… sting like a bee. While ballet may lie at the other end of the sporting spectrum from pursuits such as boxing, Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet’s artistic director isn’t afraid of throwing punches.
Who’s in her sights?
Michael Gove. The former principal dancer of the ENB has said that by cutting dance from the school curriculum, the former Education Secretary has risked making it a preserve of the well-to-do middle classes. As she put it: “Those that don’t have the means won’t have access to dance.”
Isn’t their time better spent in the classroom?
Dance, says Rojo, can be a great complement to study. There’s evidence of greatly improved results in numeracy when taught through the pioneering method of maths through movement: helping children improve their grasp of numbers through the beat of a song. Plus, a mastery of pirouettes and ronds de jambe can lead to a marked increase in confidence.
What’s she doing to keep the kids on the beat?
The ENB offers thousands of tickets to different performances for as little as £10 a pop. “We try to ensure that it is an art form that is accessible to everyone,” Rojo says.
Meanwhile, Billy Elliott and Strictly Come Dancing have helped to ensure steady growth in audience figures.
And what’s keeping Rojo on her toes?
For now, her sights are firmly on the ENB’s annual production of Nutcracker – a Christmas tradition that has been running for more than 60 years. It’s three-and-a-half week run kicks off on December 11.