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Sara Mearns Dance Informa featured article

Só Dança, recognized worldwide for manufacturing superior dancewear and dance shoes, recently unveiled its newest collaboration – a sleek collection with New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Sara Mearns.

Named as the “great American ballerina of the era” by Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times, Mearns has literally lived in dancewear for 28 years, from her first dance class at age three in South Carolina to the rehearsal studios and stage of Lincoln Center in New York City. The amount of leotards, tights, shoes and warm-ups she’s worn are too many for her to possibly count. Yet, it’s this significant expertise that makes her ideal for identifying quality dancewear and designing her own collection.

Mearns says, “I think it’s very hard to get the fit of a leotard just right, and Só Dança has done that. The leg lines, and then how it fits snug in all places, is amazing! I feel I am able to wear many different styles and still feel confident when I don’t have anything else on to cover up.”

She continues, “An exceptional leotard or dancewear line makes the dancer look the best they can and allows the dancer to be confident and dance their best. When I feel pretty in my outfit, I always dance better.”

Her Sara Mearns X Só Dança Collection is a well-rounded line-up of dancewear and warm-up tops and bottoms, all of which arrive in stores in January. There are 13 pieces in this first collection.

“We wanted to create something that the maker hadn’t seen before,” Mearns shares. “The Só Dança designers in Brazil had this beautiful scalloped lace they had come up with, and we wanted to find a way to incorporate it in a fashionable way. We didn’t want to overload this first collection with too many ideas. I wanted it to be sleek but edgy. People have described me as a rockstar ballerina, so I wanted to somehow translate that but not go overboard. There is much more to come with that, so this is just a taste.”

Branded as “SMxSD” for short, the premier collection was designed with much care and consideration. Mearns had a plethora of concepts but decided to take “the most important ideas and elements” and see where they took her. She was impressed with all the possibilities with Só Dança.

“I wanted it to be classic but edgy, and something that dancers of all ages would want to wear. I have to take into account that not everyone just likes camisoles, which is basically my staple look, so Só Dança helped me open up to what people like to wear all over the map,” she recalls.

Once the initial designs were manufactured, Mearns was anxious to try them on.

“I was so nervous the first time I put it on. I was in the bathroom by myself, and you just never know until you see it in the mirror for the first time. I am very hard on myself and very judgmental about my looks, but when I saw the leotards on me, I started getting emotional. I felt beautiful in them. I knew this would be a dream collaboration, but seeing my looks on myself for the first time really cemented it. It’s like the leotards came to life and made me want to dance!”

Some of her favorite pieces are the leggings, the pink shirt with the lace, and the spaghetti strap leotards with lace at the neck and waistline. Other unique pieces not to miss are the quilted legwarmers and vest. She says she cannot wait to see what everyone else thinks in January.

Mearns is also thrilled with how the photo-shoot went in August. Directed by her dear friend and colleague Daniel Ulbricht, also a NYCB principal dancer, it provided Só Dança with gorgeous imagery and an inspiring commercial. The photographer and his creative team were “amazing” and managed “a very smooth experience”, Mearns recalls. She added that it was also wonderful to celebrate Só Dança’s 20th anniversary with a celebratory company dinner afterward. 

“I love the way the Só Dança family operates,” Mearns says. “It’s a totally family-run business, and everyone is so invested in every little thing.”

The Só Dança team made her feel like a part of their global family, and she believes SMxSD is the beginning of a long partnership.

More than anything, though, Mearns is delighted to see how her collection can help young girls and women feel their best and confident.

“I truly believe my line can do that for them,” she concludes. “It doesn’t have to be flashy or bright, but it’s about the classic, beautiful shapes that the female body already has and enhancing them even more.”

For each mood a dancer experiences, one of the 13 different pieces can help them translate how they feel.

“The handcrafted lace on most of the leotards, you have never seen anywhere else, and that shows the delicate beauty and refinement that this collection offers,” Mearns says. “Again, this is just the beginning, so in getting the pieces, you are investing in a beautiful closet of clothes that will last you for a long time. These leotards will never go out of style. With the leggings and separates, we can show off our sexier, edgier side of being a woman. I don’t want anyone to hold back and feel discouraged by their looks. These leggings will make you look amazing and will turn anyone’s head.”

Means continues, “All these details and ideas are a culmination of who I am today, the ballerina I have become. It’s taken me a while to get here, but I truly know who I am and who I am as a strong, confident women who wants to inspire others to break boundaries and go beyond what they thought they could do.”

By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.