Tamara Rojo is Artistic Director and Lead Principal Dancer at English National Ballet. Tamara gained international recognition for her outstanding technique, inspired interpretations, captivating acting skills, and brilliant artistry in a wide spectrum of classical and contemporary roles and we are thrilled that she is answering your questions!
What do you think of online dance classes? I take part in one which includes ballet, jazz and acro!
loyal_lobster, Hammond Junior School
I think they are wonderful! They are a fantastic way to explore different types of dance and it’s a lovely thing to be able to do your favourite hobbies from your home. This has been especially important over the last few months while we have all spent a lot of time in our houses. I have been broadcasting ballet classes from my kitchen during lockdown and it’s so nice to know that people are enjoying taking part and that there are people from all over the world joining in. Dance is an amazing thing, keep enjoying your classes and trying new and different types of dance!
How has the pandemic changed the way you work and train your dancers? How different is your life in the performing arts compared to now?
intrepid_hurricane, Lyons Hall Primary School
The performing arts are looking very different to normal at the moment. At English National Ballet our dancers, after staying at home for three months, are about to come back together to train and rehearse, but that will be quite different to how we would usually work together. We normally do class every morning with lots of dancers in the same dance studio and rehearsals can be anything from two to 50 people in a dance studio. Now we are grouping our dancers in small numbers, almost like a form group at school, so they will only rehearse and train in the same small groups for now.
It is going to take a few months for the dancers to get up to their usual fitness and be back in full swing in order for us to do performances again but we are hoping to get back on stage as soon as we can safely return to theatres, as we love what we do and we miss it terribly.
We normally do class every morning with lots of dancers in the same dance studio and rehearsals can be anything from two to 50 people in a dance studio. Now we are grouping our dancers in small numbers, almost like a form group at school.Tamara Rojo
Which do you enjoy doing most – directing, or dancing?
amusing_bee, Highdown School
Directing and dancing are very different professions, but both are inspired by my love and passion of dance. Being a dancer is a profession that requires a lot of personal dedication and focus. Being a director is all about enabling others to reach their aspirations and dreams. From this point of view directing brings a lot more joy and satisfaction, but I would have never been able to be an Artistic Director if I had not been a dancer first.
How do you create really intricate ideas for your dances?
loyal_peach, Evelyn Street Primary School
Ideas come from many different places. Sometimes this can be from a conversation with other artists, or from visiting an exhibition. Other times it can be from studying the history of our art form and what previous generations did before. I also love going to the theatre and watching films movies to see what other artists are doing. Literally everything can be an inspiration if you look at what the artists were trying to convey and you think about how you would have done it or would like to do it if you have the opportunity.
When did you direct your first dance?
honest_nation, Whyteleafe School
As an Artistic Director I don’t usually create the work that the company performs. Part of my role is that I’m in charge of finding choreographers (people who create dances) and asking them to make or recreate a ballet for English National Ballet.
But I was actually in the process of choreographing my first full-length ballet when we went into lockdown in March. It is a ballet called Raymonda and in my version I wanted the lead character to be a young woman who wants to become a nurse, and I took inspiration from the incredible Florence Nightingale. We are still hoping to create this ballet soon, as it is a very important time to thank nurses and celebrate what they do.
Thank you so much to Tamara for her incredibly interesting answers!
What kind of arts would you like to see more of when it is safe to do so? Add your comments below!