Sarah has been linked in to FFB since the very beginning and I am still in shock our paths haven’t crossed earlier. Definitely have admired her from Instagram for years and girl-crushed over her when she was in Paramour. (Anyone else remember the smoldering look she gave in one of the promo videos? #bombshell) Her contagious laugh, lightheartedness, and fierce spirit are completely magnetic. So before she walks down the aisle this weekend as a Broadway bride, she is sharing her Fit for Broadway journey! Enjoy!
NOTE FROM SARAH: hi I’m Sarah Meahl. Pronounced like McDonald’s Happy Meal. Which ironically sort of symbolically embodies my essence… Pretty average meal but always with a toy that adds a magical ELEMENT OF SURPRISE. Thats me! Trying to find the joy in every day situations. But also trying to change the world and make everyone feel loved. I am a Broadway Dancer and teacher. I love dance. I also love Puns and Cooking and Accents. What else.
Q: My beautiful GOD-dessss, I am so excited to be sharing your story today. We were destined to meet and play and share and yoga and all the things. Can we start from the beginning? What was your journey to Broadway?
A: It’s still so cool to hear that question! I was a dance competition kid from Orlando, FL. I did that my entire life, and started taking voice lessons when I was 11. I was always completely inspired by Disney movies. All my dance teachers where Disney Performers. I thought I wanted to go to college for dance and then come back home and dance at Disney. I got talked in to auditioning for some Musical Theatre Programs and decided to go to Point Park University. I majored in Musical Theatre and got a Dance Minor. During that time I realized I wanted BROADWAY. To this day college was still the hardest work I’ve ever done. I had so much catching up to do.
I graduated and moved to New York and started booking shows regionally. I did that for YEARS. There were so many almosts… out of town tryout/flops as well as a huge knee injury. I hung in. A tour and an Off-Broadway show later, I made my Debut in Paramour. I was 26. There were zero dull moments during this entire time.
Q: How have health and fitness been intertwined into your journey?
A: As for physical health: No one ever told me how physically challenging it would be to dance professionally. Things hurt and there is so much maintenance that goes in to one’s everyday routine. Physical Therapy is key, and so is a healthy and semi consistent food routine if you are doing 8 shows a week! I learned all of this the hard way after my major knee dislocation of course… Warm ups and cool downs are so important, so is staying hydrated and listening to your body. That has been the biggest lesson of my journey so far.
I feel the happiest when I am active and sweating. I sleep better, I taste food better, I even breathe deeper! Therefore, physical fitness is my vitality. I crave the movement and always have, and I wouldn’t trade it for any of my aches and pains. I call them my “dancer dues”.
Q: How has mental care and awareness been a part of your experience?
A: Most of my journey I went without Mental awareness. No one talked about it with me growing up. Our society doesn’t talk about enough, so lets talk about it. In this business, it is VERY challenging. The body and talent shaming, the frustrations and rejection, our holding on to the messed up thing our dance teacher said about our legs when we were 16… Dancers sometimes don’t realize how damaging it can be to stand in front of a mirror the majority of their life! I battle the body dysmorphia thing every minute of every day, but I actively TRY to rise above it. I do this by not keeping a scale in the house, eating healthily most of the time, staying active, and here is the one that is saving me: meditation. Quieting my thoughts and letting all of them leave for a bit. I do this in yoga class mostly. That is where I meditate the best. The combination of the sweating and exhaling breathe is really symbolic to me of my thoughts and issues leaving my head. I think the best way to be mentally fit is to quiet your toughest critic: yourself. Also, we need to end the stigma that therapy is for crazies. Every one on earth should be in therapy. I’ve learned the most about myself from meditation and therapy sessions. I can’t express that enough.
I will also say you must do things you love to keep mentally fit (and happily thriving). Cooking and watercolors do that for me. And wine with good company.
Q: How do you balance taking time for yourself and being part of a tight knit community?
A: I balance this by listening to myself. I usually love every minute of being a part of this AMAZING community, but everyone needs ‘me’ time. If I am feeling drained because my sensors are on overload because BROADWAY and SOCIAL MOMENTS, I go home and cuddle myself. And I’ll honestly be like, sorry I need to go home and lay in silence and every body gets that because everybody needs to recharge sometimes. Except Max Clayton and Robert Hartwell. They actually bend those laws of science. They truly stay charged and it is amazing. HAHA
Q: What’s your go to practice for centering and grounding yourself?
A: A HOT VINYASA FLOW YOGA CLASS. If for whatever reason I am centering and grounding sans physical activity, I take myself (singularly and slowly) to Union Square to the farmers markets and walk myself. Its my happy place.
Q: What other activities outside performing really feed your soul?
A: Cooking feeds my soul. Painting with my water colors feeds my soul. Writing poetry (for no one to read) feeds my soul. If I am outside of New York City, I love to go on long scenic runs. I think if I had access to a swing or a trampoline that would feed me for HOURS. But alas, I really only do the first one daily.
Q: Ok, Food with a capital F. Let’s dive in. What’s been your journey with food and how does it fuel you as a performer?
A: My dad taught me how to cook when I was little. It’s been passed down (we are greek) since the beginning of greek people. I live to eat and it brings me so much joy. I love dining with ambience too. There is nothing I won’t eat or try, I have no limit. But what I crave the most is actually SALAD and PICKLES and BEEF. My doctor says it’s because my body is craving water, salt, and protein. Fair. I have found eating a solid protein is the best thing for me before a show or rehearsal. Like a salmon filet for instance. It is solid and sits in your stomach but doesn’t expand like salad or rice. I have worn corseted costumes in my 2 Broadway shows, so its best to eat said protein in advance so that you don’t get indigestion and want to DIE during the polka, for instance. Then when the dancing is over I eat a salad the size of my New York City bathroom sink. And wine. Eating green and having protein are my KEYS. And I eat all those probiotic slaws and sketchy things that make my fiancé quiver with disgust.
Q: What’s your weekly workout schedule look like?
A: During the run of a Broadway show, it depends! The show is already a workout, and I never want to run myself into the ground. For example, if I take a soul cycle class or a fly barre class, I may kill my quads or hamstrings and it makes my show completely scary hard that night. SO I like to take ballet and/or yoga twice a week, because those low impact forms of exercise are great to supplement with the show. There’s usually an audition thrown in there somewhere, and I have a warmup that I do before I dance that includes a ridiculous amount of stabilizers and pushups, so that happens every day too! On the day off I DO NOT MOVE.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: I am always so inspired by my community of dressing room women. There is always a girl who has her own company on the side, or one who is a mother and is pumping breastmilk during intermission, or one who is emotionally and financially supporting other family members, or creating some amazing feat of art outside of the show… And I am constantly blown away by their strength and grace and silliness despite of how hard LIFE can be to juggle. Women in general are incredible. We are capable of so much more than we even know. It has been a pleasure to learn from them and know them.
Q: Quote to live by.
A: Be Silly.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Photos & Interview by Jane Jourdan.