The Spanish dancer Tamara Rojo (Montreal, 47 years old), artistic director of the English National Ballet in London (ENB) for ten years, has been appointed this Tuesday director of the San Francisco Ballet (SFB), in California, the oldest company in the US The new name does not establish a fixed duration of the contract and is considered, in principle, indefinite. Rojo will replace at the end of this season in 2022 (around June) the current director, the Danish Helgi Tomasson (Vetsman Islands, Iceland, 79 years old), who has held the position for the last 37 years, one of the longest stadiums in managerial positions of these characteristics in the field of international contemporary ballet.
Rojo has been appointed by regulation of the bureau of benefactors and administrators of the SFB, and will be the first woman to lead the San Francisco Ballet, and the first Spanish to assume the direction of a first-rate ballet in the United States.
The SFB, with its prestigious partner school, is the second or third company in the United States, only ahead, and in budget parity, the American Ballet Theater and the New York City Ballet. Behind are the Washington Ballet and the Boston Ballet. At a safe distance are other groups such as the Miami City Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet, all with schools and professionalization classrooms.
Tamara Rojo, trained in Madrid and winner together with Maya Plisetskaya of the 2005 Prince of Asturias Award and among others of the Positano (2004) and Benois (2008) awards, has already arrived at the ENB with a solid prestige as prima ballerina, since she came from the staff and the highest star poster at the Royal Ballet in London, where he finished consolidating his profile as a star of academic ballet. With no managerial experience but with the recognized courage that precedes her, she became a famous director due to her tenacity and discipline who restored the brilliance of yesteryear to the ENB and a role very different from that of its immediate competitor in Covent Garden. At the same time, she continued with her career as a dancer and, more recently, as a choreographer, accumulating a vision of the most creative direction, which led her to take risks with new works in which she combines the traditional repertoire with that of more creative choreographers. current events, and especially promoting the role of women choreographers, an issue in which she has been particularly committed. Rojo emphasized the role of the associated school as a quarry for the functionality of the professional team and its enrichment.
California and New York specialists consulted by this newspaper estimate that this last argument may have been decisive at the time of the election. The other applicants for the position and the final shortlist of candidates have not been revealed, but they all agree on the high level of the candidacies. Rojo still has pending in this 2022 several premieres announced in the ENB, including a new Raymonda (UK’s first comprehensive version of this ballet conceived by herself), a monographic program dedicated to William Forsythe and a new creation by Akram Khan.
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Rojo’s first statements give an idea of her intentions, largely in follow-up to her strategy at the ENB: “I am excited to join San Francisco Ballet to contribute to the innovative spirit of the company and this community as we re-evaluate how it can and should be the future of ballet ”. He has specified: “My interest is to reach the widest possible audience.” For his part, Tomasson said: “I look forward to Rojo’s innovative ideas and vision for the future that he will bring to SFB and I am fully confident that the company will continue to prosper under his leadership.”
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