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Capezio Athlete Sarah Hay talks about her starring role in new TV drama ‘Flesh and Bone’

Sarah Hay Sarah Hay in rehearsal with Semperoper Ballett. Photo by Costin Radu.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

Over the past several years, dance has surely made its way into mainstream media. Even more recently, ballet, specifically, has found its own niche in pop culture with movies (Black Swan), fictional television series (Bunheads) and even reality TV (Breaking Pointe). In January, STARZ television network announced the latest ballet-related entertainment media to hit the airwaves: Flesh and Bone, a ballet drama series created by Breaking Bad writer and executive producer, Moira Walley-Beckett. 

Sarah Hay, Capezio Athlete and soloist with Semperoper Ballett in Dresden, Germany, will play Flesh and Bone’s lead role, Claire Robbins, a young, talented dancer with a troubled past. A dancer with no formal acting training, Hay says she looks forward to this opportunity and the work it will entail. Here, the now ballerina-actress shares more about the show and how she feels about taking on this new venture.

Sarah Hay in Coppelia

Sarah Hay in 'Coppelia' with Semperoper Ballett. Photo by Ian Whalen.

What do you know about your role and plot of Flesh and Bone? Will you be both acting and dancing on screen?

“Claire Robbins is the character I will be playing on the show. She's a gifted dancer and good person with some very deep-rooted issues. As you know, the show is a drama, and from what I know so far, a really gritty one. I will be dancing full-time and acting. The show is based around the dancers, and all of us were cast because we are professional ballet dancers and as well actors. You can imagine that was difficult to find! The writer Moira Walley-Beckett was also a dancer and understands how hard it is. I trust she will portray the dancers in a realistic way and nothing like what we have seen before.”

Did you audition for the show? And how did you feel once you found out you were cast as the main character?

“I was contacted for the show through Ethan Stiefel, who will be the choreographer on the project. I sent a tape from my home in Germany and I received a basic callback right away. I have always been interested in acting and this was a perfect opportunity for me. When I received the call I was really shocked, as well as scared! It was like everything I could ever ask for was thrown in my face all at once. I'm so grateful, and I'm still recovering from the adrenaline!”

Have you had any prior acting experience? How do you plan on preparing for this role?

“I have had a little experience but have been told my stage acting is what makes my dancing. I was also in the movie Black Swan as a featured extra but never a real role like this. I plan to prepare for it like I would a ballet role: work, work and work some more.”

Sarah Hay

Sarah Hay wearing Capezio. Photo by Matthew Wageman.

Will your current dance life change once filming begins?

“The filming will take place in New York City. I will relocate from Germany, but I want to continue dancing in Germany with Semperoper Ballett Dresden. I have so much attached to my life here, so it will be a big change. I have been blessed to work here and I love it very much. But I'm ready for the change, and the company is very supportive.”

There has been a lot of ballet in the mainstream lately – reality shows, fictional shows, movies. Do you think this is a good or bad thing for the industry?

“I don't watch any of those shows. I have to say I'm not a fan of reality television. In a time like this in the dance world, people will go far for publicity. I have joined this project because of the writer. She is gifted and real. I mean, she wrote many episodes of Breaking Bad! I trust her, and I know she will bring a story that will be something we didn't expect.”

What are you most looking forward to in this new venture?

“The work. I love working, and I love the idea that I will have many chances to try things different ways. I just want to get absorbed in Claire and see what all my motivation can bring out in the role.”

Aside from Hay, Flesh and Bone's cast also includes: Irina Dvorovenko, former principal with American Ballet Theatre (ABT); Sascha Radetsky, an ABT soloist; and Ballet Arizona dancer Raychel Diane Weiner. The series begins filming in April in NYC and will air in 2015 on the STARZ network.