By Ariel Kohane
Whenever Rebecca Sarin walks on stage, the audience knows to expect a stellar performance. Whether it be a fun dance or a fantastic monologue, she never ceases to amaze.
Her preferred mediums are, of course, theatre and dance. “I have dabbled in music over the years,” Sarin said, “but it’s never made me as excited, and I’ve written poetry but am terrible at keeping up with it and therefore terrible at improving.”
When it comes to dance, however, her interests are more diversified.
“As a dancer, I love tap just because it’s super, super fun,” Sarin said. “And I love ballet for all the rules that go into it– ballet is graceful, but it’s an incredibly controlled gracefulness.”
Sarin has also been involved with dance for quite some time.
“I’ve been dancing since I was eight,” Sarin commented. “I started sort of doing theater when I was in kindergarten, and on and off after that, but I didn’t get serious about acting at all until freshman year… As a dancer, I’ve been performing in dance recitals and at camp performances consistently since elementary school.”
At least once a week, Sarin goes to the West Roxbury School of Dance, the studio she has been attending since she was eight years old. At age 12, she was introduced to modern dance at the Charles River Creative Arts Program. She has spent the past two summers taking intensive dance workshops at the Windhover Center for the Performing Arts in Rockport.
“I think people have this notion about modern dance that it’s a complete free-for-all where you can do whatever you want,” Sarin said, “but modern dance is based in ballet technique, and when you break out of ballet rules, there’s just more rules dictating the other ways to move your body.”
Since her freshman year, Sarin has been in the 2013 Frosh Play, as well as Arabian Nights, Park Angel, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. She is also going to appear in the upcoming South musical, Rent. She has also participated in communal theater productions, like the Newton Theatre Company’s production of Agamemnon this past summer.
“As an actor, I think that I am most excited by contemporary, realistic works,” Sarin said. “It doesn’t mean I don’t love abstract or historical theater, because I absolutely do. I just have found that I really enjoy using the subtle acting muscles that go into making a character seem like somebody you could actually know today– as long as it’s not me.”
Though she’s still relatively young in the artistic world, Sarin is consistently impressed with the wide variety of talented people she has gotten to witness.
“I can honestly say that when it comes to dance, every professional dancer I’ve ever seen, in any of the styles I enjoy, inspires me further to keep dancing, to improve, and to be creative about it,” Sarin said. She enjoys watching choreographers work, particularly. Sometimes, she teaches herself how to do some of the unique moves that she sees in the performances of other dancers.
When it comes to acting, however, Sarin has immense respect for the professional adult actors with whom she worked with in Agamemnon.
“I looked up to them because all the experience they have clearly showed,” Sarin said. “They clearly knew how to approach a script right away, and had really good acting instincts.”
“I feel like I’m saying this more as a fangirl than as an artist,” she admitted, “but Tatiana Maslany on the show Orphan Black is a very clear example of the power of using your body to create characters.”
Being a dancer, movement is a common theme for Sarin.
“I think dance has helped me as an actor,” Sarin said, “due to the focus in ballet and modern [dance] on keeping track of where every part of your body is, how it feels, and how it looks.”
Sarin is inspired to perform with such energy by her incredible teachers, both a Newton South and at her dance schools.
“Mr. Knoedler has always made SouthStage a really comfortable place for me and everyone else,” she said. “He’s maintained a feeling here of, in my experience, no intense pressure to excel or competitive spirit, just encouragement of learning and growing. The professional dancers that teach at the intensive workshop I go to in the summers are especially exciting to learn from because they’re so well trained and I love their style of movement.”
She hopes to continue exploring the worlds of theatre and dance after her graduation.
“I can imagine myself doing a little bit of acting and/or costuming and then sort of falling out of it, while I can’t imagine ever going a year without dancing,” Sarin said. “I love the people I’ve met and lessons I’ve learned through theater– but as a true ‘I couldn’t stop’ kind of passion, dance wins out.”