At Monday’s Royal Ballet in Rehearsal event, Christopher Saunders coached Marcelino Sambé, Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Mayara Magri in the pas de trois from Act I of Swan Lake. Performed by three dance students for Prince Siegfried, the choreography is simple but repetitive and includes a lot of (what Saunders describes as “puffy”) jumps.
Saunders focused on the dancers’ technique to make the trio as neat and classically correct as possible. He insisted that dancers always to go through 1st position with the arms on the way to other positions, that arms don’t cross the centre line of the body and that feet are not ‘winged’ (a distorted ankle line that is favoured in some ballet styles). Saunders also worked with Sambé on his partnering, insisting that it’s not necessary to ‘paddle’ (ie. help the ballerina to spin) during double pirouettes: “She can easily do a double on her own so you’re just there to catch her if she goes off balance.”