Sarah Hay

Sarah Hay's background as a professional ballet dancer helped her win the lead in the Starz drama series "Flesh and Bone" (2015), as well as excellent reviews for her sensitive portrayal of the personal and professional struggles endured by performers. The Princeton, New Jersey native was raised in a family steeped in the arts: both her mother and grandmother were dancers, while her grandfather performed with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Hay began training as a ballerina at the age of seven, commuting to New York to train at Lincoln Center, the School of American Ballet and later, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Ballet. Hay turned professional at the age of 18, but found it difficult to join a company due to her physique, which was regarded as too developed for ballet. After a five-year search, Hay joined the Semperoper Ballet in Dresden as a soloist, and regarded dance as her primary focus. Thought she had made brief appearance in a few film projects, most notably Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan," Hay never considered an acting career; in fact, the intense pressure endured by Natalie Portman on "Swan" solidified her initial disinterest in screen roles. But she was drawn to "Flesh and Bone" for two reasons: the first was showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett's decision to cast professional dancers in the series' principal roles, while the second was Lawrence Bender's presence as co-producer. An avowed fan of Quentin Tarantino, Hay auditioned for and won the role of Claire, a dedicated but psychologically and emotionally damaged dancer who must fight to retain her spot at the competitive American Ballet Company. Critics praised her performance, which also earned her Best Actress nominations from the Golden Globes, Satellite Awards and Critics' Choice Television Awards.