Tamara Rojo (born 17 May 1974) is a Spanish ballet dancer. She is the artistic director of the English National Ballet, as well as a lead principal dancer. She was previously a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, and continues to perform with the company as a guest artist.
Rojo was born in Montreal, Canada, to Spanish parents who moved back to Spain when she was four months old.
Rojo started taking local dance classes at the age of 5 in Spain. By the time she reached age 11, Rojo became a full-time student at the Madrid Royal Conservatory of Dance, studying under Victor Ullate and Karemia Moreno. Though her parents were thrilled at her talent, they insisted that Rojo also complete an academic education. Therefore, after studio rehearsals every day, Rojo would attend evening classes. When Rojo was 16, she graduated from the Conservatory and had only two more years until her completion of regular school studies.
Rojo began her professional career as a dancer with the Ballet de la Comunidad de Madrid, under the direction of Victor Ullate. In 1994, she became notable after winning the Gold Medal at the Paris International Dance competition and a Special Jury Award given by Natalia Makarova, Vladimir Vassiliev, and Galina Samsova, a judging panel consisting of some of the most outstanding figures of the ballet world.
In 1996, Rojo left Spain upon accepting an invitation by Galina Samsova to join the Scottish National Ballet. While working with the Scottish National Ballet, she performed the principal roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, and Cranko’ s Romeo and Juliet. Leaving Scottish National Ballet in 1997, she joined the English National Ballet. She started dancing a variety of principal roles such as Swan Lake, Paquita, Coppelia, Glen Tetley’s The Sphinx and Voluntaries, and Michael Corder’s Cinderella. Amazed by her talents, Artistic Director Derek Deane of the English National Ballet created the roles of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Clara in The Nutcracker for her. Rojo was named “Dance Revelation of the Year” in 1997 after her performance as Clara, breaking attendance records at the London Coliseum.
After receiving praise from both critics and audience, Rojo was officially invited to become a principal dancer of the Royal Ballet in 2000. She has been working with the company extensively ever since. After joining The Royal Ballet, she toke on principal roles in Dowell’s Swan Lake, Makarova’s The Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadere, Mason´s The Sleeping Beauty, Nureyev´s Don Quixote and Wright´s The Nutcracker. She has performed many roles in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's works, recreated for her by Deborah MacMillan, including the title roles in Isadora, Romeo and Juliet, Manon, Mary Vetsera in Mayerling, The Woman in Song of the Earth, The Chosen One in Rite of Spring, Masha & Olga in Winter Dreams, Requiem, My Brother My Sisters, and Danses Concertantes. In addition, her repertoire includes Cinderella, Ondine, Marguerite and Armand, Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan, Homage to the Queen and A Wedding Bouquet. She danced in the world premiere of Snow White created for her by choreographer Richardo Cue.
In 2000 Rojo approached Royal Ballet director Anthony Dowell, having researched and decided that this company was one she would flourish with. "I'd have taken a corps de ballet contract, anything, but there wasn't one," she told Jann Parry, who was at that time the Observer's dance critic. Later that year, though, a principal contract came up and Rojo was recommended. Then later that year Rojo was asked to replace an injured Darcey Bussell in Giselle. Ignoring her own sprained ankle and the short notice, she learned the role in two weeks and went on to receive rave reviews In 2002, while dancing as Clara in the Nutcracker, Rojo started shaking on stage. After the show, she was sent to a private hospital where they determined that her appendix had burst and she stayed there to heal for 6 weeks. However, two weeks later she was back dancing and she was forced to go to a hospital again. Rojo admitted that 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 was once again plagued with another setback when she suffered an infected bunion that became so bad that her foot swelled to the size of a tennis ball. Doctors determined that Rojo needed to have it drained and to have surgery on her foot – a potentially career-ending operation. Nevertheless she knew that this operation was a necessary step to take if she were ever to walk, let alone dance, again. A mere twenty-four hours after her operation, an Ambassador from Spain called to inform her that she had been honoured with an award and needed to be in Cadiz the next week. The King of Spain presented her with the Royal Gold Medal of Fine Arts, a prestigious honour that few can say they have achieved. Months later, and after countless hours of rehabilitation, she returned to dancing and said that 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.
In April 2012 it was announced that Rojo would become the artistic director of English National Ballet, replacing Wayne Eagling, whose departure from the role had been announced in February.
The following is a list of repertoire of Tamara Rojo's performance in various ballet company.2013 Spanish-British Relationships of II Fundacion Banco Santander Prize.
2012 The Gold Medal for Fine Arts 2012 of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
2011 Encomienda de numero de Isabel la Catolica.
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 Merito en las Bellas Artes - Consejo de Ministros del Reino de Espana.
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 Price of Italian Critics as Best Dancer of the Year
1994 Grand Prix Femme et Medaille Vermeille de la Ville de Paris (a l'unanimite) - Concour International de Danse de Paris