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Tamara Rojo speaks her mind


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There's a good deal of very positive comment about this interview circulating on Twitter this morning.  Much of it concerns its sheer extent and depth, and it is an excellent example of something that I'm increasingly struck by whilst trawling for a morning's Links - ie that it is increasingly the case that it is to online sites, whether blogs or magazine-formats like DanceTabs, that one must go for depth of comment and space to develop an argument.

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I find Tamara hugely impressive as a leader - I hope the British honours system picks her up at some point in the way the Spanish one has.  I guess she's already something of a grande dame so may as well make it official!

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I remain slightly amazed that Joan Collins and, even more surprisingly, Angelina Jolie have been made dames before Lynn Seymour and Deborah Bull. I am sure that the honour will come to Darcey in time.

 

I agree about both Tamara and Wayne though. I have speculated before that I am a bit disappointed David Bintley hasn't been knighted. It was pointed out to me that he may have turned it down. In that case may be Desmond Kelly should/could have been considered.

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Wayne Eagling, a brilliant director of ENB, hasn't received an honour.  Shouldn't he be first in line when the gongs are handed out?

 

I was thinking last night whilst watching a documentary with Wayne Eagling and dancers from ENB, how well they were doing with him as Director and how he left ENB in a very healthy state for Tamara Rojo to take over, he also did some interesting choreography too, so I agree with MAB.

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Wayne Eagling, a brilliant director of ENB, hasn't received an honour.  Shouldn't he be first in line when the gongs are handed out?

'First in line' may well be how the arcane honours system works in reality...  For me though Tamara is more visibly in tune with the modern world.  She has taken on cuts and confronted them with some sound strategies (as in the article - shave a week off national tours to call the bluff on a real terms cut, and managed to squeeze profit from the international tours to cross-fund new production).  Wayne Eagling resigned in the face of those cuts. Tamara has also started to achieve and I suspect will continue to progress, raising the profile of the company and reaching a wider public. That to be fair is because she is very media savvy and media friendly and comes across as driven and articulate on her radio and TV appearances. My immediate memory of WE on screen is of him bullying Daria Klimentova and throwing strops on that ENB three part fly on the wall documentary.  I'm just saying what I see as a member of the public with an interest in ballet as opposed to as a ballet aficionado who can judge their artistic contributions.  

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. My immediate memory of WE on screen is of him bullying Daria Klimentova and throwing strops on that ENB three part fly on the wall documentary.  

 

Is there a possibility that you are confusing Wayne Eagling and Derek Deane, Quintus?

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Well, Eagling wasn't shown in a very good light when he was still choreographing Nutcracker on the day of its opening and didn't appear to care about the dancers who had to go on stage that evening. Deane was the one who was openly unpleasant to Klimentova. 

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'First in line' may well be how the arcane honours system works in reality...  For me though Tamara is more visibly in tune with the modern world.  She has taken on cuts and confronted them with some sound strategies (as in the article - shave a week off national tours to call the bluff on a real terms cut, and managed to squeeze profit from the international tours to cross-fund new production). 

 

"In tune with the modern world".  Now what might that mean for an art form that can only thrive by holding on to the traditions of the past? 

 

Shaving a week off national tours?  I think you'll find it is more than a week.  This is a company with a strong fan following outside of London and I suspect many people will be bitterly disappointed to discover their local venues will no longer be hosting a much loved company.  I myself saw the company for the first time outside of London, it was back in the days of Markova when a completely different ethic prevailed.

 

Wayne Eagling resigned in the face of those cuts. 

 

Did he?  As far as I'm aware no reason was given as to why he left.

 

Tamara has also started to achieve and I suspect will continue to progress, raising the profile of the company and reaching a wider public. 

 

But not in the UK it would appear.

 

That to be fair is because she is very media savvy and media friendly and comes across as driven and articulate on her radio and TV appearances. 

 

All well and good but hardly a first requirement when it comes to running a ballet company.

 

My immediate memory of WE on screen is of him bullying Daria Klimentova and throwing strops on that ENB three part fly on the wall documentary.  I'm just saying what I see as a member of the public with an interest in ballet as opposed to as a ballet aficionado who can judge their artistic contributions.  

 

Wayne Eagling cherished Daria Klimentova just as he cherished Elena Glurdjidze and Vadim Muntagirov, and I believe the company is vastly diminished by their departures.

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'First in line' may well be how the arcane honours system works in reality...  For me though Tamara is more visibly in tune with the modern world.  She has taken on cuts and confronted them with some sound strategies (as in the article - shave a week off national tours to call the bluff on a real terms cut, and managed to squeeze profit from the international tours to cross-fund new production). 

 

"In tune with the modern world".  Now what might that mean for an art form that can only thrive by holding on to the traditions of the past? 

 

Shaving a week off national tours?  I think you'll find it is more than a week.  This is a company with a strong fan following outside of London and I suspect many people will be bitterly disappointed to discover their local venues will no longer be hosting a much loved company.  I myself saw the company for the first time outside of London, it was back in the days of Markova when a completely different ethic prevailed.

 

Wayne Eagling resigned in the face of those cuts. 

 

Did he?  As far as I'm aware no reason was given as to why he left.

 

Tamara has also started to achieve and I suspect will continue to progress, raising the profile of the company and reaching a wider public. 

 

But not in the UK it would appear.

 

That to be fair is because she is very media savvy and media friendly and comes across as driven and articulate on her radio and TV appearances. 

 

All well and good but hardly a first requirement when it comes to running a ballet company.

 

My immediate memory of WE on screen is of him bullying Daria Klimentova and throwing strops on that ENB three part fly on the wall documentary.  I'm just saying what I see as a member of the public with an interest in ballet as opposed to as a ballet aficionado who can judge their artistic contributions.  

 

Wayne Eagling cherished Daria Klimentova just as he cherished Elena Glurdjidze and Vadim Muntagirov, and I believe the company is vastly diminished by their departures.

 

It is obvious you have a grudge against Rojo and nothing she does will meet whatever requirements you have for ENB. You keep repeating in many of your postings “how the company is vastly diminished by their departure, how much Klimentova and Muntagirov are missed, how irreplaceable they are”, etc. etc.

If I remember correctly it was Rojo who raised Muntagirov to the highest position within ENB, right after a performance at the Coliseum. It was her who gave him the possibility of creating ENB’s Conrad, the high honour of performing that role alongside Cojocaru and being recorded and it was Muntagirov who decided to leave the company, right in the middle of the season and not even performing the dates for which he had already been announced and I remember hearing Klimentova saying that she did not want to remain at ENB without Muntagirov regardless of which Rojo gave them a huge farewell performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

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There was a lot of bitterness and bile earlier at the change of ENB director - all on record and it would be good not to repeat it really. The reality is that Rojo got the job and has been there nearly 3 years now.

 

Wrt to the interview itself I just wanted to say that I've known Rojo since I first interviewed her in 1998. I think she is a great lady, a great dancer and all the force of nature stuff that people talk of is true. I love her commitment to the new as well and count myself a supporter. But it's not blind support and I genuinely didn't understand the ENB strategy and also didn't understand why nobody was asking obvious questions about strategy and funding. Most interviews have been, to my eyes, blindly supportive and sold just on the idea of somebody pushing the art forward. But there is more to the art and to running a company than that. And I've always pushed for the non-London audience and its about time that ACE put priority on regional touring - which of course they have.

 

I find it interesting that if the critics were asked which is the company "on a roll" out of ENB, BRB and NB, they would point to ENB and yet in the last funding round it was BRB and NB who did well. They read the tea leaves right this time. But who is to say that ENB were wrong necessarily and a London centred approach that relies more on generating own income, rather than being given so much subsidy, might be better longer term.

 

Although some of my questions clearly surprised people I don't think they were unusual in the broader scheme of things - journalists (which I am not) ask questions like that of leaders all the time. As Rojo proved she is more than capable of deploying her arguments and in the doing I think we all learned more. I repeat again, she is a great lady. And very determined!

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It is obvious you have a grudge against Rojo and nothing she does will meet whatever requirements you have for ENB. You keep repeating in many of your postings “how the company is vastly diminished by their departure, how much Klimentova and Muntagirov are missed, how irreplaceable they are”, etc. etc.

If I remember correctly it was Rojo who raised Muntagirov to the highest position within ENB, right after a performance at the Coliseum. It was her who gave him the possibility of creating ENB’s Conrad, the high honour of performing that role alongside Cojocaru and being recorded and it was Muntagirov who decided to leave the company, right in the middle of the season and not even performing the dates for which he had already been announced and I remember hearing Klimentova saying that she did not want to remain at ENB without Muntagirov regardless of which Rojo gave them a huge farewell performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

 

You may not like what I write but you seem to imply I don't have the right to do so.  I have written critically of a number of other companies and their AD's, my current views on the director of the Kirov for example would probably be too strong for this forum and the reasons behind my criticism is always based on sound knowledge. 

 

I thought this forum was a place for discussion and, I would have hoped, serious debate. Are you saying that all that is permitted here is fawning and toadying?

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I think that we have got into territory here where there is a risk of opinions being expressed without those writing them necessarily knowing the facts.

 

Some of the statements made above are untrue and some, in addition, are wrongly critical of individuals who do not deserve to have their names sullied in this way.

 

That said, I do agree that everyone should be free to state their own views on this forum.

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I think it may be appropriate to re-print here Daria's statement regarding her and Vadim's departures, posted by me on this forum in early February 2014:

 

 

Following the official announcement of her retirement, Daria Klimentova has asked me to convey the following statement on her behalf:

 

“Today English National Ballet has announced my retirement from dancing.  I would like to set the record straight about a few things that have been said on this forum and elsewhere.

 

First of all, Vadim has not ‘let me down’.  He would never do that to me or the Company.  We had been planning our mutual departures for a while, and the timing just seemed right.  Vadim was ready for the next phase of his career, and I was ready to retire.  To reiterate, I am not retiring because Vadim has left, and he has not left because I am retiring:  we planned this carefully so the pain of not being able to dance together anymore was lessened by us both leaving at the same time.  I have had a wonderful career, especially with ENB, and I am very grateful for all the ballets I have been able to dance and all the great times I have had with them.  Finding such an incredible partner in Vadim prolonged my career by five years and has been the very best part of it. 

 

I would also like to re-assure everyone that Vadim will be carrying out all his commitments with ENB until the end of the season.  It would never have been otherwise.  We will be dancing together in Manchester (Corsaire) on 11 and 15 February,  the Russian Icons gala at the London Coliseum (Sleeping Beauty pdd) on 9 March, a gala in Brussels (Cave duet and pdd from Corsaire) 22nd March, my ‘Thank You’ gala in Prague ( excerpts from Act 2 of Swan Lake, Corsaire and Act 3 of DonQ, together with dancers from Czech National Ballet) on 15 May , and finally all the planned R&Js in June.  Our final performance together will be on June 22nd (matinee) at the Albert Hall in London.   My birthday is June 23rd, and the best birthday present I could have is being able to finish my career dancing Romeo and Juliet with Vadim.  We are very grateful to Tamara Rojo and Kevin O’Hare for this.

 

Going forward, I will stay in the ballet world and intend to help young dancers achieve all they possibly can in their careers, and be the best they can possibly be as artists.  I will also do all I can to support Vadim, who is very much looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities ahead.  We would like to thank our fans for all the support and good wishes they have expressed for us.”

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