Catching up with ABT’s Sarah Lane

  • April 19, 2017
  • by Laura Di Orio

This year marks Sarah Lane’s 10th year as a soloist with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre (ABT). The ballerina, who was also the dancing double for Natalie Portman in the feature film Black Swan, most recently performed a leading role in Alexei Ratmansky’s brand new Whipped Cream, which ABT brought to Costa Mesa, California, this past March. Next up for her is a busy spring season at the Met, including performances in Giselle, Le Corsaire and more. Here, we get a chance to catch up with the leading lady and Capezio Athlete.

What first got you into dancing? 

“My dad was a sound engineer, and I remember going to a few concerts with him. My family was always playing music. There was a kids song that I heard as a child about a ballerina. I loved the way that music can move you. I started begging my mom to take me to dance classes. So, I started at the age of four at a little community center that offered 10 classes for a dollar!”

Sarah Lane. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.
Sarah Lane. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

When and why did you realize you wanted to pursue dance as a career?

“I never thought that I had what it took to be a professional with a prestigious ballet company. Until I was about 16, I never really analyzed where I was going with all of my hard work. I simply wanted to be in the studio as much as possible because I loved dancing so much. Then, at 16, I saw Amanda McKerrow perform Giselle with ABT at the Met. It made such a great impression on me that I began to dream of being a part of something so wonderful.”

What do you think got you to where you are today?

“My parents were always very supportive and sacrificed a lot to allow me to continue proper training. I was lucky that I had passionate, knowledgeable teachers and a healthy progression through the years. My first teacher, Pat Gillispie, gave me the love and substance to inspire artistry. My second teachers, Timothy Draper and Jamey Leverett, built on that with concert technical instruction. They were very perfectionistic and wouldn’t give in to laziness. My own perfectionism grew beyond theirs. At some points, they had to remind me to have balance in my work so that I wouldn’t defeat myself. Now, my coach at ABT, Irina Kolpakova, is my idol. She has given me so much and is an incredible person. I love her.”

Sarah Lane. Photo by Robert Presutti.
Sarah Lane. Photo by Robert Presutti.

What’s it like being a soloist with one of the world’s top ballet companies? 

“It is a dream come true, but it takes constant hard work and dedication to stay at such a high level physically. Dancers must be really smart and self-motivated. As artists, we have the responsibility to continue to learn, grow and bring deeper levels of maturity to our work. It is wonderful to be surrounded by so many talented colleagues who inspire me every day.”

For you, what’s the most rewarding thing about being a dancer? And what’s the hardest part about being a dancer?

“The most rewarding thing is having the ability to do something that I love and to be creative every day. The hardest part is the inevitable fact that dancing does not have the same longevity as other careers. Dancers, no matter how successful, always must figure out how to transition.”

What Capezio shoes and products do you wear? Why do you love them? 

“I wear Capezio pointe shoes and leather soft shoes. I switched to Capezio pointe shoes when I was in the ABT Studio Company in 2002/2003. I had a bad bunion injury, which was aggravated by my former shoes. Capezio Elan pointe shoes were so comfortable and a much better fit for me.”

Why do you love Capezio and all that the brand offers to dancers?

“I love that Capezio is dedicated to making high quality products that really aid dancers in their efforts to reach excellence. The beautiful dancewear makes dancers feel fresh and excited.”

What advice do you have for aspiring dancers? 

“Hard work, passion and finding your own balance in life is absolutely necessary. Find what inspires your soul, and it will show in your work. Don’t forget to look around and be caring of others instead of focusing only on yourself.”

What else should readers know about you?

“I am very blessed that I met a greater love at ABT, my husband, Luis Ribagorda. He has supported me for all of these years and has brought tons of joy to my life.”

Article produced by Dance Informa.

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