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Lawrence Lambert was an international trainee at Vaganova Ballet Academy for four years, graduating in 2016. He is about to embark on his first season with the Yacobson Ballet Company.
If you are interested in joining VBA’s international trainee program and have questions, Lawrence will be happy to help you. You can send him a message on Instagram or get in touch via Tumblr.
Where are you from?
When did you start dancing?
I started with tap and jazz at the age of ten and I started ballet and contemporary at the age of fifteen (year eleven at school).
When and why did you decide to become a professional dancer?
I always knew I wanted to do something that was performance-based, before I started to dance I wanted to be a singer and when I was doing tap and jazz, I wanted to be on broadway. When I started ballet and discovered the Russian dancers on youtube, I knew I wanted to be a ballet dancer.
What’s your favourite ballet and why?
My favourite ballet is La lle mal gardee! It’s my favourite because its so playful and child-like, which I think really resinates with my personality.
Who’s your favourite dancer and why?
It changes all the time. I like different aspects of different dancers. But if I had to pick I would say Viktoria Tereshkina.
What’s your favourite role / a role you’d love to dance and why?
Alain (the dim-witted son of Thomas) from La lle mal gardee. It just looks like a lot of fun to play. He’s the character that makes everyone laugh and smile.
Name 3 songs you love and listen to on repeat.
I’m not a real music listener. I like to listen to podcasts and youtube videos. The only time I listen to music is in the gym.
Name a book you love and would recommend to everyone.
I just finished reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. It the one that comes to mind because it has such a nice message at the end, about inner power and each and every persons ability to control the destiny of their life through their everyday choices, actions and thoughts.
What advice would you give to a child who’s aspiring to be a pro ballet dancer?
Dance is really, really hard work, and isn’t always going to be fun, you’re not always going to want to spring out of bed in the morning, but you’re going to have to. The only person who truly cares about your success and wellbeing is you, so have your own back, learn about nutrition and how to take care of yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other people, just focus on you.
I know that you suffered an injury and had to undergo surgery. What advice would you give a dance student going through a similar ordeal?
Just rest! As hard as it is to stop everything when you’re injured, it’s really the best thing for you. Dance is always going to be there. Everyone heals at a different rate, if it takes a year and a half, then that’s how long it takes. Don’t let teachers push you if it hurts even a little bit. Find something else to do with your time, something else you like that distracts you. Whether that’s swimming or yoga or learning about something like nutrition or learning a language even starting a blog if that interests you.
How did you get into VBA? What was your audition like?
I sent photos and then they asked me for a video. They always audition students again when they get there if the teacher hasn’t seen them. The teacher has to accept you for you to study in their class.
What’s the toughest thing about studying at VBA?
To start with it was the language. Having to learn a whole new language so that you can go to school and understand your teachers is not a small task.
Are Russian ballet teachers as scary as the legends paint them?
Some yes, some no.
Do you have a favourite teacher (could you say a few words about them)?
Yes, but I don’t remember how to spell her name [Elena Sherstneva]. She left with the range in directorship, she was my character teacher for the first year and a half.
What’s your proudest / happiest VBA moment?
I guess getting my diploma.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to study at VBA?
You don’t know what they’re looking for. Normally it goes off of their personal choice. I’ve seen them reject some really good girls. Just try, even if you think you won’t make it, if you never send them anything, they’ll never see you.
What’s next for you?
Well I’m starting with the Yacobson Ballet on the 15th of September, so lets see how that goes. Now that my health is good I want to get back into making youtube videos.
Photos by Rob Eyre.