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Sarah Lamb and Tatyana LegatInterview in the Guardian


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#1 leonid17

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 10:20 AM

In the interview(Please find below), Sarah Lamb pays tribute to her former teacher Tatyana Legat who I remember as an outstanding soloist of the Kirov.

Yesterday afternoon I watched Sarah Lamb dance the leading role in 'La Sylphide' staged by Johann Kobborg.

Miss Lamb gave an exquisite performance having captured not just the dancing style of the role but spirit of the role in playful mood and at its tragic moments. Physically Miss Lamb is perfect for the Sylphide with the lightest of arabesques and high light jumps capture the essence of her otherworldly ream from which she has appeared.

I found no flaw in her performance which given the opportunity, she will make this role her own.

The only thing missing from this rather good production is a man playing Madge. There are good historical reasons for a man playing this role as there is for Carabosse.


http://money.guardia...1994482,00.html

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 10:53 AM

Thanks for the Link, Leonid.

A brief note: The first Madge was a man, the second (back in 1860) was a woman. In the Danish tradition, both genders have been great in the role. Men, Hans Beck and Niels Bjorn Larsen; women, Gerda Karstens and Sorella Englund. The two prime caretakers of "La Sylphide" from the 1960s through the early 1990s were Hans Brenaa and Henning Kronstam who both preferred women to play Madge "because of the sexual chemistry". That's probably why (as well as Englund's portrayal, which has become the measuring stick for this role) the current generation of stagers cast women.

#3 Jane Simpson

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 11:12 AM

A brief note: The first Madge was a man, the second (back in 1860) was a woman. In the Danish tradition, both genders have been great in the role. Men, Hans Beck and Niels Bjorn Larsen; women, Gerda Karstens and Sorella Englund. The two prime caretakers of "La Sylphide" from the 1960s through the early 1990s were Hans Brenaa and Henning Kronstam who both preferred women to play Madge "because of the sexual chemistry". That's probably why (as well as Englund's portrayal, which has become the measuring stick for this role) the current generation of stagers cast women.


One of the Royal Ballet's casts is a man - Gary Avis, who appeared on the opening night of this run, with Tamara Rojo and Federico Bonelli.

#4 richard53dog

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 12:21 PM

The only thing missing from this rather good production is a man playing Madge. There are good historical reasons for a man playing this role as there is for Carabosse.


http://money.guardia...1994482,00.html


I'm sure there are. But my own personal preference is for a woman in both roles. I really think it's easier for a female to appear powerful and frightening.

Men can wander towards the line of becoming camp too easily; certainly not all do , but it happens

#5 Jane Simpson

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 01:00 PM

I was very interested in the Sarah Lamb interview to read the following:

"Ballet is an illusion; so, if you can rely on your intelligence, you'll always find a way to make what needs to happen appear to happen."

I think she's wrong: intelligence is not enough, and I think it's exactly this that makes her performances much less rewarding than others, like Leonid, find them. When I'm watching her I see a dancer delivering a performance which is clearly the result of much thought and hard work, and is very prettily executed, but I find her almost totally unmoving - and it's because it looks to me as if everything she does is controlled absolutely by her intelligence, and it won't live until she lets go: or perhaps until she appears to let go. After all, Gelsey Kirkland could rehearse down to the last eyelash and then look exactly as if she was making it up as she went along.

(And personally, I think that's what's missing from this production is a first-rate James.)

#6 Mashinka

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 04:20 AM

I also went to Saturday's performance of La Sylphide and agree with every word Leonid has written about Sarah Lamb.

Ms Lamb is the best thing to happen to the Royal Ballet in years and her recent performances in Sylphide, as Aurora and as the Queen of Fire in Homage to the Queen have all left an indelible memory. She is a true individual on stage and able to accentuate every nuance of the role she is dancing.

Though she may not be to Ms Simpson's taste, to many of us it looks as if the RB has finally found its prima.

#7 Geier

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 06:01 AM

Though she may not be to Ms Simpson's taste, to many of us it looks as if the RB has finally found its prima.


Probably my taste is identical to Ms Simpson one :) and I agree completely with her comment.
Lamb is a lovely and beautiful ballerina and I truly enjoyed her Sylph, but I enjoyed far less, for example, her Aurora, quite flat, IMHO.
I think she is a very good technician and clever dancer (even if I had a little doubt about that when seeing her dancing Chroma with her false coup de pied :) , quite visible in naked legs and wearing slippers... :lol: ...well, she remains absolutely beautiful, but it was quite funny), but I also think that her intelligence could be a limit: her brain is often more visible than her soul and her way to be on stage appears to me (happy to know not only to me) a little too constructed, cold, impersonal, vaguely scholastic and "already seen"; exaggerating the idea, she looks (to me) like a sort of "cloned ballerina"
Nevertheless, I quite like to see her dancing and she has been for sure a great acquisition for the Royal Ballet, but , generally speaking, I prefer ballerinas with a much more personal, deep and intense artistic dimension.
Her interview seems to clarify her approach to ballet dancing and confirm me in my opinion; the same I could say of this other interview http://enjoyment.ind...icle2173019.ece, given by Alina Cojocaru, an artist that I understood being closer to my taste than to Mr. Leonid one. :)

#8 GoCoyote!

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 10:40 AM

I have become more and more of a fan of Sarah Lamb since her move to London. I first saw her dance Swan Lake here, which was a little too inpenetrable to my tastes (being I guess more traditional RB style). Then I started to 'get' her approach ....and I really started to fall in love with her dancing during the previous La Sylphide run at the ROH. She is so keenly aware of her body and the space around her, making such clean lines always. However, I still felt she could afford to maybe let go just a little bit more, at times - but then before Christmas I saw her Aurora again and it was just sublime. I decided then that she knew best what she was doing. :lol:

I can understand why some people find her rather aloof but to me it feels more like she is able to exude, while dancing, a sense of the whole ballet, the essence of a role at all times, rather than being just focused on the particular moment. I don't know if that makes any sense....?

Her recent Aurora was so poised and clear on the surface, but with such a strong 'lucid dream-like intensity' underneath. It is really hard to put into words- to me it's like she drives her performance inwardly as much as project outwardly. I find Zenaida Yanowsky can be equally satisfying in this way too - I remember her debut Swan Lake being like that, not so much understated but rather a performance as deep as the marrow of her bones!

I wondered the other night while watching Sarah dance if she has learned to breathe differently or something, it's almost as if she is breathing very low into her belly like in meditation, to give her that clear and poised presence- but breathing like that and dancing ballet should not be possible!!!

Anyway, while I enjoy many other different approaches by other dancers, Sarah is definitely one of my favourite RB dancers at the moment. Not really knowing much about her background the interview made a lot of sense to me.... that and being lucky enough to see her in an open class a couple of months ago - she does work seriously hard in class! Hats off to her! :) :)

#9 bart

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 11:33 AM

How wonderful to read these divergent views of Lamb's dancing. Certainly that's the hallmark of an interesting dancer, no matter what your evaluation.

I am glad on her behalf that her training included the following, which will help her live with, learn from, and not be daunted by her reviews: To quote the interview:

Madame Legat was getting me ready for a tough profession. You have to have incredible mental strength, resolve and a strong personality to survive all the drama and emotional rollercoaster of a career as a ballet dancer.

She had a wealth of sayings and proverbs, but because of her lack of English, they would be conveyed oddly. For example, she would pretend to bite something until some people eventually figured out that she was talking about the need for a thick skin or that they needed to bite the bullet.

Ultimately, Madame Legat taught me that ballet is about the mind.




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