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In this ideaXme interview Tamara talks of her career, bravery and resilience. Moreover, she provides details on upcoming ENB performances including Akram Khan’s Creature and the ENB 70th Anniversary Gala https://www.ballet.org.uk. She speaks about the pioneering new headquarters of the ENB where this interview is filmed. Then of her numerous awards and deep connections that she has formed to move both her career and life forward.
Her rise to the top of the ballet world began with her winning a Gold Medal at the Paris International Dance Competition and a Special Jury Award. The judging panel was led by Natalia Makarova, Vladimir Vasiliev and Galina Samsova, who asked her to join Scottish Ballet.
Tamara has danced a wide variety of principal roles. Derek Deane created the roles of Juliet (Romeo & Juliet) and Clara (The Nutcracker) for her. Her performances as Clara broke all box office records at the London Coliseum and The Times named her “Dance Revelation of the Year.”
Further awards include the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production; Spain’s three highest Honours, The Prince of Asturias Award, the Gold Medal of Fine Arts and Encomienda de Número de Isabel la Católica; the Benois de la Danse Award; Critics’ Circle National Dance Award; Barclay’s Outstanding Achievement in Dance Award; Positano Dance Award; Leonide Massine Premio al Valore; the Italian Critic’s Award; and from the City of Madrid, both the International Medal of the Arts and the Interpretation Award.
Transcript excerpt of interview with Tamara Rojo in full here: www.radioideaxme.com.
Andrea Macdonald Founder ideaXme [00:00:01] Who are you?
Tamara Rojo, Lead Principal Dancer and Artistic Director, English National Ballet [00:00:03] I am Tamara Rojo I am a ballerina and I am the Artistic Director of English National Ballet.
Andrea Macdonald Founder ideaXme [00:00:09] How did you find dance?
Tamara Rojo, Lead Principal Dancer and Artistic Director, English National Ballet [00:00:12] I found dance by accident. My mother was a working mother and one day she arrived late to pick me up. It was very wet day and one of the teachers of the school said to me to wait inside the gym because you will be warmer. And they were doing a ballet class. I had never seen ballet before and I fell completely in love with it.
Andrea Macdonald Founder ideaXme [00:00:38] Your first breakthrough was a gold medal. Can you tell us about that?
Tamara Rojo, Lead Principal Dancer and Artistic Director, English National Ballet [00:00:45] Again at the time it was a bit of a surprise. The ballet scene in Spain was very limited. So, we were not exposed to what was happening internationally. There was a competition in Paris and my director wanted somebody to represent the company but there were only two weeks left before the competition and I was the only one who raised their hand. I’m not sure why. I think more curiosity than anything. I wanted to know who I was in the wider world. I wanted to know where my level was because it was very difficult to know. I was so isolated. So, almost without preparation I went. I never expected to win. I just wanted to see where I sat. So, it was a wonderful surprise because winning that competition opened the world of ballet for me.
Andrea Macdonald Founder ideaXme [00:01:41] And you were approached by the Scottish National Ballet as a result.
Tamara Rojo, Lead Principal Dancer and Artistic Director, English National Ballet [00:01:46] Galina Samsova was the director of the Scottish Ballet at the time and she was in the jury so she was one of the members of the jury that gave me the gold medal. And she offered me a contract as Principal Ballerina. I was only 19. And up until that point I had never done classical ballet. So, I did my first Swan Lake. My first Nutcracker. My Sylphide. My first Romeo and Juliet at the Scottish Ballet. And I am very grateful to Galina. She was incredibly generous and patient and to all the team there because they taught me how to be a ballerina.
Andrea Macdonald Founder ideaXme [00:02:25] You have a reputation for being an incredibly brave and resilient dancer.
www.radioideaxme.com for article and transcript from 21/08/19.
Thank you to Farooq Chaudhry, OBE, co-founder of The Akram Khan Company who introduced ideaXme to Tamara Rojo and helped make this interview possible!
ideaXme is a global podcast, ambassador and mentor programme. Mission: Move the human story forward!™ ideaXme Ltd. This interview is ideaXme’s first collaboration with MetFilm School. Credits here www.radioideaxme.com. Photograph: Credit Karolina Kuras.