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|Alma mater||Rey Juan Carlos University|
|Title||Artistic director, English National Ballet|
Tamara Rojo CBE (born 17 May 1974) is a Spanish ballet dancer. She is English National Ballet's artistic director and a lead principal dancer with the company. She was previously a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet.
Early life and training
Rojo was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to Spanish parents who returned with her to Spain when she was 4 months old. At the age of 5 she began dance classes in Madrid and became a full-time student age 11 at Madrid's Royal Professional Conservatory of Dance, Mariemma studying with Víctor Ullate and Karemia Moreno.
Though her parents were pleased at her developing balletic talent, they insisted Rojo also complete an academic education through evening classes she could attend after studio rehearsals. Having graduated from the Conservatory at 16, she completed her secondary studies over the next two years. She went on to complete further degrees including a bachelor of dance, master of scenic arts and a PhD in performing arts, becoming DA magna cum laude in 2016 from King Juan Carlos University.
Rojo began her professional career in 1991 with the Ballet de la Comunidad de Madrid, under the direction of Víctor Ullate. In 1994, she won Gold Medal at the Paris International Dance competition, together with a Special Jury Award from a panel including Natalia Makarova, Galina Samsova and Vladimir Vasiliev, three outstanding figures in the ballet world at that time.
Early career in Britain
In 1996 Galina Samsova, artistic director of Scottish Ballet, invited Rojo to join the company. There she performed principal roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, La Sylphide and Cranko's Romeo and Juliet. Derek Deane, then English National Ballet artistic director, asked her to join ENB the following year. For her he created the roles of Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet" and Clara in "The Nutcracker" for which The Times named Rojo "Dance Revelation of the Year" in 1997. She also danced principal roles in Swan Lake, Paquita, Coppelia and Glen Tetley's The Sphinx.
Rojo approached Royal Ballet director Anthony Dowell in 2000 with a view to joining the company, and was invited to become a principal dancer when a contract became available later in the year. Over the next 12 years, she performed major roles in most of the company's repertoire including ballets choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan and Frederick Ashton, Dowell's Swan Lake, Makarova's La Bayadere, Rudolph Nureyev's Don Quixote, and Peter Wright 's The Nutcracker. She danced in the world premiere of Snow White, created for her by choreographer Ricardo Cué. The title role in Isadora was recreated for her by MacMillan's widow, the artist and set designer Deborah MacMillan, custodian of the late choreographer's ballets.
In 2000, Rojo was asked at short notice to replace the injured Royal Ballet principal Darcey Bussell in the title role in Giselle. Ignoring her own sprained ankle, Rojo learned the role in a fortnight and went on to receive rave reviews. In 2002, while dancing Clara in Nutcracker, Rojo began to tremble on stage. Sent to a private hospital after the performance, she learned her appendix had burst and was told to take six weeks off. However, she resumed dancing dancing after only two, relapsed and returned to hospital. Rojo admitted some years later it was "completely wrong [to continue dancing while injured or ill] and I do not feel that anyone should do this. It really is not worth it."
In 2003, while preparing for the Royal Ballet's Australian tour, Rojo suffered an infected bunion so serious that her foot swelled to the size of a tennis ball. Doctors recommended surgery on her foot, a potentially career-ending operation. Months later, after countless hours of rehabilitation, she resumed dancing and said the injury changed her perspective on life, her body and dance. She felt that she valued each and every day more and learned that nothing in life should be taken for granted.
After this experience, she and her father developed a device to stretch pointe shoes in order to reduce pressure on bunions, and formed a company in 2017 to market it.
English National Ballet
Under her direction the English National Ballet, for the first time in history, was invited to dance from 21 to 25 June 2016 at the Paris Opera Palais Garnier, the most famous ballets in its repertoire: Marius Petipa and Konstantin Sergeyev's version of Le Corsaire in a revival by Anna-Marie Holmes.
In 2014, she presented a documentary entitled Good Swan, Bad Swan: Dancing Swan Lake for the BBC and she followed up with Giselle: Belle of the Ballet in 2017, which included the history of the both the original production and the new ballet created for the ENB by Akram Khan. She had commissioned Khan to re-imagine the story: Khan went on to win the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2017 for Best Classical Choreography and Alina Cojocaru won Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) as Giselle, and the company as a whole won an Olivier Award for Outstanding achievement in dance.
The following is a list of repertoire of Rojo's performance in various ballet companies.
|Les Sylphides||Michel Fokine||B.Com.Madrid, Royal Ballet|
|Clara (The Nutcracker)||Wayne Eagling||English National Ballet|
|Ondine (Ondine)||Frederick Ashton||Royal Ballet|
|Theme and Variations||George Balanchine||B.Com.Madrid-Ullate, Royal Ballet|
|Allegro Brillante||George Balanchine||B.Com.Madrid-Ullate|
|Grossa Fuga||Hans Van Manen||B.Com.Madrid-Ullate|
|In the Future||Glen Tetley||B.Com.Madrid-Ullate|
|Three Cornered Hat||Léonide/Massine||Bal.Opera de Nice|
|Le Beau Danube||Léonide Massine||Bal.Opera de Nice|
|Rite of Spring||Kenneth MacMillan||English National Ballet, Royal Ballet|
|Clara (The Nutcracker)||Derek Deane||English National Ballet|
|Paquita||Marius Petipa||English National Ballet|
|Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)||Derek Deane||English National Ballet|
|Cinderella (Cinderella)||Ben Stevenson||English National Ballet|
|Three Preludes||Hans Van Manen||English National Ballet|
|Nascita di Orfeo||Luca Veggetti||E. P. Arena de Verona|
|Odette/Odile (Swan Lake)||Deane / Makarova / M.Mason / Nureyev||Kirov Ballet|
|Blancanieves||Ricardo Cué||Teatro Arriaga|
|Odette/Odile (Swan Lake)||Marius Petipa / Lev Ivanov||English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet|
|Consolations & Liebestraum||Christopher Bruce||ROH2|
|Tatiana (Onegin)||John Cranko||Royal Ballet|
|Cinderella (Cinderella)||Frederic Ashton||Royal Ballet|
|Marguerite (Marguerite and Armand)||Frederick Ashton||Royal Ballet|
|Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)||Kenneth MacMillan||Royal Ballet|
|Isadora||Kenneth MacMillan||Royal Ballet|
|Mary Vetsera (Mayerling)||Kenneth MacMillan||Royal Ballet|
|Manon (Manon)||Kenneth MacMillan||Royal Ballet|
|Song of the Earth||Kenneth MacMillan||Royal Ballet|
|Requiem||Kenneth MacMillan||Royal Ballet|
|Winter Dreams||Kenneth MacMillan||Royal Ballet|
|My Brother, My Sisters||Kenneth MacMillan||Royal Ballet|
|Symphony in C||George Balanchine||Royal Ballet|
|Jewels||George Balanchine||Royal Ballet|
|Dances at a Gathering||Jerome Robbins||Royal Ballet|
|Rushes||Wayne McGregor||Royal Ballet|
|Chroma||Wayne McGregor||Royal Ballet|
|Kitri (Don Quixote)||Vladimir Vasiliev||Tokyo Ballet|
|Sugar Plum Fairy (Nutcracker)||Peter Wright||Royal Ballet|
|Nikiya (La Bayadere)||Natalia Makarova||Royal Ballet|
|Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)||John Cranko||Scottish Ballet|
|La Sylphide||Bournonville/Sorella Englund / J.Covalli / J.Perrot||Scottish Ballet, Royal Ballet|
|Giselle (Giselle)||Petipa||Royal Ballet, Ullate, B.N.Cuba|
|Kitri (Don Quixote)||M. Petipa / R. Nureyev||Royal Ballet, Ballet alla Scala|
|Aurora (The Sleeping Beauty)||M. Petipa / Wright||Birmingham Royal Ballet|
|Medora (Le Corsaire)||A-M Holmes after M. Petipa and Sergeyev||English National Ballet|
|Frida Kahlo (Broken Wings)||Annabelle Lopez Ochoa||English National Ballet|
|Dust||Akram Khan||English National Ballet|
- 2016 Commander of the Order of the British Empire CBE for services to ballet.
- 2013 Spanish-British Relationships of II Fundación Banco Santander Prize.
- 2012 The Gold Medal for Fine Arts 2012 of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
- 2011 Encomienda de número de Isabel la Católica.
- 2010 Laurence Olivier "Best New Dance Production" award for her collaboration with choreographer Kim Brandstrup in "Goldberg: The Brandstrup-Rojo Project."
- 2008 Prix Benois de la Danse
- 2008 Comunidad de Madrid's International Medal of the Arts
- 2007 City of Madrid's Interpretation Award
- 2005 Premio Principe de Asturias a las Artes
- 2004 Premio Positano "Leonid Massine"
- 2002 Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes - Consejo de Ministros del Reino de España.
- 2002 Gold Medal of Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos
- 2002 London's Critic's Circle Dance Awards
- 2001 Sherringtons Awards Best Female Dancer of the Year
- 2000 Barclays Theatre Awards: Outstanding Achievement in Dance
- 1996 First prize of Italian Critics as Best Dancer of the Year
- 1994 Grand Prix Femme et Medaille Vermeille de la Ville de Paris (à l'unanimité) - Concour International de Danse de Paris
- "Tamara Rojo". Front Row. 23 April 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
- "Tamara Rojo, Director Of The English National Ballet, Received Doctorate 'Cum Laude'". Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
- "Tamara Rojo: interview". Time Out. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
- "The Inventory: Tamara Rojo". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
- "Tamara Rojo in "Arrayan Daraxa" (1994)". Pointe Magazine. 30 November 2001.
- "Tamara Rojo, ENB Principal (1998)". ballet.co.uk archive. Archived from the original on 31 August 2005.
- Parry, Jann (8 October 2000). "Slaves to the rhythm". The Guardian.
- Wainwright, Steven P.; Williams, Clare; Turner, Bryan S. (24 July 2016). "Fractured identities: injury and the balletic body" (PDF). Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine. 9 (1): 49–66. doi:10.1177/1363459305048097. PMID 15576424.
- Fox, By Sue. "Best of Times, Worst of Times: Tamara Rojo". The Times.
- "Home". Tamara Rojo - Pointeshoe Anti Bunion Stretcher.
- Brown, Mark (12 April 2012). "Tamara Rojo to be artistic director of English National Ballet". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
- "English National Ballet at Palais Garnier". Opéra national de Paris.
- "Good Swan, Bad Swan". IMDB.
- "Giselle: Belle of the Ballet". IMDB.
- "Two prizes for Akram Khan's Giselle and musical theatre in the 2017 National Dance Awards". Seeing Dance. 19 February 2018.
- "Olivier Awards 2017: Winners in full". BBC News. 10 April 2017.
- Dex, Robert (28 January 2020). "Tamara Rojo to choreograph Florence Nightingale-inspired first production with English National Ballet". Evening Standard.
- "No. 61450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2015. p. N26.
- "Olivier Awards 2010". Official London Theatre.
- Tyzack, Anna (25 October 2012). "My perfect weekend: Tamara Rojo, artistic director and principal dancer, English National Ballet".
- "Tamara Rojo on English National Ballet's new First World War show". 18 March 2014.
- Official website
- Artistic Director of English National Ballet
- Royal Ballet Biography, Royal Opera House, London
- IMDB Profile
- Ballet interview, May 1998
- Cupcakes & Conversation with Tamara Rojo. Ballet News. 31 July 2009.
- The Woman Who Has Transformed English National Ballet New York Times interview 18 November 2016.