There are 12 exceptional dancers in EDge and over the coming weeks we'll be speaking to them to find out how they first caught the dance bug and what it's been like working on the repetoire for this tour.
Q&A with Sara Barney
When or how did you catch the dance bug?
Dance has always been apart of my life. I grew up in the studio. I would sit beside my Mom as she taught her classes. I joined in the moment I began to walk.
What was the first piece of live dance you watched?
The first live performance must have been The Nutcracker. My Mother was performing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy the following season after I was born. I didn't miss a show.
Do you ever worry about forgetting your 'steps' during a performance?
Every piece can be drastically different from one another. The ‘steps’ of the piece do not always consist of learned dance moments. Many times we are working with text, props, improvised moment, etc; which involve much more than just pure memorisation of a step. I don’t worry so much now about forgetting what I am doing. My focus is concentrated on trying to find something new in each performance and allowing myself to trust my rehearsal process and perform.
What do you enjoy about teaching dance to others?
Sharing the love of movement is one of the most special gifts I think you can give. I especially enjoy working with young children that may not have had the opportunity to be involved with dance. I believe it allows a new sense of freedom for children physically and emotionally.
What do you keep in your dance bag?
Probably too much. I don't like the feeling of being unprepared. In my backpack I have what you might find in a basic 1st aid kit, exercise bands, tennis ball, Tiger Balm (life saver), hand towel and snacks (can’t dance without snacks).
What snacks do you eat to keep you going through the day?
Coffee! Also dried mangos and mixed nuts.
If you were not a dancer what do you think you might be doing?
I have never looked at myself as being just a dancer. I love art and how it affects people. I enjoy helping others, which is why I think I enjoy teaching so much. I relate it to the act of giving. I am interested in how we effect one another and what art is capable of.
Did you have any preconceptions of what it would be like to dance work by any of the choreographers and if so, have they changed during the process?
Coming from the United States I had little to no preconceptions of the works we were about to undertake. The only choreographer I knew much about was Trisha Brown. Which, of course, was a very enjoyable experience for me. We pay tribute to the history of modern dance every time we perform the piece. We only had two weeks to complete the setting of Canto/Piantoon the company; it is an honor performing her abstraction of the opera L’Orfeo.
Can you tell us about a particularly memorable performing experience?
While at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts I performed the role of the Mother in a piece titled Cowgirls, Choreographed by Dianne Markham. It was a work that had detailed character and story. The Mother was compassionate but strong and armored; a very powerful role to play. I truly enjoy working with a narrative the invites the audience to empathise with the characters.