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Megan Fairchild

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 20/10/2015 Yvonna Russell

2015-10-19-1445278618-3722967-megan1image004.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-19-1445278618-3722967-megan1image004.jpg Megan performing George Balanchine's Theme and Variations. Photo credit: Paul Kolnik.

George Balanchine commanded, "I don't need dancers who want to dance. I need dancers who need to dance". New York City Ballet principal dancer Megan Fairchild has the the fire. She has danced principal roles in Pierrette in Balanchine's Harlequinade, the Second Act Divertissement in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Swanhilda in the George Balanchine/Alexandra Danilova production of Coppelia, Aurora and Princess Florine in Peter Martins' The Sleeping Beauty, and Florence in The Blue Necklace in Susan Stroman's Double Feature to name a few.
"My greatest pleasure as a dancer is getting to dance to live music in front of an audience. There is something special about the air and atmosphere onstage in a performance. Every movement and moment is special, nothing exists until you make it happen on that stage. The power you feel from that is incredibly thrilling. You get to be part of this special little universe that everyone is watching you discover. It is incredibly public, everyone is watching you, but inside for the dancer it is a really quiet experience. The thoughts that go through your head in a performance... the places you go to in that space... there is nothing like it. It is like getting to be something outside of your regular self. Sometimes even like being close to heaven. There is something very sacred and holy about that stage space and moment of performing in front of an audience. I fall more in love with those moments every time I get the chance to perform."

When Broadway beckoned the young dancer to the world of musical theatre and comedy she answered. Megan shares, "I think I took the casting director up on the offer to audition because I had seen my brother do his workshop for American in Paris, and I was blown away by him, and how he pulled it off. (Her brother NYCB principal dancer Robert starred on Broadway in "An American in Paris")A part of me thought, hey, we are related and share lots of similar talents, I bet I could swing this too! Also the idea to try something that was completely out of my comfort zone to the point of being scary... that made it something I just had to try for the hell of it. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, just to audition. After that, once I landed the part, deciding to do it was a no-brainer. " Moving from the the discipline and structure of her home at NYCB with dancers she has known for decades to the full tilt boogie of Broadway was no cakewalk. The feisty Utah native who began dance classes at Dance Concepts began at four years old is no wallflower. Taking the plunge into Musical theatre meant daily singing and acting lessons. Megan confesses, "I am a perfectionist, which is a blessing and a curse. Kind of comes with the territory of being a ballet dancer, but I am more than most I believe. I also am incredibly reliable and love being a team player."She overlooked no detail in her Broadway debut from transitioning to pin curls, wigs, head microphones, multiple costume changes, hitting the right spotlight to the just right amount of water on her shoe bottoms for turns. Megan adored the audience laughter and learning comic timing filled her with joy.
2015-10-19-1445279381-8037443-meganpiximage.png © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-19-1445279381-8037443-meganpiximage.png
Megan Fairchild leaving for the 'On The Town' Opening Night After Party at the Lyric Theatre on October 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage), Megan as Ivy Smith in "On the Town" Courtesy of On The Town (Photo credit :Joan Marcus)
For the past year she starred on Broadway as Ivy Smith AKA Miss Turnstiles in "On the Town" earning Outer Critics Circle award nomination and a Theatre World Award for her performance. She is back in toe shoes for classes and soon rehearsals for her role as the Sugar Plum Fairy in "The Nutcracker". Except for the occasional Schmackary cookie, her life is the discipline and elegance of the classical ballet of eight performances a week and a strict regimen of physical therapy sessions, gyrotonics and pilates. I am known for doing classical roles, and I am grateful that I have a niche I fit in well, that uses my unique talents. But the times I have gotten to do more contemporary stuff has really been liberating for me. Susan Stroman's "Double Feature" ballet where I play a comedic character that has to dance badly, has been a strangely huge highlight in my career. I think I do well with comedy. And then in a completely different light, I got to be a part of Angelin Prejolcaj's "Spectral Evidence," two years ago, which was inspired by the Salem witch trials, and we were basically ghostly witches doing really contemporary movement. That was a small moment for me casting-wise, but an enormous moment for me in terms of discovering how my body does new and different movement. I really crave more opportunities like that. I am a really organic dancer, and I like working with choreographers that move organically as well. Feels good on my body." Megan shares her artistry through a teaching fellowship at the School of American Ballet and a New York City Ballet outreach dance workshop for children with Cerebral Palsy. A very modern ballerina she embraces social media to share her process with balletomanes and inspiring ballet dancers. All the while Megan is finishing her degree at Fordham University.
2015-10-19-1445280123-3533724-megan2image.jpeg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-19-1445280123-3533724-megan2image.jpeg Steven Pan for Cole Haan
Her involvement with Cole Haan and a new line of shoes for input on design, comfort and performance came about by chance."The partnership with Cole Haan is an amazing opportunity for me, Sara Mearns and Gretchen Smith. They first approached Sara about the idea of a collaboration, and then asked her to pick two friends. We get to help them in the design process of the ballet flats, and did a lot of talking with them about what kind of comfort we need in our shoes. And ballet dancers are pretty high-maintenance when it comes to footwear. And on top of all of that, we have gotten to model in their campaigns, which has been such an amazing opportunity and experience. It is an ongoing partnership, that I am so lucky to be a part of. I love everything Cole Haan stands for: legacy, class, flexibility, grace. Really proud of the partnership" she says. The lovely petite brunette has the effervescent quality of a star. When asked to share her aspirations Megan reveals " I am not really a dreamer. I don't know if I will ever have that kind of confidence. I thrive on being cast by my directors in things that they believe I will do well. If I HAD to say something, I guess I would say I am intrigued by the acting world, I love inhabiting a character and living out their moments, and I am open to anything and everything. I don't box myself in after this year on Broadway. It was so random for me to do it, I realized you never know where life might take you. So many possibilities."

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