Caspar Lench, winner of the 2023 LBC Dame Ninette Award and now an Aud Jebsen Young Dancer at The Royal Ballet, talked to Chrisopher Marney about his training, about joining the company and about his aspirations. 

Caspar started to dancing aged four. He was quite relaxed about ballet but his mother spurred him on to audition for The Royal Ballet School aged 11. From the start he felt that his body was not naturally ‘made’ for ballet and so  he concentrated on artistry and musicality as well as his technique, and this led to many opportunities to perform. 

Christopher asked about Takademe which had received considerable critical acclaim, Caspar explained that he was already rehearsing a solo by Maurice Béjart, in preparation for the Lynn Seymour Competition. Unfortunately, he picked up an injury a couple of weeks before the competition and started to panic. He had, however, been studying the work of Alvin Ailey and discovered Takademe, a clearly challenging piece full of quick and intricate movement. Initially he had presented it as something of a humorous piece but later he was coached by a dancer from the Alvin Ailey company who had performed it many times and came to better understand its depth and so it became much more personal to him;

His invitation to join the company came just before Christmas when he turned up dressed as an elf, only to be called out of class to meet Kevin O’Hare ! He borrowed a jacket and was invited to join the company. 

Becoming the newest member of the RB was not easy – he was just a small fish in a big pond - but his experience of working with the company in a number of productions while still a student helped considerably. For some time he missed the feedback which teachers at school would give. His first ‘proper’ day came when rehearsals for The Cellist and Don Quixote started in earnest. That was somewhat overwhelming; to catch up he spent many nights learning by watching videos. 

Looking forward, Caspar said he would be appearing in Different Drummer and Requiem, providing cover in the latter. Later would come Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale and an Ashton Triple Bill including Rhapsody which was one of his favourite ballets.

Asked about future dream roles, Caspar said that Hans-Peter in The Nutcracker would bring him full circle, having danced the role at the RBS and that he would love to dance Des Grieux,  Romeo and, Siegfried. For now he is inspired by his colleagues and content  just to watch and learn. 

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