New York City Ballet's Megan Fairchild on Her Dream Role & Her Guilty Pleasure (The Kardashians Are Involved)

Megan Fairchild in Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gatherin. Photo by Paul Kolnik.


This story originally appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Pointe.

You took a year off to perform on Broadway as Ivy Smith in On the Town. What did you learn from that experience?

If I'm not being classical I can be kind of a goofy dancer, so it was a good push for me. And dancing for a different audience, where it's purely based on how much fun everybody's having, takes the emphasis off being technically perfect. That was something I held on to a little too tightly before. I learned that just being me is enough.

What role do you find particularly challenging?

The Cuckoo Bird in Justin Peck's The Most Incredible Thing! He's very specific about the steps and the timing he wants—it's a whole new vocabulary for me. The costume has heavy wings that “whoosh" as you turn. During my first show I fell. Then the next show, I fell again. To get out there and try a third time after falling twice was a fun challenge, but a difficult one.

Fairchild in Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3. Photo by Paul Kolnik.


What do you still hope to dance?

My biggest dream is to someday be in Jerome Robbins' The Concert. I'm trying to grow my hair out for it. More than anything, I absolutely love to hear the audience laugh.

You're a math and economics major at Fordham University. What do you like about math?

I like the discipline of it, and that you can use its tools every time you approach a problem: If you do this step, this step, and this step, you'll get to an answer. It's like ballet: If you do this, this, and this, you'll do a good triple pirouette. It's just the way my brain works.

What inspired you to start your weekly “Ask Megan!" podcast?

When I was finishing my Broadway run, I thought about starting a blog. I had done some interviews for the “Balancing Pointe" podcast with Kimberly Falker, and we collaborated to create “Ask Megan!" I didn't want to just talk about myself—I wanted to advise. It's been a way to give back.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

I enjoy the Kardashians from time to time. It makes me feel better about my life!

Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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Megan Amanda Ehrlich, Courtesy LEAP Program

Claire Sheridan wanted to change the status quo. Leading up to the 1990s, she recalls, "there was a 'shut up and dance' mind-set," and as the founder of the dance program at St. Mary's College of California and a longtime teacher in professional companies, she had seen too many dancers retire with no plan for a successful career transition. "At that time, if you thought about education and the future," she says, "you were not a committed dancer. I wanted to fight that."

With the support of St. Mary's, Sheridan developed the Liberal Education for Arts Professionals program, or LEAP, an innovative liberal-arts bachelor's degree program designed especially for professional dancers. She first presented her idea to executives at San Francisco Ballet. "Kudos to that company, because they said, 'This is great,'" she says. "Eleven of the first 18 dancers who started in August 1999 were from SFB."

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I'm a college freshman, and my dance program isn't challenging enough. We only have ballet three times a week and a few hours of modern, and my classmates aren't as dedicated as I am. There's a small dance company nearby, where I was hoping to take extra classes, but I don't have a car. I want to transfer, but I feel like I won't be in good enough shape for auditions. —Tara

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