Feature: Recommended by... Sarah Lamb

Friday 23 April 2010

Sarah Lamb Sarah Lamb is a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet. Born in Boston, she joined the Royal Ballet in 2004 and has excelled in Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, as well as dancing lead roles in all the major classical ballets. Sarah can next be seen in Christopher Wheeldon’s Electric Counterpoint and a new work by Liam Scarlett as part of a triple bill at the Royal Opera House, from 5 May.

What do I look for in a performance? Inspiration really. The best performances are always the ones that make me want to dance myself. When I see Alvin Ailey’s company, for example, I always get excited about dancing. Ballet is very difficult, you’re constantly practicing and refining, so when you find inspiration it’s as if you become young again and remember why you started doing it in the first place.

Bad Taste CruPhoto: Richard Moran I really like seeing work that’s completely different to what I do. For instance, the hip hop festival Breakin’ Convention – I’d really love to go to that. I think you can learn from anyone who does any kind of movement really well, it doesn’t have to be your style. It’s their commitment to what they’re doing and the technique they’ve worked on for hours and hours.

One of the best breaking performances I’ve seen was at my high school prom. There were some b-boys there, some poppers, who were really cool and amazing. We actually had a dance-off competition, which I won! I could never spin on my head, but I’ve got the pointe shoes instead.

The other thing about Breakin’ Convention is that the demographic is a lot younger and I think there’s probably a bit more genuine excitement. Our audience are expecting a certain thing, they’re accustomed to seeing ballet over the years and they’re comparing it to what they’ve seen before. I think Breakin’ Convention has more of a community feel, and a real excitement.

Hofesh Shechter 'Political Mother'Photo: Ben Rudick Usually when I get to the theatre I’ll see something contemporary. I haven’t seen Hofesh Shechter’s work yet so I’m really interested to see that. It’s interesting that he composes his own music as well. I’ve heard about a lot of his pieces and I’ve read various reviews but I haven’t been able to form my own opinions yet so I need to see it for myself – although I have a feeling I’m going to be dancing in Spain during the next time he’s on!

'Dirty Dancing' I did go to see Martin Harvey in Dirty Dancing recently, because I used to dance with him at the Royal Ballet. It was hilarious. What they’re doing, they do really well and the audience loved it. It was a lot of fun, it was a great show.

Simon Russell Beale in 'London Assurance' at the National TheatrePhoto: Catherine Ashmore I’m also keen to see the play London Assurance at the National Theatre, with Simon Russell Beale, because I’ve heard there’s quite a bit of movement in that. Alastair Macauley gave it a great review in the “New York Times”:. It’s interesting when you see a play with dance in it, because there’s something about the way dancers carry themselves that’s very hard to fake. They way they hold their head and their neck. But Macauley said that Simon Russell Beale is very good.

Sarah Lamb in Christopher Wheeldon's 'Electric Counterpoint'Photo: Dee Conway Breakin’ Convention, Sadler’s Wells, 1-3 May
Hofesh Shechter, Sadler’s Wells, 14-17 July ** **”Dirty Dancing, Aldwych Theatre, ongoing“:http://www.dirtydancinglondon.com/
London Assurance, National Theatre, until 29 June

See Sarah Lamb with the Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon’s Electric Counterpoint and a new work by Liam Scarlett as part of a triple bill at the Royal Opera House on 5, 6, 8, 12 & 15 May. Tickets: 020 7304 4000 or www.roh.org.uk

Interview by Lyndsey Winship

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