Sara Mearns is back! The gorgeous New York City Ballet principal has been out for eight months—eight months—with a back injury. But a couple of weeks ago she was finally able to return to the stage, and we were finally able to recover from our SMearns withdrawal.

The news gets even better: Sara has decided to document her comeback in a series of weekly video blogs for The Huffington Post called (cutely) "Barre None." Why? Because, as she explains in her introduction,

"...what you see on the stage does not begin to capture what ballet or our lives are all about. You see the performance, but what you don't see—the rehearsals, the costume designs, the frazzled nerves, the learning of a new ballet, the constant travels around the world, the injuries and the oftentimes long, painful road to recovery that lead us to wonder if this is the injury that can end a career—it's all a part of what we do and who we are."

Her debut video, which went up on Friday, is a series of little confessional-style updates over the course of her first day back in the swing of things. She gives us a tour of her dressing room (which includes a photo of her with her idol, Natalia Makarova), shows us her super-dramatic stage makeup, talks about her nerves as she prepares to dance the "Waltz Girl" in Serenade for the first time, and then gives us a post-performance recap, showing off some beautiful flowers from her "good friend David Hallberg" (the American Ballet Theatre/Bolshoi Ballet superstar—because of course, of course they're friends). She also wears a fabulous babushka scarf that I need, like, right now.

Take a look—and visit HuffPo each Friday for a new video from Sara!

Tonight CBS broadcasts the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors—and one of the honorees is a true ballet legend.

There are many incredible ballerinas dancing today, but nobody can ever quite measure up to Natalia Makarova. She first rose to fame at the Kirov Ballet in the 1960s, but after she defected from the USSR in 1970, she became an international superstar. Though she's tiny and delicate, she nevertheless had a steely technique and a huge, passionately dramatic presence onstage. A frequent partner of fellow stars Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolph Nureyev, she captivated audiences around the world.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Here she is showing off her exquisite control and dramatic sweep in Odette's variation, from a 1980 performance of Swan Lake:

And to give you a sense of not only her formidable technique, but also her sly sense of humor, here's a clip from the 1985 documentary In a Class of Her Own, in which Makarova narrates footage of herself in ballet class—mercilessly.

We can't wait to see Makarova celebrated tonight— especially since the ceremony (taped a few weeks ago) features performances by a slew of current ballet stars, including Alina Cojocaru, David Hallberg, Tiler Peck, Angel Corella, Julie Kent, Marcelo Gomes and Veronika Part. Tune into CBS tonight at 9/8 c to watch all that awesomeness.

And for those of you who just can't wait: Here's a sampler of classic Makarova photos. Enjoy!

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