I sew four or five a week, and I use a razor blade to pare them down. Today in the Manon rehearsal the floor is dirty in the first act, then you get blood on a shoe in the next act, so new shoes are needed. I believe there used to be a boy here once who did it for £5 a time, but he has gone.”
She is talking to The Independent about her world. Apart from being one of the company's star dancers she is also an Equity rep:
I did it in Boston and there were more tensions there between dancers and management. Here it's very different. The management have all been dancers, so they are very sympathetic. The management are aware that dancers are worked very hard, but the schedule is manageable. Sometimes the corps de ballet gets very tired, though. They have performances in the evenings, then rehearsals all day. They are ‘on' all the time.”
I have felt quite connected to Alice in Wonderland. My grandmother emigrated to the USA from England after the Second World War. She was a speech therapist and worked with children with cerebral palsy. In 1953 she created the first summer camp for children with these difficulties. It was called Jabberwocky. My father painted a school bus for them with pictures from Alice. The camp was in Martha's Vineyard. I spent every summer there.”
She also feels very close to one of the central characters of the classical repertoire:
I feel very much at home with Aurora's shyness and wonderment and also try to show all the gifts she has received from the fairies: purity, charm, musicality. I think I'm very much a realist, so I'm a bit critical of myself. I'm never satisfied with my performances. But at the same time I look outside and look at the trees and think how beautiful they are. I think I do try and appreciate that what I get to do is a very real privilege.”
But she has a quirky attitude to television licences:
I don't have a TV. They charge you a licence in the UK, so in true Bostonian fashion I refuse to pay the tax. It's an American thing. I love the BBC, really, though some of the things they show I don't like. That astronomer, you know, the physicist [Brian Cox]. I hate the way he speaks.”
So if she doesn't watch TV during an evening then, so what does she do?
Photo credit: Bill Cooper: Sarah Lamb in The Royal Ballet's production of The Sleeping Beauty
I like the theatre, and I read a lot, though not as much as I should. And I sew a lot of shoes.”
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.