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


Vikki Sloviter

Sydney Dolan Takes Center Stage at Pennsylvania Ballet

This is Pointe's Summer 2020 cover story. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or click here to purchase this issue.

Just days before the world shuttered under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic, and the curtain came down indefinitely on dance companies everywhere, Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Sydney Dolan debuted Gamzatti in La Bayadère with captivating ease. Her jumps soared, her technique was sound, and her cheeky smile paired with exquisite port de bras was beguiling. Though she didn't know the company would soon cancel the remainder of its season, her beautiful performance acted as a kind of send-off into the unknown.

Dolan's career could be described in one word: charmed. At just 19 years old, she's flown through the ranks at PAB, debuted a long list of roles, won a Princess Grace Award and been named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch." Yet it's her challenges that have shaped not only her training but her outlook, giving her a solid foundation for becoming one of Pennsylvania Ballet's rising stars.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
VAM/Siggul, Courtesy YAGP

YAGP Has Announced the Winners of the 2020 Pas De Deux Virtual Competition

Last weekend, Youth America Grand Prix took to the internet, hosting its first virtual pas de deux competition. Over the course of three days, YAGP streamed videos from its regional events' highest-ranked competitors for a panel of esteemed judges. And, drum roll please... YAGP has just announced the winners, spanning three categories: Senior Classical, Junior Classical and Contemporary.

You can watch the full virtual awards ceremony, hosted by YAGP director of external affairs Sergey Gordeev, below, or scroll down for the list of winners. And if you're missing the thrill of competition, don't fear: Gordeev announced that registration for the 2021 season will open on July 10, with both in-person and virtual options available.

Congratulations to all!

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

Defining and Refining Musicality: How to Tune In and Develop Your Artistic Voice

Ask a hundred people what musicality is, and you're likely to get a hundred different answers. "Musicality is where an artist's personality shines brightest," says Smuin Contemporary Ballet member Ben Needham-Wood. For American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt, "it's what distinguishes one dancer from another. It helps me express myself more vividly and emotionally."

Teachers encourage it, directors seek it out and dancers who possess it bring choreography to life in compelling ways. But what exactly is musicality, and how can dancers get more of it?

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks