Megan Fairchild: Spend the holidays with a real-life fairy

Megan Fairchild plays the Sugarplum Fairy as well as Dewdrop in New York City Ballet’s production of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” running Nov. 25 through Dec. 31 at David H. Koch Theater.

Metro chatted with Megan Fairchild, who plays both the Sugarplum Fairy and Dewdrop in New York City Ballet’s production of ‘The Nutcracker.’

How many times have you performed in “The Nutcracker”?

I’ve been in a “Nutcracker” every year since I was 9, so it’s very close to my heart. I’m 27 now, so I guess I’ve been performing it for nearly two-thirds of my life!

How many roles have you played through the years?

When you’re a kid, casting for “The Nutcracker” is all based on height. I started off as a polichinelle (the girls that come out from under Mother Ginger’s skirt). Then I went on to do Clara (the equivalent of NYCB’s “Marie”), then a soldier, then a pageboy, and then several more advanced roles. It was a big deal when I first got to dance Sugarplum Fairy, the lead female role. I was only 19 and a little overwhelmed, but it was really exciting. 

How heavy are your costumes?

The Sugarplum Fairy costume doesn’t weigh me down at all. I love that green tutu. It’s one of the comfiest costumes I have, and I feel very free and very much myself in it. The Spanish costumes are a different story. I danced that role when I was an apprentice in the company, and it’s actually hard to get off the floor when you jump because the skirt is so heavy.

What did you think of “Black Swan”?

I loved it. It’s a really intense thing that we do, this art form. It can get really emotional and mental, with the stress of performing well in front of a lot a people and competing with the people around you for roles. It’s stuff that most dancers don’t talk about, but it is part of the culture. I feel like the movie hit it spot on — how hard it is to be a ballet dancer and the pressure people put on themselves. All ballet dancers are inherently perfectionists. But it was exaggerated. Nobody’s hallucinating at work or anything. That whole thing had nothing to do with what we do.

Since you’re playing two roles, do you ever get your steps mixed up?

With “The Nutcracker,” we do it every year, the same steps over and over again, so we definitely get comfortable with all of it.  Also, what we do is so tied to the music and the counts. Whenever the music comes on somehow our bodies just know what to do.

Was it overwhelming to learn so many steps?

At any given time I may have over 10 ballets committed to memory, ready to perform at any moment. That’s just how we’re trained and how we work. Learning a new ballet or role can be overwhelming at first, but it’s part of the job and always an exciting challenge.
 
How is it working amongst so many children?

I enjoy sharing the stage with the kids. Throughout the season some of them come up and talk to us or leave letters asking for signed pointe shoes and that’s always sweet. It’s exciting for them, so it’s fun to be a part of their experience.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.