everywhere We Go
  • The Most Incredible Thing (The Princess)
  • Solo


  • Concerto DSCH
  • Russian Seasons


  • Antique Epigraphs
  • Dances at a Gathering
  • The Four Seasons (Spring)
  • Glass Pieces
  • The Goldberg Variations
  • In G Major
  • In The Night
  • Ives, Songs
  • I'm Old Fashioned
  • Piano Pieces


  • Brahms/Handel


  • Sonatas and Interludes


  • After The Rain
  • An American in Paris
  • DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse
  • Mercurial Manoeuvres
  • Polyphonia
  • This Bitter Earth

Kyle Abraham

  • The Runaway

Melissa Barak

  • A Simple Symphony

Robert Binet

  • The Blue of Distance

Kim Brandstrup

  • Jeux

Warren Carlyle

  • SOMETHING TO DANCE ABOUT Jerome Robbins, Broadway to Ballet

Edwaard Liang

  • Lineage

Pontus Lidberg

  • The Shimmering Asphalt

Peter Martins

  • Ocean's Kingdom (Honorata)
  • The Red Violin

Benjamin Millepied

  • Why am I not where you are

Andrea Miller

  • sky to hold

Justin Peck

  • Bright
  • The Decalogue
  • The Dreamers
  • Pulcinella Variations
  • Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes
  • Rotunda
  • Thank You, New York

Alexei Ratmansky

  • Namouna, A Grand Divertissement
  • Odessa
  • Pictures at an Exhibition
  • Voices

Susan Stroman

  • "Frankie and Johnny ... and Rose" from For the Love of Duke

Pam Tanowitz

  • Law of Mosaics

Lynne Taylor-Corbett

  • The Seven Deadly Sins

Christopher Wheeldon

  • Les Carillons
  • The Nightingale and The Rose
  • Rococo Variations

Peter Martins

  • Chichester Psalms
  • Friandises

Susan Stroman

  • "Blue Necklace" from Double Feature


Concerto DSCH with Sara Mearns

I feel like she's onstage dancing with us," Principal Dancer Sara Mearns shares in praise of NYCB Solo Pianist Susan Walters, whose talents accompany this evocative pas de deux. Watch to learn why, despite originating roles in four other Alexei Ratmansky ballets, Concerto DSCH evinces unique qualities in Mearns' dancing

Anatomy of a Dance

Sara Mearns on Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet

Sara Mearns discusses the boisterous fourth movement of Balanchine's Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet and the thrill of recognizing her unique take on the role she first fell in love with as a member of the Corps.

Anatomy of a Dance

Sara Mearns on Serenade

Sara Mearns reflects on how the music of Serenade allows her and her partner to luxuriate in the moment and create new memories onstage.


Ms. Mearns has performed at the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center in 2013, 2014, and 2017, in works that she commissioned. She also starred in A Dancer's Dream, a New York Philharmonic production choreographed by Karole Armitage and conducted by Alan Gilbert, which was broadcast nationally. Recently, she made her Broadway debut in the “Lonely Town" pas de deux from the Tony-nominated musical On the Town, choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.


Ms. Mearns is the recipient of a 2018 Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer, following a Bessie nomination in 2014. She was also nominated for the Benois de la Dance award for best female performance of the year in 2012 for her role in Ocean’s Kingdom. She is a 2003 recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise and a 2003 nominee for the Princess Grace Award.

Portrait © Erin Baiano

Anatomy of a Dance


Sara Mearns compares what it’s like to portray both good and evil through the universal language of ballet pantomime in the same scene of The Sleeping Beauty by breaking down her performances as both the villainous Carabosse and the beloved Lilac Fairy.

Anatomy of a Dance


Sara Mearns takes us into the hardest two minutes that she’s ever performed in her career as in the Ratmansky’s lighthearted and clever ballet, a performance that makes her feel like Superwoman when she’s finished.

Anatomy of a Dance

Sara Mearns on LA VALSE

Sara Mearns reveals all the challenges of dancing with death in Balanchine’s La Valse – including dancing with so much abandon that she risks a sore neck the next day and dealing with an inevitable wardrobe malfunction.

Anatomy of a Dance

Sara Mearns on Symphony in C

Sara Mearns describes the near-psychic connection that exists between herself and her partner when dancing the adagio in Symphony in C.