Tamara Rojo said in an interview in May:
It will be a friendly competition [with Covent Garden]. It's great when, in a city like London, there are two companies who want to succeed. It keeps us on our toes, and gives the audiences a choice.
Well the gloves are off, as Rojo has wooed one of the Royal Ballet's greatest stars, Alina Cojocaru, to join her side. The press release reads:
We are delighted to announce that Alina Cojocaru, one of the world's greatest ballerinas, is to join English National Ballet.
Speaking of her new role, Alina Cojocaru said: “I am very excited to be joining English National Ballet next season. I am attracted by the opportunities the repertoire offers, the combination of the classics and the chance to work with choreographers I really admire. I have always enjoyed dancing and performing in the UK and am delighted that English National Ballet will give me the chance to reach new audiences outside London. Not shy of challenges, I look forward to what the future might bring. Sharing Tamara's passion for the art form and for artistry, I am excited about what lies ahead.”
Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of English National Ballet said: “I am so happy to welcome Alina to the Company. She is one of the dancers I most admire. Her exquisite technique, dramatic qualities and artistry have been a constant inspiration to many, including me. I know that the dancers in the Company will be thrilled to have an artist of her stature join us and I am sure that we can give Alina the artistic challenges and opportunities she seeks.”
Alina's debut with English National Ballet will be in the Company's new restaging of Le Corsaire. She will dance the role of the heroine Medora on the opening night in Milton Keynes (October 17– the start of the Company's Autumn tour) Other productions which Alina will appear in include Nutcracker in the Christmas season at the London Coliseum, Lest We Forget, the programme of ballets inspired by the Great War at the Barbican, London, in April 2014 and Romeo & Juliet in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall in June.
Alina will join the Company as Lead Principal. She will continue to make guest appearances with Hamburg Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, two companies with which she has an established relationship.
Well if this move won't keep the Royal Ballet on it's toes, what will?
Photo: © Charlotte MacMillan
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.
It is a pity that ENB does not do more to develop its own stars ……have the RB had the best of her ….
Maybe with Rojo they will start grooming new dancers, but in the interim it seems that they need to get some established names on board ASAP to kick-start the company, and sell tickets.