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New director for English National Ballet

Posted on April 13, 2012

rojo square

rojo-squareEnglish National Ballet has announced Tamara Rojo as its new artistic director. Rojo, currently a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, will take over in September 2012 for the start of English National Ballet’s new season.

Rojo danced with ENB early in her career, joining in 1997 and promoted to principal within a year. She said: “I have very fond memories of my times as a dancer with English National Ballet and nothing could make me prouder than to return to this internationally respected company, with its wonderful dancers and invaluable legacy in bringing dance to the nation. I am particularly excited about working with young British choreographers, building strong relationships with our audiences in the regions, and exploring opportunities across other art forms.”

Rojo has long shown interest in directing and arts management, taking part in DanceEast’s 2010 Rural Retreat for future leaders, shadowing Karen Kain at the National Ballet of Canada and sitting on UK arts boards including Arts Council East, Dance UK, the ICA and the Anglo-Spanish Society. As director of ENB, she plans to continue dancing with the company.

Welcoming Rojo, ENB chairman John Talbot said: “We look forward to the continuing success of the company which has thrived under Wayne Eagling’s artistic direction over the last seven years. Tamara will use her worldwide reputation and creative vision to form inspiring collaborations throughout the UK and the world. She is looking forward to developing, mentoring and showcasing young talent within the company, and building the profiles of those who are already performing at the highest level.” The company will be announcing plans for 2013, under Rojo’s leadership, later this year.

There had been widespread rumours of Rojo’s appointment since Wayne Eagling stepped down as director in late February. As letters to the Editor of Dancing Times show, Eagling’s resignation has proved controversial. Dance writers have called Rojo’s appointment “the worst-kept secret in London”.

The news was released under embargo yesterday, but quickly leaked through social media. The embargo had been broken before the news was officially announced to the company.

Picture: Tamara Rojo. Photograph: Johan Persson

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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