DANCE ‣ Dancer of the Month - February 2022, Sara Adams
Sara Adams was born in Dennis, Massachusetts, and began her dance training at the age of six at the Mid-Cape Ballet Academy.
She later studied at the Boston Ballet School, before taking a summer course at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, during the summer of 2003.
She enrolled as a full-time student at SAB from 2003 to 2008. She became an apprentice with NYCB in June 2008 and became a member of the corps de ballet in September 2009. In February 2017, Ms. Adams was promoted to soloist.
Sara Adams is currently a soloist with NYC ballet. Throughout her career Sara has always enjoyed sticking with a routine. When asked about her routine she replied with, “I very much like a routine! I have different routines for different parts of my day. My morning routine, my pre and post show routine etc. Throughout my career my routine has evolved. I used to do at least an hour of exercises before class but learned that it would exhaust me before my day of rehearsals had even started. I’ve learned how to make sure I’m warmed up and engaged without overwhelming myself. When I was younger I didn’t have to do a long warmup before a performance but now I like to take time to warm up.”
She really loves cross training, especially Pilates, but6 also strength training, Gyrotonics, yoga, and swimming.. She is even certified to teach Pilates. During the pandemic she even explored other types of dance such as Cunningham and Gaga. The pandemic allowed many dancers to get out of their comfort zones and dabble with other styles of dance.
The pandemic was very difficult for dancers, and each dancer handled it differently. For Sara, her experience is summarized here:
“My approach towards ballet over the pandemic didn’t change much than my previous approach. For me, having faith and taking class was what kept me going. It was a routine that made me feel good.
I saw the lockdown as an opportunity to get stronger. Since we weren’t able to be in our studios I focused on what I could do. I did a lot of barre. I did a lot of strength training. I wore my pointe shoes everyday. I took two ballet classes a day. I explored other dance movements. The pandemic also gave me the opportunity to teach. Teaching gave me so much inspiration. Seeing the students work so hard inspired me to work hard. Teaching also gave me more information in my own dancing, i.e what helps to execute a step to look better.
I feel blessed that throughout my training and career I’ve had support from many people. First, my parents. I wouldn’t be where I am without them and their dedication to getting me to ballet class that was two hours away from my house growing up. I had amazing teachers at The School of American Ballet. The repertoire directors at NYCB have helped me grow into roles. My fiancé has been a huge support. I also have Pilates and Gyrotonic teachers who have helped me get and stay strong. The physical therapists and massage therapists help me with staying healthy. All of my teachers have given me inspiration. My friends encourage me to be the best I can.
Returning to the studio after the lock down felt very emotional. When we were able to use the studio for single use after months of being away I remember crying because I was so happy to be back. There are so many memories and so much history in our studios. I felt extremely grateful to be in a studio with a good floor and barre. I never take for granted how lucky we are to have a beautiful space to dance in.
One challenge for me returning to the studio was to trust in myself to take up space and travel in the combinations. Since we were in such small spaces it was an adjustment to be able to move big. Big jumps were an adjustment too, but our strength trainer/ physical therapist Dirk Hartog gave us exercises to get us ready. Wearing a mask while dancing was also an adjustment. We got used to it quickly, but at first it was hard to breathe during a combination that took a lot of stamina.
During the lockdown, I really missed taking class and rehearsing with other dancers. I am so inspired by the dancers in my company. It was hard not to take class and rehearse with them in person. I’m thankful that I got to take class over zoom with them everyday though! When we were allowed to be in the studio with other dancers everyone was so encouraging and supportive of each other.
Performing for the first time for a live audience post lockdown was such an amazing feeling. Hearing the audience applause and feeling their energy gave me such a spark. I was so appreciative to be back doing what I love for people.
I think the pandemic gave me a greater appreciation for the ability to dance. Everyday I am able to go in to take class, rehearse, perform, I am so grateful.”
Her advice for other dancers as we start to return to normal is, “I would recommend dancers and athletes to find a balance with their craft or sport and other types of movement or cross training. It’s important for our bodies to have a chance to recover and use different muscles.”
If you would like to support Sara, New York City Ballet’s spring season starts on April 19th, 2022!! Be sure to check out what they’ll be performing and be on the lookout for Sara!
Photo Credits: Erin Biano