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
Local

Jasper Johns aide admits stealing, selling artwork for…

By Joseph AxNEW YORK (Reuters) - A former assistant to renowned American contemporary artist Jasper Johns pleaded guilty on Wednesday to selling nearly two dozen…

National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…