Sarah Lamb in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Elite Syncopations. Photo by Johan Persson, Courtesy ROH.

Versatile Brilliance: The Royal Ballet's Sarah Lamb Loves Dostoyevsky and the BBC

This story originally appeared in the April/May 2015 issue of Pointe.

What qualities do you admire most in other dancers?
When you watch someone and have absolutely no worries. Even if something terrible happens, you know they're going to get out of it, in the best way imaginable. You really trust them. I would love to have that.

What would you say is the stamp of your dancing?
I'd say being a chameleon is my trademark—being able to go from Chroma to Manon or Rubies. I think being able to change is something to be proud of. I try to make myself fit each ballet, to really show the specific repertoire as it should be, to its fullest.


Sarah Lamb in "Don Quixote." Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

You've been a muse for Wayne McGregor. Do you find freedom or pressure in creating new roles?

No pressure at all. It's like a gift; it's really personal. What I find difficult is seeing someone else doing my part. When we first started working, we didn't know that Chroma would be franchised out to so many companies. It's almost like you own it, it's your little child, and someone has rented it for a sleepover.

Have you had a worst nightmare onstage?
In MacMillan's Prince of the Pagodas, I had a blindfold on, and it was so tight that when it was taken off one of my contact lenses flipped out. I had to do the last part unable to see anything, and that was a challenge!

You're a union representative at The Royal. What made you want to get involved?
I believe in unions. Dancers are young, so they're a difficult group to represent because there's a culture of always saying yes. But I think it's important to find the best scenario for each dancer, because it's such a short career.

Sarah Lamb in "Rubies." Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.


What would you take with you to a desert island?
If I had a solar battery, I would take a radio so I could listen to the BBC. It's very British of me, but I'm a huge fan. If someone followed my radio-listening habits, they'd think I was 87!

You love literature. What are some of your favorite books?
I read mostly for my own interests outside of dance. The Brothers Karamazov made a big impression on me the first time I read it, but I also like William Faulkner, a lot of James Joyce, and contemporary books such as Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch.

Do you have a specialty in the kitchen?
Turning on the kettle! And staying out of it so my husband can cook.

Latest Posts


Courtesy ABC

Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Alicia Mae Holloway Talks About Her Time on ABC's “The Bachelor”

Bunheads tuning in to the season premiere of ABC's "The Bachelor" on January 4 may have recognized a familiar face: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alicia Mae Holloway, literally bourréeing out of a limousine to greet bachelor Matt James. While Holloway unfortunately didn't get a rose that night, she did thoroughly enjoy being the long-running reality franchise's first professional-ballerina contestant, as she told Pointe in a recent Zoom call.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Carla Fracci and Stephen Jefferies in "La Esmeralda" (1987)

Carla Fracci, a former principal dancer of La Scala Ballet in Milan, is among the rare class of ballerinas who continued to perform into her 50s and beyond. Romantic ballets were her calling card throughout her career. In 1987, when Fracci was 51, she was featured in a television special, dancing reconstructed 19th-century ballets in the style of historical ballerinas. In this clip of La Esmeralda from the program, Fracci and her partner Stephen Jefferies, a former principal at The Royal Ballet, deliver an extraordinary performance, capturing the verve and spirit of their characters.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Make the Most of Performance Opportunities in a Pandemic?

My school is connected to a professional company that operates on a show-to-show basis. Students can audition for company performances when they're 15. My 15th birthday is in February, and I think that our directors are choosing people to participate in virtual performances based off of whether they have performed with the company before. This was supposed to be my big first year with the company, but COVID-19 has changed that. How do I make it known that I want to participate? Do you think I should wait until things are more normal? —Lila
Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks