Why we're watching… Liam Scarlett

The 26-year-old former dancer on pain, theatre and becoming a choreographer

Dance, Liam, dance! Easy there. The Ipswich-born boy is giving up dance – now he choreographs. He's been at the Royal Ballet for 16 years, but his last appearance on stage is in the current run of Swan Lake.

Gotcha. He's not going far, though. Scarlett's been made the first ever artist in residence of the Royal Ballet.

Is he stopping because his feet hurt? Um, no. But… "I don't think anyone can understand the amount of self-discipline you have to put yourself through as a dancer," he says. "The amount of strain, both mentally and physically, is incredible, but I do it because I have a passion for it. It's really a case of survival of the fittest."

So why leave the stage? "Moving from dance to choreography is solely based on the fact that there's not enough hours in the day. It was a transition that I always knew I'd have to make and I knew it would be a hard one, so I just thought now was the time." Royal Ballet principal Ricardo Cervera says Scarlett has "huge potential to be one of the best choreographers alive".

He says: "I can't remember a time when I wasn't dancing or in love with the theatre."

We say: He's transforming the stage. Watch closely.

Viscera/Infra/Fools Paradise – a triple bill of modern ballets – is on at the Royal Opera House now. For more information, go to roh.org.uk


Eva Wiseman

The GuardianTramp

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