Paula Lobo, Courtesy Matt Ross PR

Sara Mearns and Joshua Bergasse Gave Us the Scoop on What It's Actually Like to Work Together

It was only a matter of time before dance super couple Sara Mearns and Joshua Bergasse did a major project together.

After all, the newlyweds first met when Mearns, a New York City Ballet star, was being considered for a part on the TV show "Smash," which Bergasse was choreographing. They hit it off, but the role ended up getting cut.

Fast-forward to today, and they're working on their first full-length musical together: I Married an Angel, which opens next week as part of New York City Center's Encores! season, with Bergasse as choreographer and Mearns as the star.


"We've done a number here, a number there together before, but this is the first time we're doing something of this scope," says Bergasse.

"It's been really fun. He gets red in the face when we're fooling around in the studio and I joke around with him," says Mearns, adding, "It's really cute."

Mearns in a developpe, with Bergasse watching from the front of the studio

Paula Lobo, Courtesy Matt Ross PR

This particular show has special significance: I Married an Angel was originally choreographed by George Balanchine in 1938 (a decade before he founded New York City Ballet), and it starred his wife at the time, Vera Zorina. That sparked the idea for Encores! artistic director Jack Viertel to approach Mearns and Bergasse not long after they started dating, hoping they would re-create that historic dynamic together.

Bergasse says their personal relationship does make their creative collaboration more instinctive: "There's a certain understanding we have of each other's personalities. We can read each other in the room."

But being married comes with its own wrinkles. Bergasse and Mearns admit that the work inevitably follows them home, where they'll end up talking through ideas, and getting each other's opinions on things like costume design right when one of them comes out of the shower, for instance.

Fortunately, they have a simple answer for when they need to completely tune out their work. "We binge-watch 'Game of Thrones,' " says Bergasse. "Though, with the limited time we have, that means like maybe one episode a night."

Josh Bergasse watches Sara Mearns on pointe in a developpe front

Paula Lobo, Courtesy Matt Ross PR

Although their wedding was only four months ago, the pair already has their married couple banter down. When asked what working with Bergasse has taught her, Mearns pauses, thinking.

"Not too much apparently," Bergasse jokes, before Mearns laughs and then talks about how he's helped her make storytelling more central to her dancing.

And when Bergasse is asked what he's learned from Mearns, she's the first to answer, saying, "Everything!" (Bergasse says he's learned from her intuition, how her body naturally moves.)

But no matter how silly or heated things get in the studio or at home, both say they appreciate the sense of security that has come with marriage. "No matter what is happening," says Mearns, "we're in this together. Officially."

Joshua Bergasse coaches Sara Mearns in rehearsal

Paula Lobo, Courtesy Matt Ross PR

Latest Posts


Getty Images

Hiding Injuries: Why Downplaying Pain Can Lead to Bigger Problems Down the Road

Sabrina Landa was thrilled to be offered a traineeship with Pennsylvania Ballet. "As a trainee, everything felt like a chance to prove myself as a professional," she says. Her training hours increased and she was dancing more than she ever had before. When Landa began experiencing pain in her metatarsals partway through the 2018 Nutcracker season, she notified the staff. "But in fear of losing my shows, I downplayed the severity of it," Landa says.

She notes that no one pushed her to keep dancing but herself. "I was 18 and was aiming to receive a contract by the end of the year," she says. "I felt so much anxiety over missing an opportunity that I was afraid to be honest about my pain." Pennsylvania Ballet's artistic staff were understanding and supportive, but Landa minimized her injury for the next few months, wanting to push through until the season ended and contracts were offered. But after months of pain and an onset of extreme weakness in her foot, Landa was diagnosed with two stress fractures in her second and third metatarsals. She spent the next three months on crutches and six months off dancing to allow for the fractures' delayed healing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, Courtesy Merritt Moore

How Quantum Physicist Ballerina Merritt Moore Learned to Dance With a Robot (Plus, Her Newest Film)

When the world went into lockdown last March, most dancers despaired. But not Merritt Moore. The Los Angeles native, who lives in London and has danced with Norwegian National Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, holds a PhD in atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford. A few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, she came up with a solution for having to train and work alone: robots.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Lauren Anderson's Tips for Relevé Développé Écarté Devant

Développé écarté relevé "is in every class, every ballet," says Lauren Anderson, former principal dancer and current program manager of education and community engagement at Houston Ballet. Below, she gives you the keys to success for this "light and lovely" repertoire staple.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks