Sara Mearns' career is the stuff dreams are made of: She's a principal at New York City Ballet, working on a piece with Broadway's Joshua Bergasse, doing fashion films with Ryan Heffington and now is featured in a short film by Ezra Hurwitz. "In a Day's Work" opens with a shot of a pretty ballerina ornament hanging from the lights of a dressing room mirror, then cuts to a close-up of Mearns wiping away her stage makeup. The back and forth between glamour and grit is a pattern that characterizes the entire film. It is a true inside look at not just the day of a dancer, but the lifetime of dedication and focus it takes to succeed. Mearns narrates her journey from the back of the class in South Carolina to center stage as an NYCB principal as Hurwitz follows her from coffee at home, to class at Steps on Broadway, to her dressing room before performance.
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed
Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed, a new venue in New York City.