Carmen

La Bayadere

Royal Ballet, January. 13, 2009

La Bayadere: Royal Ballet, Oct. 6, 2007

From Russia with lust

Luke Jennings
Sunday October 14, 2007
Royal Ballet
Royal Opera House, London WC2
  • The Observer

Since Marius Petipa created La Bayadere for the Imperial Russian Ballet in 1877, its most compelling feature has been the emotional triangle at its centre. Solor, an Indian warrior, is loved by two women, the unworldy temple-dancer Nikiya, and the grasping, calculating Princess Gamzatti, and the ensuing rivalry leads to murder. Over the years, the piece has allowed companies to stage spectacular ballerina duels – star against star – and the present Covent Garden production, by Natalia Makarova, is no exception. On last week’s opening night of the season, Tamara Rojo danced Nikiya against Marianela Nunez’s Gamzatti, with Carlos Acosta’s Solor as their handsome but morally tainted prize.

It’s hard to imagine more luxurious casting. In Act 1, Rojo expresses her longing through almost organic unfurlings, her back bends as pliant as a lotus stem. Petipa’s steps here convey a state of almost-realised potential, of a spirit poised for sexual awakening. No dancer alive expresses that quivering readiness quite like Rojo. She can stand motionless and still pulse with desire.

Nunez, by contrast, has a potent bad-girl allure and to begin with, Petipa gives her the best of the music. Her big Act 1 adagio subtly references Nikiya’s earlier dance, but this time the steps are more flamboyantly developed and executed with an imperious snap: what Nikiya wants, Gamzatti will get. And she does, drawing Solor to her by a dizzying blend of lust, power, fabulously jewelled outfits and blondness.

Against this feminine flood-tide, Acosta struggles for visibility. He starts sincerely enough but loses the piece’s tragic focus, and his dancing in Act 2 has a cheery machismo that strikes the wrong note. But the Royal Ballet corps is in fine form, and in the Kingdom of the Shades scene, striking arabesque after ghostly arabesque behind Yuhui Choe, was sublime.

La Nueva España

Asturias,Spain Sociedad y Cultura Jueves 01 de noviembre de 2007
«La bayadera» en el Covent Garden
VICENTE CUE

Cuando Marius Petipa, allá por la segunda mitad del siglo XIX, creaba sus ballets en San Petersburgo, lo primero que tenía en mente era que sus producciones se convirtieran en arte, en arte escénico. Pero él también conseguía que sus obras fueran entretenidas, que emocionaran y que se transformaran en espectáculos grandiosos. Casi todos los trabajos del genial coreógrafo que llegaron hasta nuestros días poseen estos elementos. Lo que no quiere decir que todos los que interpretan a Petipa consigan que esto suceda. Sí ocurrió esta semana en el Covent Garden de Londres, donde el Royal Ballet representó «La bayadera» (1877) de Petipa en la versión de Natalia Makarova, con música de Minkus. Tenía gran curiosidad por ver esta producción. La primera vez que vi «La bayadera» fue en Nueva York, 1982, por el American Ballet Theater. Era también la primera ocasión que se representaba en Occidente. Y precisamente es aquella misma producción de Makarova la que ahora se puede ver en la capital inglesa (existen algunos cambios en esta versión renovada de los británicos, los más notables están relacionados con el vestuario). Aquel estreno en la ciudad de los rascacielos fue un gran acontecimiento e hito histórico. Sus intérpretes ese año fueron, entre otros, Gregory, Makarova, Bujones y Baryshnikov. Son varias las funciones de esta obra que el Royal tiene programadas este mes con diferentes elencos para abrir esta temporada. Yo vi dos representaciones con distintos bailarines. Una fue excelentemente protagonizada por Tamara Rojo, Carlos Acosta y Marianela Núñez. Como se sabe, el relato de este ballet se desarrolla en una India antigua, legendaria y exótica; de fastuosos templos en la jungla presididos por rajás; de cacerías de tigres e intrigas románticas. Este ballet solamente se puede gozar en todo su esplendor, con todo su colorismo, lujo, fuerza mística y magnetismo escénico, cuando se ve en escenarios del rango del Covent Garden, con orquestas como la de este emblemático teatro londinense y con compañías como el Royal Ballet, en la que no se escatiman recursos para una puesta en escena opulenta y espectacular. Toda esa suntuosidad y exuberancia se necesitan para sentir y vivir la historia que se nos cuenta. Si bien, para que una producción de esta índole brinde un encantamiento y hechizo total, es imprescindible que sea coronada con una magistral interpretación de artistas que conviertan este cuento de las mil y una noches en realidad.

Y así sucedió en esta ocasión. Tamara, en el papel de Nikiya, la hermosa bailarina del templo, hace verosímil los fatídicos acontecimientos que se van sucediendo hasta que es mordida por la serpiente. Durante toda esa parte su baile se expresa con profusión de elementos exóticos y sensuales. En el segundo acto, ya convertida en criatura sobrenatural, Tamara dio intensidad lírica a su personaje y exhibió una línea clásica impecable asombrando con sus interminables equilibrios y múltiples piruetas, y así se lo ha reconocido la crítica londinense estos días. Actualmente dudo que alguna bailarina de esta compañía pueda interpretar este papel mejor que ella. Acosta, que representó al guerrero Solor, evidenció su técnica. Se mostró preciso, seguro, con concepto serio. Núñez fue la perversa Gamzatti. El resto de la compañía respondió a la calidad que siempre esperamos de sus componentes. En la simbólica secuencia de «el reino de las sombras», una de las joyas del ballet clásico, la precisión de las bailarinas del cuerpo de baile logró transmitir el efecto hipnótico y la sensación armónica que contiene este monumento coreográfico. Da gusto ver las cosas a lo grande, bien hechas y con amor. En Oviedo el año pasado nos había visitado el Ballet de Brno con su producción de «La bayadera». Y para que se me entienda: comparar «La bayadera» del Royal con la de Brno es equivalente a asistir a un partido del Real Madrid en sus mejores tiempos o a uno del Oviedo actualmente. Hay que felicitar a los representantes de la cultura en la administración inglesa. Da envidia comprobar cómo se mima, se venera y se valora allí todo lo concerniente al arte del ballet. Es admirable observar las facilidades e infraestructuras que tienen a su disposición los miembros del Royal Ballet en el mismo edificio del Covent Garden, con sus gigantescos estudios, salones para los ensayos y clases, recintos con equipos fisioterapéuticos, comedores, etcétera. Pedir cosas como ésas en España todavía pertenece a los sueños imposibles. Esto duele más cuando se puede comprobar cómo bailan los bailarines españoles por el mundo. En estas funciones de «La bayadera» que tienen lugar estos días en el Covent Garden hay varios españoles, todos en papeles importantes o protagonistas. Además de Tamara, están Laura Morera, José Martín y Zenaida Yanowsky. Un detalle, en los programas de mano del Royal hay dos líneas que ponen: «El silencio está patrocinado por Sela-Cough. Los acomodadores en la entrada le pueden proveer gratuitamente de caramelos para la tos» (por supuesto, la envoltura de estos caramelos no hace ruido). Si van a Londres les recomiendo el musical «The sound of music».

 The Sunday Times

October 14, 2007
Nadine Meisner

Last week also saw the opening of the Royal Ballet’s season. You can’t get more uncool than La Bayadère,19th-century ballet’s monument to melodramatic faux-orientalism. Fakirs and servants scurry about half-bent, signalling their low caste. The High Brahmin completely loses his head, prepared to reject his sacred calling for illicit love. The bayadère (temple dancer) Nikiya dies, bitten by a snake placed in a basket of flowers by her rival Gamzatti and the Rajah. Yet the ballet is justly famous for Petipa’s fabulous choreography, which reaches the pinnacle of classicism in the Kingdom of the Shades, where Nikiya’s ghost is replicated by a long procession of bayadères, like refractions in a play of mirrors, stretching endlessly into eternity. The three principals gave cracking performances. Tamara Rojo as Nikiya transformed her tiny body into an eloquent, precise instrument, with beautiful arabesques that stretched and yearned. Marianela Nuñez’s Gamzatti glittered in her show-pieces through elegant nuance rather than vulgar flash, but in her confrontation with Nikiya forgot her dignity with glorious self-abasing abandon. And Carlos Acosta has to be the world’s best Solor, combining jaw-dropping virtuosity with finesse and drama. A pity about Natalia Makarova’s Reader’s Digest production, which cuts the processions and excludes several magnificent Indian-inspired dances.

Financial Times

La Bayadère
By Clement Crisp
Published: October 9 2007 03:00 | Last updated: October 9 2007 03:00

The new Royal Ballet season got off to a spiffing start on Saturday night with La Bayadère . The staging is Natalya Makarova’s very intelligent pruning and editing of the old Petipa spectacular, with dance and drama heightened in effect. Samaritani’s design is an exemplary show of Italian scene-painting’s magic and mystery; Yolanda Sonnabend’s costumes offer glamour and the proper gleam of bijoux; and the company was on its very best form.

The luminous army of Shades deserved the prolonged applause after their entrance, a grand cascade of arabesques and white tulle pouring out of the night, borne on the repetitions of Minkus’s insidious little musical phrase. There were commandingly good portrayals of the High Brahmin (Gary Avis, torn by passion as Nikiya rejects him, hand raised to his head in a wonderfully expressive arc) and of the Fakir Magdaveya from Kenta Kura, shaping the role in frenzied leaps. And all this to frame three magnificent readings: Tamara Rojo as Nikiya, Marianela Nuñez as Gamzatti, Carlos Acosta as Solor.

Rojo finds a mysterious purity for the heroine, both in temperament and in dance. You sense the inner dignity of the character, the temple-dancer’s trusting belief in Solor, and you see the dance offered with no less nobility of spirit. Of course, Rojo’s technique is commanding, and in turning steps there is a kind of secretive bravura – few ballerine in my experience have produced such ravishing (and ravishingly generous) pirouettes in the Shades scene’s variation. (I still gasp at their unobtrusive ease.) And how sweetly a phrase seems to finish with the perfect arch of her instep, the eye following a line that is completed, fulfilled, by this exquisite curve.

Nuñez plays Gamzatti with a mask of brilliant hauteur and dances with no less brilliancy. In the betrothal Grand Pas she draws the choreography in vivid, unerring lines of happiest assurance, her jump free, almost defiant of the stage.

And Acosta soars, turns, beats, offers effortless wonders, and gives the faithless hero as much of a haunted air as the drama will allow. The entire ensemble I thought was on best form, and the final moments when the temple collapses are better managed, more convincing, than I have seen before. In sum, a tremendous start to the season: laurels and bouquets to all concerned. ***** Tel 020 7304 4000

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

The Times

From The Times
October 9, 2007
La Bayadere
Debra Craine at Covent Garden

For those who think that the Kingdom of the Shades is the only reason to see La Bayadère, the Royal Ballet’s production is essential viewing. As staged by Natalia Makarova, Petipa’s grand and exotic tale of love and murder in legendary India is an entertaining spectacle that wraps a colourful melodrama around the luminous vision of the Shades.

This ballet has everything: a driven narrative, passionate characters, a lavish staging (although not as lavish as its 1877 St Petersburg premiere), an archetypal 19th-century score and classical choreography that takes the breath away. What a perfect opening it makes to the Royal Ballet’s new season.

It’s a feast on every front. Pier Luigi Samaritani’s sets are splendidly lush, the vegetation as sumptuous as the architecture. Yolanda Sonnabend’s costumes are gorgeous, with their jewelled trim, bare midriffs and fabulous head gear. Valeriy Ovsyanikov conducts the Minkus score with a go-for-broke enthusiasm and devotion to its place in dance history. And the corps de ballet shine as the Shades, a perfect hallucination embodying Solor’s love for the murdered Nikiya, the temple dancer he betrayed.

This is a story raging with the heated emotions of an old-fashioned love triangle – Nikiya’s love for Solor, Gamzatti’s jealousy of that fact, Solor’s guilty conscience because he wants both women – and the opening-night cast took to it with fervour. Tamara Rojo, as Nikiya (the bayadère of the title), initially presents a serious young lady bound by her duty as a temple dancer and profoundly shocked by the High Brahmin’s inappropriate declaration of love. And then Rojo hits us with a flood of happiness as Solor appears to her; then a well of melancholy at his betrayal; and a vision of sublime otherwordly spirit when, now dead, she reappears in his fevered imagination to rekindle their passion. Throughout Rojo gives us dancing of exquisite shape, touching dramatic nuance and exceptional technical flair. As Solor (“the noblest warrior in the land”) Carlos Acosta has to be sexy and brave, which is second nature to his dancing, but he also has to be true to Nikiya yet unable to resist the lure of Gamzatti, the glamorous princess to whom he is betrothed, always a tricky conundrum for a hero. Acosta manages it all with tremendous panache, and, when he and Nikiya are reunited in heaven at the end, you feel as if Acosta has earned the right.

In every way, Marianela Nuñez glitters as Gamzatti, the rich-bitch princess determined to get her claws into Solor, even if it means dispatching her rival with a poisonous snake. And Gary Avis brings a remarkable dignity to the High Brahmin, a character role that he imbues with a magnetic power.

Box office: 020-7304 4000. To Oct 27 2007

Royal Ballet ‘La Bayadere’

November 2007
London, Covent Garden
by Simonetta Dixon

Yes, a lovely start to the new RB season; having seen this Bayadere last night I realized again why we miss the RB so much when they’re not around!

Tamara and Marianela (both in superb physical and dramatic form) are just perfectly matched and balanced as the rivals for Solor’s love; you can really see in this instance why it is so hard for him to choose between them! Likewise, it is perfectly understandable why they fight over Solor, too. Acosta is imperious yet vulnerable as Solor, and although his elevations didn’t seem quite up to his usual standard last night, as Michael said above those eight double turns were almost perfection.

Jose Martin’s Bronze Idol was the best rendition I have seen for many a year. In this very difficult solo he soared high and landed perfectly, not even the slightest wobble on any of those knee landings. I wonder how long it takes to get all that body paint on, just for him to be onstage for five minutes?!

The Corps performed a beautiful Shades scene (I only wish there were more than half a ramp onstage), confidently led out by Yuhui Choe…what a responsibility for such a young dancer. I was very glad that they got the prolonged applause they deserved. The three solos were very well conveyed by Deirdre Chapman, Isabel McMeekan and Laura Morera, who also got an enthusiastic round of applause after an exemplary variation. I was just delighted to see that even though she is now a Principal, she will still dance this kind of role. If she didn’t we wouldn’t be seeing nearly enough of her this season.

The lighting was the most disappointing aspect of the performance. I was saying this to some people in the interval. The spotlight and Carlos seemed to be playing cat and mouse: it was like that Bugs Bunny cartoon where the spot moves each time he tries to step into it and he ends up having a fight with it. Wherever Carlos was, the spotlight wasn’t. Perhaps the lighting person hadn’t been present at rehearsals? At other points, things were happening in the half darkness and bows to the audience after Carlos and Marianela’s variation were also taken in semi darkness. At a certain point in Act 3 Marianela runs over to Carlos to try to get his attention and there was no light on them then, either. I really hope they sort this out by the next performance; it looks unprofessional and isn’t fair on the dancers. I remember being much more impressed with the temple’s destruction last time around; was it different from this? As Wulff said, it was covered up by over the top strobe lighting for which there were indeed no warnings that I could see.

Royal Ballet ‘La Bayadere’

November 2007
London, Covent Garden
by Wulff

The season opened auspiciously with an excellent performance of Bayadere. Tamara Rojo’s Nikiya was both emotionally touching and technically near-faultless. Those tricky pirouettes with the scarf in act 2 were admirably executed. She was well matched by Marianela Nunez’s Gamzatti in the big mime scene, and in the Grand Pas d’Action I thought that Marianela danced her variation with great control, phrasing and musicality.

Carlos Acosta partnered his two ballerinas with complete confidence, and although his variation in act 1 did not perhaps come quite up to his highest standards, he more than made up for it with his dancing in act 2.

The corps de ballet acquitted themselves admirably in the Shades scene with precise ensemble and hardly a wobble anywhere, and of the three solo Shades I was particularly impressed by Isabel McMeekan’s control in the tricky third variation.

Act 3, started off well with an excellent account of the Bronze Idol variation from Jose Martin. However, I felt that most of this act was underlit, the following spots did not always immediately find the dancers that they were supposed to follow, and the strobe lighting that accompanied the collapse of the temple was, I felt, overdone, nor as far as I could see was any warning posted that this effect was going to be used.

But all things considered this was a first rate performance, and it is a long time since I have enjoyed a performance of Bayadere so much.

Telegraph

La Bayadère: Moonlight and bittersweet magic
Last Updated: 2:30pm BST 08/10/2007
Mark Monahan reviews La Bayadère at the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden

One can barely imagine how keen Royal Ballet director Monica Mason must have been for her troupe to deliver the goods after the Bolshoi’s summer residency in Covent Garden – after all, no one likes to be outdone in their home town.

And yet, while the Muscovites’ dazzling physical rigour was always going to be hard to follow, the Royal rose serenely to the challenge on Saturday, offering an opening evening rich with unflashy dramatic punch, and reminding one, too, that ballerinas don’t have to be the height of giraffes to make the hairs prick.

Natalia Makarova’s 1989 version of La Bayadère, Petipa’s characteristically semi-fantastical 1877 work, reconstructs the climax, abandoned by the Kirov since 1919. It’s by no means essential, but it does solidify the structure, as well as providing an excuse for some nifty stage effects that round off a gloriously lavish production.

(The execrable closing gauze is a hideous exception: it looks like anti-pigeon netting and should be binned immediately.)

The two acts that come before tell of the forbidden love in legendary India between Nikiya, the titular temple dancer, and the warrior Solor. He is soon betrothed to the princess Gamzatti and is so impressed by her that he caddishly forgets his low-born love. But, all manner of beastliness later, he – like Onegin, like Albrecht, like Siegfried – belatedly realises what a fool he’s been.

Bayadère is typically Petipan in being narrative hokum but packed with emotional truths, which the Royal allowed to shine. There’s an emotional graveness and otherworldly delicacy in Tamara Rojo that makes her at her best when cast as someone who is either doomed (Juliet) or unreal (the Sylphide). And, in Bayadère, in which she dies but returns as a spirit, she’s both.

Her brilliance lay in the spiritual grace with which she caressed the air in the very first scene; her abilty to radiate undying love from a single arabesque; the folorn precision with which she lowered herself from pointe to the flat. Every movement spoke of Nikiya’s plight.

Casting Marianela Nuñez opposite her was shrewd, too. They’re two of the company’s sexiest dancers, but otherwise so very different. Nuñez’s unflappable strength and elevation contrasted perfectly with Rojo’s hummingbird vulnerability.

Few can stride across a stage more imperiously than Nuñez, and there was a blast of regal bitchiness in her “He’s out of your league, darling” mime.

As the object of both their affections, Carlos Acosta was an unsurprisingly noble and convincing Solor – lovestruck, then caddish, then contrite. At 34, he doesn’t soar quite as high as he did a few years ago, but we’re talking millimetres here. He remains a dancer of rare majesty, and unsurpassed as a partner to Rojo.

Just in case anyone somehow still doubted the Hispanic contingent of the company, Laura Morera and José Martín both unleashed extraordinary solo work, too. But, above all, it’s on the slender shoulders of the girls’ corps that any Bayadère rests, and they didn’t disappoint either.

Act 2’s often stand-alone “Kingdom of the Shades”, in which they arabesque their way down on to the stage as multiplied, hallucinatory images of Solor’s now-dead Nikiya, is fiendishly exposed, particularly for those who come on first. But the 24 dancers were both lyrical and sure-footed, and their procession glowed with moonlight and bittersweet magic.

· In rep until Oct 27. Tickets: 020 7304 4000

Bruce Ballet.co.uk “Royal Ballet – La Bayadere – Review”

Royal Ballet
La Bayadere
London, Royal Opera House
6 October 2007
Opening of the 2007/08 Season

WARNING: I’m not sure why but I feel I ought to prepare you for an extended gush…

What an absolutely cracking opening night the Royal had to its new season. La Bayadere is not usually one of those ballets that sets the pulse racing with eager anticipation but the company pulled out all the stops in Makarova’s 1980’s production and it shone as brightly as any major blockbuster.

The senior casting was exemplary with Tamara Rojo as the done-down and lowly Bayadere, in love with a noble warrior, Carlos Acosta as the warrior – Solor – torn between loves and duty, and Marianela Nunez as Gamzatti, the Rajah’s daughter who truly loves Solor but ultimately is happy, along with Daddy, to see the Bayadere killed and gone.

Acosta may himself have sprung from humble beginnings but he is a natural and honest princely figure and plays Solor as such – no spoiled cad. Although I thought he was working at 109% rather than the 110% we always expect, there was much well earned applause for all he did. So too for Rojo, totally in her dramatic element. The only chink in her armament is a jump that doesn’t quite keep up with all her other wizardry. It matters not a jot because Rojo is the rarest of ballerinas – one that exists on another and altogether ethereal level. To see her move in character is to be whisked to another world. But she doesn’t forget this world either and her wonderful flourishes embroider otherwise standard moves – she seems to have so much time for magnificent balances and unsupported turns. Nunez is younger and, as a star, still growing. Hers is a finely drawn Gamzatti, like Acosta and Rojo’s, a portrayal rooted in emotion and coupled with a faultless technique (including a rather good jump, if not one that yet gets her to another world).

But the Royal is more than about a top trio. Gary Avis as the High Brahmin brings vivid life to a role that is normally about standing and staring, as does Genesia Rosato as the servant Aya (if it’s mostly about bowing and scraping for her). Jose Martin also delivers an exciting Bronze Idol. But my biggest bouquet goes to the corps in the Kingdom of the Shades – I’ve never seen them looking better in the production and all the drilling makes a huge difference. Everybody knows a good thing when they see it and there was much more applause for the corps than normal.

The only thing I didn’t like was the new laser ‘display’ as the Temple is ripped asunder at the end. In what is essentially an old 19th Century set and staging it looked awfully daft and out of keeping. But this is a brilliant night of ballet and I must remember to set my pulse racing when RB next say it is coming back.

Ondine

Video

Swan Lake, Kirov, St. Petersburg

VIII International Ballet Festival MARIINSKY

13 – 23 March 2008

You Tube

Critical Dance:

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:34 pm Post subject: Buddy

The pleasure is really our’s as well, Catherine. Thanks again.

Could I please go back to the fifth Swan Lake performance, which was the last of the Swan Lakes that I was able to attend, and convey my thoughts at the time.

Tamara Rojo–“Swan Lake”

Her performance was Excellent–At Times Amazing !

As Odette she was just lovely. She floated around the stage as light as air. For me she was a bit like a little kitten, in a way seeming so lovable and cuddly. To my eyes she performed everything with technical virtuosity and fineness. She was as graceful as could be.

At the end of Act I, she turned her back to the audience and waited on pointe, then rapidly exited the stage on pointe doing the standard swan arm flutter. It was one of the most dramatically impressive interpretations of this famous dance sequence that I have ever seen.

She also expressed her character in a fine theatrical manner, which I enjoy attributing to the great English literary and stage tradition. I certainly feel the same way when I watch Margot Fonteyn videos and I also sense it strongly when I see Alina Cojocaru (Royal Ballet, London) perform. I tend to assume that it is present in the coaching somewhere. Alina Cojocaru has said that she watches lots of television movies just to develop her acting ability. Tamara Rojo’s facial expression was worthy of a very fine actress. She seemed to take her character literally like a stage actress would, almost acting out her perception of things in a wordless manner rather than using symbolic expression.

The Earth Shaker was her Act II Odile performance!

There were two major highlights.

The first was a Balance On Pointe that she might still be holding had not the orchestra insisted on continuing the performance.

The second was her series of Fouette turns. If I recall correctly, they went single, triple, single, triple….consistently to the very end when she did what some of us thought was a quadruple turn. They were done as securely as could be and as smoothly and gracefully as you could possibly hope for from a classical ballerina.

I saw five or six Mariinsky ballerinas in the audience sitting stageside just to see this Act.

Act III was a return to normal—-lovely classical dancing with all the highlight moves performed excellently and a total commitment once again to her captivating swanlike gentleness.

Tamara Rojo is a soft graceful dancer with the ability to rival the technical feats of the NASA outer-space programs. In fact having seen her bravura performance there may no longer be a need for an outer-space program.

Tamara Rojo is a classically beautiful and extremely exciting dancer, who performed marvelously and received another super-enthusiastic Mariinsky audience response.

Posted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:27 am Post subject: Catherine Pawlick

________________________________________

“Swan Lake” – Tamara Rojo and Igor Kolb

8th International Mariinsky Festival

Mariinsky Theatre

St. Petersburg, Russia

20 March 2008

By Catherine Pawlick

On Thursday, the Mariinsky Theatre experienced a treat when the Royal Ballet’s celebrated Tamara Rojo joined Igor Kolb in the fifth “Swan Lake” of this festival.

Seemingly no more than five feet tall, Rojo’s command of the stage is nonetheless considerable. One would not expect a woman of such size to excel in legato movements or slower tempi, but in fact, in this performance, these seemed to be her greatest strengths. Rojo is a tiny ball of steel encased in a soft, fluid exterior, and she infuses all of her movements with care. At moments her eight-year tenure at the Royal Ballet were visible: arms in second, neck and spine perfectly erect, for a millisecond she recalled Fonteyn poised en pointe. But Rojo’s movements are never stiff. A strong set of arches and perfect turnout serve her well, particularly in balances. With a retiré passé pulled up above her knee, Rojo performed triple tour degagés in her White Swan variation, and tossed off quadruple pirouettes during her Black Swan variation, which began with a double pirouette into a triple attitude turn that ended in a staccato plié, recalling a snake who sidles up slowly and then attacks its prey. During the Black Swan pas de deux, she held an arabesque en pointe for over eight very slow counts of music. Although many Cuban dancers are said to be doing the same these days in Havana, never, in the past four years here, have I seen a ballerina on this stage perform the same feat. Rojo’s fouettes, punctuated with triples every third turn, and a quadruple thrown in for good measure, instilled confidence in her professionalism. A tiny Spanish ball of steel.

Two minor deficiencies in Rojo’s portrayal nonetheless distracted from an otherwise stellar performance. The first was a smile. I searched her face for expression throughout both acts, and saw nothing that compared to Tereshkina’s intent focus on Siegfried in Act Two, or even Murphy’s tenderness in Act One. Although she went through the motions, the blank look on Rojo’s face throughout most of her First Act Odette sequences left me wanting more. It wasn’t until the betrayal in the Second Act that Rojo pointed a finger at Kolb, opened her mouth wide in laughter and threw her head back in victory. The moment was overdone compared to the placid expression she wore in previous scenes. It wasn’t until the Russian unison clap began during the Act Two bows that Rojo broke into a full grin, pulling her arms to her heart in gratitude.

The second point of concern was the prevalence of a female persona over that of a swan, as manifested by the lack of Swan-like port de bras. At many points Rojo included a quatrieme position of the arms (one arm in 3rd high Vaganova, the other in second), or other classical port de bras, but not necessarily Swan-like. This may be a regional variation on the Odette/Odile character, perhaps closer to the Royal Ballet’s interpretation, but it did not strengthen her character. Likewise,in Act One Rojo ran as a woman, not as a swan, and at many points she appeared to approach the dance with intuition. In Petersburg, one is used to seeing Swan arms throughout all three acts, for regardless of her human form, Odette is nonetheless a Swan Queen, a woman-swan.

For his part, although a fairly modern haircut distracted slightly from the persona of Prince, Igor Kolb’s cavalier approach and total presence in his role made for a multi-dimensional partnership. Kolb’s uber flexible physique make his Siegfried extra pleasing to watch. His turns in attitude (Act One, Scene One), were upright spins. Likewise his tour-jetés (Act Two) peaked in an airborne split. In addition to such technical talents, Kolb’s acting chops came to the fore in the last half of the evening. He’s one of the Kirov’s most reliable partners and strongest male dancers to date.

In the Pas de Trois this evening, Alexei Timofeev, another corps member, replaced Sherbakov (Sunday night) and Stepin (Wedneday night). Also blessed with a tight set of tours en l’air (he finished in fifth without any readjustments) and considerable ballon, he is slowly developing into an interesting young dancer.

Pavel Bubelnikov conducted an orchestra that wavered at several moments and tended to abrupt changes in tempo during Act Three.

published by: http://www.ballet.co.uk

jdemetre 21-03-08, 08:56 AM (GMT (ST))

32. “review of 20 March Mariinsky Festival”

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LAST EDITED ON 21-03-08 AT 09:15 AM (GMT (ST))

20 March 2008

8th Mariinsky Festival

  • Swan Lake
  • Odette/Odile Tamara Rojo
  • Siegfried Igor Kolb
  • Rothbart Ilya Kuznetsov
  • Jester Grigory Popov

Ms Rojo, the fifth of the festival Swan Queens, harkens as a physical type to an earlier balletic era, when, a woman of 5 feet 8 inches height would have been considered too tall to dance in a classical company. In the contemporary era of balletic ‘basketball squads’, Ms Rojo, like another principal at the Royal Ballet -Alina Cojocaru, broaden the physical aesthetics of the classical dancer to include the woman of small stature. Such dancers also remind us that physical stature has little to say of artistic accomplishment.

In this, my first view of Ms Rojo in any role, I found her to be a dancer of finely focused intensity.

Odette, in the lake scene, proceeded with sequences of mesmerizing interest. Particularly notable are her arabesque lines and her exquisite extended balances.

The pas de deux with Igor Kolb, who repeated his role first performed at the festival on the 15th, seemed to me a very successful match. His strong protective presence complemented her character’s vulnerability, at once soft, fragile and precise.

Her variation unfolded slowly, but with sequences of compelling urgency.

In the Odile sequences, Ms Rojo looked simply beautiful, of face and of demeanor.

Her enchantment of Siegfried proceeded as planned strategems. In the pas de deux, Kolb’s portrayal of Siegfried’s fascination with Odile was clearly drawn.

Her variation created phrases of increasing complexity, like a spider’s web, with which to draw in the victim.

But then came the coda with its fouette sequence. The beautiful Odile revealed herself, in another strategem, as a whirlwind of passion. Rojo unleashed a series of two singles followed by a triple fouette, over and over again until the whole series of thirty-two were completed with a secure finish. A truly exciting technical display.

When I asked my companion what she thought of the performance, she said:

“Her slow work was spectacular, her fast work was spectacular, her pirouettes were spectacular”.

The only new casting in tonight’s performance, that I noted, was

Alexei TImofeyev in the pas de trois of the first scene.

Pavel Bubelnikov conducted.

Thu, 13 Mar 2008, 19:00

Opening of the VIII International Ballet Festival MARIINSKY

Glass Heart

  • ballet in two acts
  • Music: Alexander von Zemlinsky
  • Choreography: Kirill Simonov (2008)
  • Irina Golub
  • Yekaterina Kondaurova
  • Yana Selina
  • Islom Baimuradov
  • Anton Pimonov
  • Maxim Zyuzin
  • Conductor: Mikhail Agrest

Fri, 14 Mar 2008, 19:00

Glass Heart

  • ballet in two acts
  • Music: Alexander von Zemlinsky
  • Choreography: Kirill Simonov (2008)
  • Yekaterina Osmolkina
  • Nadezhda Gonchar
  • Alina Somova
  • Anton Pimonov
  • Alexei Nedviga
  • Alexei Timofeyev
  • Conductor: Mikhail Agrest

Sat, 15 Mar 2008, 19:00

Swan Lake

  • fantasy ballet in three acts (four scenes)
  • Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
  • Choreography: Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov (1895)
  • revised choreography and stage direction: Konstantin Sergeyev (1950)
  • Diana Vishnjova
  • Jerve Moro

Sun, 16 Mar 2008, 19:00

Swan Lake Gillian Murphy

  • Andrian Fadeev

Tue, 18 Mar 2008, 19:00

Swan Lake Maria Alexandrova (Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow)

  • Danila Korsuntsev
  • Wed, 19 Mar 2008, 19:00
  • Swan Lake
  • Viktorija Tereshkina
  • Anhel Korejja

Thu, 20 Mar 2008, 19:00

Swan Lake

  • Tamara Rojo
  • Igor Kolb
  • Fri, 21 Mar 2008, 19:00
  • Swan Lake
  • Ulyana Lopatkina
  • Evgeny Ivanchenko
  • Carnaval. For Four. Le Reveil de Flore
  • Yekaterina Osmolkina
  • Yevgenia Obraztsova
  • Andrian Fadeyev
  • Leonid Sarafanov
  • Vladimir Shklyarov
  • Islom Baimuradov
  • Filipp Stepin
  • Sun, 23 Mar 2008, 19:00
  • Close of the VIII International Ballet Festival MARIINSKY
  • Gala concert With international ballet stars.

Cast to be announced

Reviews 2004-2007

REVIEW: Royal Ballet Tour – Washington

‘Manon’ More Sublime Than The Material

Washington Post

– Una notte stellare tra passi di danza – Benois-Vicenza

Royal Ballet

‘Swan Lake extracts’, ‘Romeo and Juliet pdd’, ‘Thais pdd’, Five Brahms Waltzes in the manner of Isadora Duncan’, ‘Tchaikovsky pdd’, ‘Winter Dreams Farewell pdd’, ‘Voices of Spring pdd’, ‘Don Quixote pdd’

June 2007 – Guadalajara, Teatro Diana

by Jose Luis Becerra

Strictly come ballet dancing

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 23/12/2006

Dance was a hit on TV, but the real thrills came on stage, at the Royal Ballet and elsewhere, writes Sarah Crompton

………Another superstar lit up the Sadler’s Wells stage when Carlos Acosta brought along his Friends for an evening of insouciantly joyful dance. He lit up Covent Garden, too, particularly in partnership with the equally unmissable Tamara Rojo. In Romeo and Juliet, Giselle and The Sleeping Beauty they gave gleaming displays of what it means to be a classical dancer.

Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta in Romeo and Juliet, a performance that no-one who was there will ever forget.

 TAMARA ROJO, sublime perfección

El Festival del Mil.lenni se ha iniciado con una excelente propuesta: invitar a Tamara Rojo, la estrella de la danza que, desde que recibió el Premio Príncipe de Asturias, se prodiga más por nuestros escenarios, por suerte para el público, que en esta ocasión la ha aplaudido y vitoreado en dos obras de matices diferentes: La esmeralda y El cascanueces, a través de las cuales la bailarina desplegó un magnífico recital de registros.

En la primera de estas dos piezas, Tamara Rojo ofreció un paso a dos junto a su partenaire habitual, Iñaki Urlezaga. Brillante, como las estrellas de la danza de otros tiempos y con una técnica espectacular, la bailarina ejecutó una exhibición de perfección sublime en la que reunió lo mejor de sus dotes: elegancia, carácter, giros de infarto y unos equilibrios que rayaron lo sobrenatural.

La esmeralda es un fragmento de un ballet homónimo de tres actos, con música de Cesare Pugni, que se ofreció bajo una revisión coreográfica de Ben Stevenson. La trama, inspirada en Notre Dame de Paris, de Víctor Hugo, permite admirar a una Tamara Rojo coqueta y vivaracha en un registro de ballet de carácter en el que la bailarina se desenvuelve a las mil maravillas.

En el rol de Hada de Azúcar de El cascanueces, obra en la que participó la compañía Ballet Concierto, Tamara Rojo hizo una demostración de altísimo nivel de cómo se han de representar los ballets de repertorio. Exquisita, con una musicalidad extrema y semejante a una bailarina de una caja de música, la artista emocionó por su belleza física e interpretativa. Por su lado, Iñaki Urlezaga ofreció una presencia notable en ambas piezas, y mostró que tiene dotes de primer bailarín, tanto en su faceta de partenaire como en las variaciones solistas.

El programa lo completó Carnaval de Venecia, un ballet con música también de Pugni y coreografía de Petipa y Giovine a cargo del Ballet Concierto, una compañía de intérpretes correctos, si bien de un nivel muy distante al Rojo y Urlezaga, entre los cuales destacaron Eliana Figueroa y Franco Cadelago.

MONTSE G. OTZET

Dirección Artística: Lilian Giovine

INTÉRPRETES: Tamara Rojo, Iñaki Urlezaga y Ballet Concierto

FECHA 13 de diciembre

LOCAL Teatre Tívoli

 

The Sunday Times November 19, 2006

Arts: David Dougill

The partnership of Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta, in the Royal Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty at Covent Garden, was a collector’s item (and they are coming back). They share not only technical brilliance, but emotional attunement and a perfect understanding of the shaping of their roles.

The Sunday Telegraph Magazine – November 19, 2006

….The Royal Ballet’s run of 21 Sleeping Beauties continued at Covent Garden with a thrilling performance by Tamara Rojo. The Rose Adagio, so often just a test of nerves, becomes a means of displying her total mastery of time and space. her uncanny ability to set her turns at any speed she desires creates quite breathtaking effects. her quadruple pirouettes are so unhurried, so clearly shaped, it is as if your brain has somehow run the move in slow motion, the better to savour its daring grace.

She was perfectly matched by Carlos Acosta, making his debut as the Prince. Many dancers signal their princeliness by wearing the chin at an unnatural angle and shooting their cuffs a great deal. Acosta carries an air of authority about him without even resorting to tics and mannerisms, and the same noble simplicity shapes both his mime and his dancing. He conjures the faintest afterglow of Siefgried and Rudolf in the vision scene, giving the Prtince’s melancholy just a hint of weltschmrz and then, like Aurora herself, is transfigured by happiness in the exultant grand pas de deux and its dazzling variations.

Financial Times

Rojo & Acosta, Covent Garden, London

By Clement Crisp – Published: November 14 2006 15:48 | Last updated: November 14 2006 15:48

The Sleeping Beauty continues in repertory at Covent Garden, and I do not expect to see a more brilliantly achieved reading of Aurora than that given by Tamara Rojo on Thursday night, when she took the stage on radiant form, with Carlos Acosta making his London debut as her Prince. Both artists, of course, produce marvels of classic dance. Both artists have an almost intuitive (and emotionally perceptive) response to their roles. Beauty demands purest style, and exposes every least flaw in a dancer’s skills.

Earlier this year, Tamara Rojo proposed a view of Aurora which was centred on her ability to turn prodigiously and to balance interminably. I thought it unworthy of her in its bravura emphasis. We know her extraordinary talent, and we admire far more her desire to subsume these into interpretations of penetrating truth: her Ondine, her Marguerite, her Woman in Song of the Earth are cases in point. On Thursday, we saw her Aurora in all its grace and sweetness of temperament, as well as her uncanny skills – quadruple pirouettes, as if pouring some golden essence; balances where gravity seems to have no place. The reading was softly radiant, even at its most prodigious moments. The dance was everywhere phrased with rare musical sensitivity. We knew the young princess, and loved her. (My one quibble: her tempi in the Vision Scene solo were too leisurely; the shape of the choreography was lost.) It was a portrait drawn with line and emotional colouring that could not be faulted. From Carlos Acosta we saw a reading, as we now expect, that makes something real and persuasive from Florimund’s shadowy character, the dance glorious in classic skill. His costume in Act Three is unflattering (some Quasimodo-ish effects) but his account of the solo was exemplary. A magnificent debut.

To both artists, all gratitude, as also to Elizabeth McGorian for a subtly, mockingly vile Carabosse, and thanks, too, for Boris Gruzin’s account of the score. No gratitude at all to the management, who still believe that Carabosse’s entrance is inadequately done by Tchaikovsky, and that reverberant thunderclaps are needed to drown the score and make yet another vulgar point. Philistines.

The Telegraph

Radiant Rojo brings fairytale alive

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 13/11/2006

Sarah Crompton reviews The Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Ballet in Covent Garden

Darcey Bussell once told me that if she was walking round a supermarket and Tchaikovsky’s Rose Adagio started to play over the sound system, her stomach would still turn over at the prospect of having to dance it.

Bussell’s Aurora days are behind her, but for any ballerina that variation, mainly on one leg, with four princes in support, remains the ultimate challenge. Not only is it fiendishly difficult technically, but you have to pull off its devilish balances and jumps while looking like a radiant 16-year-old, trembling on the brink of life.

On Thursday, the Royal Ballet’s Tamara Rojo was the dancer undergoing Petipa’s most stringent examination, but there was no glimpse of strain. She perched on one beautifully arched foot like some iridescent bird, her grave, dark-eyed face full of anticipation as she launched herself on the world.

With every performance, Rojo looks more like one of her generation’s finest ballerinas, performing at the apex of her physical and interpretative power. She shapes every step with effortless authority and precision, and finds space in the music to carve out her own interpretation. Partnered as she was the other night by Carlos Acosta, at his most passionately princely, they create a bolt of electricity that brings The Sleeping Beauty to vivid modern life.

Both dancers understand that in a classic you need to find emotion in the spaces between the steps. Both bring this fairy story alive with the tiniest gestures – a flick of the head, a glance – and their absolute belief in the tale.

Elsewhere, although the company is settling into Monica Mason’s revival of its1946 production, such conviction is strangely missing. The prologue fairies proceed without any sense that they are bestowing gifts on the tiny princess; the corps seem dwarfed by Oliver Messel’s grandly painted scenery; and both Alexandra Ansanelli and Elizabeth McGorian fail to find drama in the seismic confrontation between the good Lilac fairy and the wicked Carabosse.

It is hard to understand why this is happening; perhaps because the version is historical, the dancers feel too respectful towards it. Whatever the reason, it pushes the story too far back in the picture book – it is pretty but uninvolving, except when the glorious principals are on stage.

The phoenix – The Royal Ballet’s Manon

By: JEFFREY GANTZ – 6/21/2006 12:40:40 PM

TAMARA ROJO: Big eyes, big arches, no amorality.

Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon is Romeo and Juliet’s ugly stepsister. In place of the noble couple from Verona and their feuding but well-meaning families, we get Des Grieux, a poor student, and Manon, a young girl torn between love and money, plus her brother, Lescaut, who pimps her off, and Monsieur G.M., whose mistress she becomes, and Lescaut’s red-wigged mistress, whom Lescaut also pimps off, so peripheral she doesn’t even have a name. Based on the Abbé Prévost’s 1731 novel Manon Lescaut and choreographed to an amalgam of pieces by Jules Massenet (but none from his opera Manon), the ballet is set in Paris and, after Manon is deported, Louisiana, but it all looks like Hogarth’s England, a battleground between rich and poor, cavaliers and cutpurses, pimps and prostitutes, rakes and ratcatchers. It’s the World According to Ken, and he’s not a happy camper.

MacMillan created Manon for the Royal Ballet in 1974, eight years after Romeo; sans Shakespeare’s lambent idealism or Nureyev and Fonteyn, it got a mixed reception, and though it’s entered the repertoire of the Kirov, the Paris Opéra Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, it had never been to Boston till the Royal brought it to the Wang Theatre last week for four performances under the auspices of the Wang Center and the Bank of America Celebrity Series. MacMillan gets straight to the point: Lescaut introduces his mistress to G.M., and when she turns to greet another less-well-heeled admirer, he slaps her and then drags her over to watch a tumbrel of prostitutes being trundled off to prison, her fate if she doesn’t shape up. G.M., fresh out of Tom Jones or Barry Lyndon, makes Old Capulet seem as villainous as Daddy Warbucks, especially when he feels up Manon’s leg as if contemplating a bid for Barbaro. (There’s a lot of sexual fetishism here involving feet and legs but, rape aside, hardly any sex.) At its best, in the second-act soirée at “Madame’s hôtel particulier,” the ballet shows us Manon’s transition from Juliet-like innocence to the understanding that without money she’ll wind up like Dumas’s Camille or Verdi’s Violetta or Puccini’s Mimi. Those heroines, however, didn’t prompt their poor boyfriends to remedy their situation by cheating at cards. And the Louisiana-set third act is all masochism and maudlin melodrama, its abject women reduced to sexual slavery — not that they were much better off back in Paris.

Romeo and Juliet, moreover, has a lucid story line, if only because we’ve all read or seen the play. Manon is a muddle — as Arlene Croce said of MacMillan’s Mayerling, “Synopsis presides.” The curtain rises on “the courtyard of an inn near Paris,” one that’s “frequented by actresses, gentlemen, and the demi-monde from Paris” who, it would seem, have nothing to interest them in town. Manon, we’re told, is on her way to enter a convent; you’d never know. Neither is it apparent in the first bedroom scene that what Des Grieux is writing is a letter to his father asking for money (maybe he could sell his towering canopied fourposter, which Juliet might envy), or that Manon is deported to Louisiana because G.M. has had her arrested as a prostitute. The program provided for these performances confuses as well as clarifies: Manon doesn’t steal the Old Gentleman’s money so much as appropriate it, and Lescaut is not killed “in the ensuing struggle” after Manon’s arrest — handcuffed, he’s simply executed.

Absent plot and character, much of the ballet looks generic and recycled. Over here we have the ragpickers and ragamuffins led by that lovable rapscallion Beggar Chief, all looking for the next treat — or trick. Over there it’s MacMillan’s ubiquitous International League of Frizzy-Haired Whores, though there’s hardly a woman in the production who doesn’t hitch up her skirt to show she’s for sale. In the middle, two ladies who’ve already fallen out over a john try to one-up each other à la the Cinderella stepsisters. Everywhere we have folks breaking into Broadway-chorus-like high jinks, as if they were on display in the Manon theme park, or preparing for Manon: The Musical. Anchored in MacMillan’s Baroque inversions and Kama Sutra lifts, the two bedroom scenes for Manon and Des Grieux mirror those in Romeo, one before the first crisis (Romeo’s banishment, Des Grieux’s exposure), one after.

The score, assembled by Leighton Lucas and Hilda Gaunt (and at the Wang played for all it’s worth by a local orchestra under Martin Yates), opens on a few bars of Berlioz-like religioso chords before moving on to what sounds uncannily like H.M.S. Pinafore’s “Buttercup,” and from there it’s a kitchen sink. There are adumbrations of Bernard Herrmann in the courtyard pas de deux between Manon and Des Grieux; the first bedroom scene climaxes with schmaltz that would make Sigmund Romberg blush. The Nocturne from Massenet’s La Navarraise anticipates the Arabian-flavored “Coffee” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker as it grounds a long, slow, hypnotic saraband, Manon being passed from one man to the next while you wonder whether they’re just admirers or whether G.M. is now pimping her out. And there’s Bette Davis five-hanky music (Dark Victory? Now, Voyager?) for the big finish as Manon and Des Grieux hallucinate amid the mist and the Spanish moss.

DANCE REVIEW

Plenty of action, romance in Royal Ballet’s ‘Manon’

By Sally Cragin, Globe Correspondent | June 16, 2006

Make no mistake — there’s heart and soul in the Royal Ballet’s sumptuous and emotionally complicated “Manon.” Choreographed in 1974 by Kenneth MacMillan, this three-act story ballet may have stripped the words from the 1884 Massenet opera, but it offers psychological complexity.

Plus a veritable Sears catalog of all the deadly sins, which were essential in the 18th century, the period of Abbe Prevost’s original story. At the Wang Center, Nicholas Georgiadis’s soaring sets — tapestries on pulleys and a two-story-high canopy bed — are drenched in rich sepia tones.

This ballet is action-packed — ensemble scenes have the rich detail of a Hogarth engraving. Even when principal dancers step forward, engaging bits of business erupt around the edges of the scene. As the story begins, young Manon has met an attractive student, Des Grieux, just as her brother Lescaut intends her for wealthy Monsieur G.M. When she and Des Grieux escape with money she stole from her would-be suitor, the complications are ultimately disastrous. The second act is set in a brothel, and the third finds Manon deported to New Orleans, sick and dying, feebly defending herself from the brutal Gaoler.

As Manon, Tamara Rojo has charisma and superb skills. She has a signature step as the girlish Manon, delicately rising up en pointe and advancing downstage almost in a mince. Her attraction to Des Grieux (Carlos Acosta) is at first playful and exultant, and later, clearly tortured. Acosta’s pas de deuxs with Rojo are tender and smoldering. He’s also a dancer whose mid-air leaps and turns are so elaborate and slow, you wonder whether he’s bouncing off a hidden trampoline. When predatory Monsieur G.M. (William Tuckett, who uses his towering size with great elegance) presents her with jewels and furs, her girlishness literally slips away as she promenades with her new finery.

Act two has enormous comedy when Lescaut turns up drunk at the brothel. As Lescaut, Jose Martin has heeded that aphorism used by actors who play drunks — play drunk while trying to seem sober. His solo and then duet with his Mistress (Sarah Lamb, formerly of Boston Ballet) is all legs and windmilling arms. The two of them play off one another masterfully — he sags when she’s in his arms, yet somehow manages to hoist her up. There’s even unexpected subtlety when he apes her hand movements.

What’s remarkable about this ballet is its emphatic and even cheerful (until act three) amorality. In the 18th century, you paid for your sins, but you could go down swinging. And though there’s little redemption for Manon, her plight becomes a human-scale tragedy, told with a glorious larger-than-life-size production.

Dance: Romeo & Juliet – by David Dougill – The Sunday Times – Mar. 12, 2006

– To Have and to hold – David Dougill falls for Tamara Rojo as the Royal Ballet’s Juliet.

…Romeo and Juliet is a spectacular full-company ballet, ocused on marvellous star roles. The first of many casts, this time round, was a big attraction: Tamara Rojo, whom we already know as a superlative Juliet, with her new Romeo, carlos Acosta, in his Royal Ballet debut in this part. After their recent magnetic partnership in Giselle, this was a hot ticket.

When the dark-haired Rojo first bursts onto the scene, fluttering and flickering in childish games with her doll and her Nurse, she reminds me so much of Fonteyn. She is charmed and apprehensive at meeting her intended husband, Paris (David Pickering), a real prize catch if only Romeo hadn’t come along. Pickering gives an excellent account of affronted pride, mixed with adoration, when he is rejected in his and Juliet’s dramatic later duets. Rojo’s portrait of Juliet is gorgeously, movingly thrillingly shaped – breathtaking in her death scene, as she reaches out for one last grasp of the expired Romeo’s hand – but doesn’t quite make it.

Dance: Romeo & Juliet – by John Percival – The Independent – Mar. 12, 2006

…What peoplle love about Rojo and Acosta is their shared Hispanic fire. But what was remarkable about the Cuban dancer’s debut as Romeo was a characteristic one hesitates to call diffidence, but definitely felt like a holding back. This was not a case of having an off-day. In the light of the meticulously thought-through readings the pair have given in other ballets, it’s clear they had jointly decided on a dynamic imbalance: Acosta’s Romeo a mere boy, dumbly in thrall to hormonal forces, leaving all the doing and thinking and passionate feeling to Juliet.

…Retreat, though, isn’t Juliet’s style, and from the balcony duet on, this is her ballet. You almost hear the cogs of her brain turning as Rojo works through the various possible tactics with her suitor: denial, physical resistance, violence, and finally dull submission. Her taking of the potion, with a naturalistic gulp followed by convulsions, is so credible it leads you to wonder what would have happened had she sicked the whole lot up.

Added details and what-ifs? have progressively refined this production to the point where I doubt it can get any better…Nine leading couples are scheduled over 15 performances, but few are likely to match Rojo and Acosta’s for full-blooded range and coherence.

Dance: Romeo & Juliet – by David Dougill – The Sunday Times – Mar. 12, 2006

– To Have and to hold – David Dougill falls for Tamara Rojo as the Royal Ballet’s Juliet.

…Romeo and Juliet is a spectacular full-company ballet, ocused on marvellous star roles. The first of many casts, this time round, was a big attraction: Tamara Rojo, whom we already know as a superlative Juliet, with her new Romeo, carlos Acosta, in his Royal Ballet debut in this part. After their recent magnetic partnership in Giselle, this was a hot ticket.

When the dark-haired Rojo first bursts onto the scene, fluttering and flickering in childish games with her doll and her Nurse, she reminds me so much of Fonteyn. She is charmed and apprehensive at meeting her intended husband, Paris (David Pickering), a real prize catch if only Romeo hadn’t come along. Pickering gives an excellent account of affronted pride, mixed with adoration, when he is rejected in his and Juliet’s dramatic later duets. Rojo’s portrait of Juliet is gorgeously, movingly thrillingly shaped – breathtaking in her death scene, as she reaches out for one last grasp of the expired Romeo’s hand – but doesn’t quite make it.

Dance: Romeo & Juliet – by John Percival – The Independent – Mar. 12, 2006

…What peoplle love about Rojo and Acosta is their shared Hispanic fire. But what was remarkable about the Cuban dancer’s debut as Romeo was a characteristic one hesitates to call diffidence, but definitely felt like a holding back. This was not a case of having an off-day. In the light of the meticulously thought-through readings the pair have given in other ballets, it’s clear they had jointly decided on a dynamic imbalance: Acosta’s Romeo a mere boy, dumbly in thrall to hormonal forces, leaving all the doing and thinking and passionate feeling to Juliet.

…Retreat, though, isn’t Juliet’s style, and from the balcony duet on, this is her ballet. You almost hear the cogs of her brain turning as Rojo works through the various possible tactics with her suitor: denial, physical resistance, violence, and finally dull submission. Her taking of the potion, with a naturalistic gulp followed by convulsions, is so credible it leads you to wonder what would have happened had she sicked the whole lot up.

Added details and what-ifs? have progressively refined this production to the point where I doubt it can get any better…Nine leading couples are scheduled over 15 performances, but few are likely to match Rojo and Acosta’s for full-blooded range and coherence.

Dance: Romeo & Juliet – by Luke Jennings – The Observer – Mar. 12, 2006

…Tamara Rojo’s Jiliet, meanwhile, is a creation of gentle and shimmering transparency. Like the surface of a lake, she seems to register every tremor, every whisper of breeze. At times, as in the balcony scene, she seems to phrase her dancing with her racing heartbeat; at others, as when Carlos Acosta’s Romeo leaves her alone in the bedroom, the light visibly ebbs from her body…

Dance: Romeo & Juliet – by John Percival – The Stage – Mar. 07, 2006

Tamara Rojo on her present form must be the best Royal Ballet Juliet for a quarter century or more, since Gelsey Kirkland’s guest seasons. Every movement is so smooth and at the same time so full of meaning, while her feeling for the music is as perfect as her grasp of the drama.

For those who never saw Margot Fonteyn, this is the way she used to dance. And for this revival Rojo has a new Romeo – Carlos Acosta on equally fine form.

Dance: Romeo & Juliet – by Allen Robertson – The Times – Mar. 07, 2006

…Juliet, on the other hand, has scaled tragic heights. Badgered by her father, deserted by her mother, she is a pawn in a dynastic game, a prize about to be handed over to a nobleman she can’t bear to be near.

Hemmed in on all fronts – and with her secret husband of a single night now a banished murderer – Juliet bravely chooses a desperate mock-suisice ploy as a way of wriggling out of what is being foisted upon her.

Tamara Rojo conveyed all of this and much, much more. Hers is one of the most intuitively passionate, yet at the same time complexly delineated Juliets in decades. you all but hear the Bard’s lines running through her head as you see them streaming out through her body. This is dance intelligence par excellence – nuanced, delicate and bold at a single go.

The contrast between Rojo and Acosta is not always satisfying. Yes, they both dance with ardent abandon and deft assurances. Yes, their love for one another is palpable. But Acosta’s impulsiveness in no way matches the depths of Rojo’s interpretation. Instead he settles for generic young lover; the moon-struck calf swooning over his new girlfriend. It’s Juliet’s idea that they get married; he simply goes along with her sudden maturity. Swept up in her intensity, he is effectively snowballed to the altar, and then to the grave….

Dance: Romeo & Juliet – by Sarah Crompton The Telegraph–  – Mar. 07, 2006

A refurbished classic that gleams with greatness:

…But all this only acts as a foil for two central performances from Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta that absolutely gleam with greatness. When we first see him, Acosta’s Romeo is a true street fighter: sexy, insolent and smiling, in love with himself and with life. Rojo’s Juliet is solemn, dancing with her chosen suitor, Paris, with a kind of suppressed anxiety.

When they see each other, everything changes. Both dancers make time stand still as they convey the joy of their love. As Acosta jumps across the ballroom, he throws his head back in sheer happiness. Rojo watches him with a radiant smile on her face. When they finally dance together, their bodies seem to melt into one another till their hands meet in Shakespeare’s “holy palmer’s kiss”.

In the balcony scene, their dancing combines technical accuracy with absolute abandon. But what is so impressive is the way in which the steps become an expression of their emotional states. Acosta throws off tours en l’air as if they were the only way to communicate his happiness. Rojo makes standing on pointe an action of delight.

Such clearly delineated rapture makes their headlong plunge into misery all the more unbearable. By the death-filled close, I had ceased to register the beauty of the choreography; I could only see the unfolding emotions – and long more than ever for a happy ending.

Dance: Romeo & Juliet – by Clement Crisp – Financial Times – Mar. 7, 2006

…Rojo’s Juliet is now even more authoritative: ravishingly shaped, drawn with warm lines of feeling, danced with that sense of abandon that is, ultimately, the key to Juliet’s nature. It is a glorious portrait.

Dance: Romeo & Juliet – by Judith Mackrell – The Guardian – Mar. 7, 2006

…However, the second good reason why Acosta’s debut is worth the wait is that he gets to partner Tamara Rojo, one of the most affecting of the Royal’s current Juliets. Small and sweetly rounded, Rojo looks like a real child on her first entrance; dimpling and playful but retreating into a wary reserve when she encounters the grownup world. Yet within the space of a scene, she becomes a woman, her limbs nearly caving in with desire at Romeo’s first touch, her eyes darkening with adult knowledge when she first becomes aware of her lover’s true identity.

Its partly Rojo’s gift for registering inward emotion that draws a similar eloquence from Acosta. At the beginning of the balcony scene, the moment when they stand in silence together resonates with such intensity that you sense the whole of the ensuring tragedy hovering over their heads. And while the balcony duet itself is exemplarily buoyant – a flight of lifts and skimming jumps that barely touch ground – the two dancers keep that balance of dark and light wonderfully in play throughout the rest of the ballet.

Acosta’s dramatic command admittedly falters a little in the exposing last scene, but Rojo’s courage and spirit grow exponentially to compensate and it’s never in doubt that this is a terrific partnership. It is also one that’s well framed by the rest of the company. Romeo and Juliet has been flogged to death in recent seasons, yet this current cast justifies its return.

Dance: Giselle – by Jenny Gilbert – The Sunday Independent – Jan. 22, 2006

…Clearly, success or failure doesn’t only hinge on proportion and timing and narrative shaping. It’s about performing talent, and the Royal Ballet’s is currently riding sky-high. A production should also be flexible enough to let individual dancers make their mark, and though Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta have been paired in Giselle before, there’s never any knowing where they will take it next.

Rojo is, above all else, an actor-dancer. From her first appearance at her cottage door she physically marks herself out for tragedy. True, we’ve just watched the glossy-smooth Acosta prepare the way for her seduction – ditching the ducal cloak and sword to pose as a local – so we’re primed. But there is something unbearably tender about the dip of Rojo’s head, the squarish set of her body and the blithe skip in her step that makes us want to leap up there and protect this child from harm. Rojo pushes the social issue too: her Giselle is the poppet who gets to present the posy when local toffs frop by, and that cringing humility – inscribed in every muscle – is in turn almost cringe-making in the way it beckons to tragedy.

…Further telling details from Act II, when death and Giselle’s incarnation as an airy spirit, ironically unite the pair in defiance of the terrifying Wilis. I loved the trance-like rallentando of Acosta’s repeated grabs at Rojo’s vanishing form, as if trying to embrace a patch of fog. She, for her part, really does appear physically transmuted, as well as sadder and wiser all round. The package is wrapped in ensemble dancing of outstanding discipline by the corps, united in their lust for vengeance yet chillingly serene – a superb company effort.

Dance: Giselle – by David Dougill – The Sunday Times – Jan. 15, 2006

Balance of power: Rojo and Acosta have danced the definite Giselle. David Dougill is electrified.

…but I would say, on the strength fo last Tuesday’s opening performance, that the magnificent pairing of Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta is unbeatable. This was one of the most moving, breathtaking, slectrifying accounts of the Romantic classic I can remember. At the end, as the two artists stood together, amid a storm of bravas and bravos, people were calling out their names: “Tamara”, “Carlos”. I don’t recall hearing this since the days of Margot and Rudolf.

Rojo’s beauty shines from within. Her peasant Giselle is a creature of joyous innocence and grace; her mad scene is brilliantly judged and frightening; then, transformed into a ghostly Wili, her compassionate love radiates through her equally compelling appearance of otherworldliness. Acosta’s characterisation of the duplicitous Albrecht is finely crafted, his technique effortlessly virtuosic, his every move and gesture filled with noble bearing. Seeing these two dance together is more than a joy, it is a privilege. The pas de deux in the second act – ravishingly paced and phrased to Adolphe Adam’s music, under the baton of Boris Gruzin – could only be called sublime….

Dance: Giselle – by Luke Jennings – The Observer – Jan. 15, 2006

When you first catch sight of Tamara Rojo in the Royal Ballet’s production of Giselle, it’s shocking. You’ve just watched Carlos Acosta as Albrecht, preparing to indulge in a rustic seduction fantasy, and on runs this little, square-shouldered girl. A child, really, in puff sleeves, open-mouthed with disbelief that she could be of interest to such a man, let alone loved by him. Everything about her proclaims her defencelessness, and the moment is so agonising that you just stare, the tragedy opening up before you like a chasm. you know that she’s going to suffer, and that you will, too.

….But it was Rojo who made the evening unforgettable. the delicacy and power of her performance rushes straight to the heart.

When she learns of Albrecht’s deceit, she simply stands there, her hands falling with infinite slowness to her sides, her hopes dying in front of you. In the second act, infinitely sad, she seems to drift into Albrecht’s arms like snow, and when he lifts her, she appears completely weightless. This insubstantiality masks a formidable technique. Rojo’s dancing is like a kind of calligraphy, with every balance sustained, every turn held, every phrase coolly drawn to its conclusion.

Dance: Giselle – by Sarah Crompton – The Telegraph – Jan. 12, 2006

…On Tuesday night, at the Royal Opera House, Tamara Rojo took the part of the betrayed peasant girl who saves her man from death by the power of her love, and her star quality shone through. She is exceptional, combining the dramatic projection of a silent-movie star with a technical ability so strong that she makes you see the pure path of every movemtne.

In her Giselle, these qualities come together to create a fully-formed character whose grip on happiness is always very tentative. From the moment she flies onto the stage to dance with Carlos Acosta’s disguised Albrecht, there is an anxiety about her, as if she is fearful to give herself fully over to joy.

Rojo’s great ability is to make this portrayal inform every step, so when she crosses the stage in a series of attitudes, planting kisses in her lover’s hand, her actions capture the transitory nature of life and love. Her mad scene seems to unfold in the slow motion of a dawning realisation of her betrayal, before a crescendo of desperation precipitates her death.

In the second act, when Giselle becomes a Wili, condemned to haunt the forest and drive men to their doom, Rojo finds new reserves of tenderness – and melting flexibility in her movements. No longer human, her love endures.

…For me, only Rojo illuminated the ballet’s dark and truthful heart.

Dance: Giselle – by Debra Craine – The Times – Jan. 15, 2006

…Not many women today would forgive such a blatant liar, but Tamara Rojo makes you believe in the strength of Giselle’s love for Albrecht, even from beyond the grave. Leading the opening night cast, Rojo sparkled in Act I, her Giselle anxious to be wooed but skittish all the same. Her dancing was a display of classical quality backed by fabulous strength, while her mad scene was a knockout, full-bodied drama from a flesh-and-blood woman. In the spirit world Rojo becomes something else, a glorious throwback to teh 19th century, dancing on a breath, there and not there, ethereal and beautiful, yet still connected to the lifeline of her love for Albrecht….

Dance: Blancanieves – by Julio Bravo – ABC – Nov. 20, 2005

…Si Tamara Rojo se plantara ante el espejo y le preguntara, como la Reina de “Blancanieves”, aquello de: “Espejito, espejito, ¿Quién es la mejor bailarina del mundo?”, no hay duda de que escucharía: “Tú”. Y es que Tamara Rojo es hoy en día, si no la mejor bailarina del mundo (los términos absolutos en el arte son siempre peligrosos), sí una artista muy difícil de igualar. Así lo repite la crítica una y otra vez en Londres y así lo ha demostrado una vez más en Bilbao, en el estreno de “Blancanieves”, donde se sobrepuso a una lesión en el tobillo que le impedía rendir al cien por cien pero que no le impidió abrir el abanico de su arte: impecable técnica, efusividad, dulzura, coraje, musicalidad, calidez, expresividad y, otra vez, coraje (tiene tanto que hay que citarlo dos veces).

El elogio resulta especialmente satisfactorio porque Tamara es el mascarón de proa de un proyecto más que inusual: la creación de un ballet clásico en nuestro país. “Blancanieves” nace del empeño de Ricardo Cué y de Emilio Aragón, que han puesto en pie una producción llena de aciertos y ovacionada en su estreno bilbaíno en el teatro Arriaga. Si no es fácil sacar adelante una compañía de ballet en España, es mucho más complicado armar un conjunto como el que Cue y su mano derecha, Santiago de la Quintana, han conformado en los últimos meses. …

Dance: Blancanieves – by Roger Salas – El País – Nov. 11, 2005

…Tamara Rojo es una bailarina maravillosa (difícil palabra que nunca uso) y dotada, pero sobre todo, es una heroína real del trabajo. Ella es hija y producto de su tesón, de su bienaventurado empecinamiento en hacerlo mejor siempre, en vivir dentro de la espiral de esa lucha por la perfección y el éxtasis que es el gran ballet y por ese es ella ya hoy grande. Allí, en esa esfera de gran arte, se mueve ella (más alto hoy día, imposible) y su generosidad la hace venir a España a bailar esta obra. Ella no lo necesita. El público del ballet español, sin embargo, si necesita verla a ella; y a las otras. A las buenas. Su excelencia la hace capaz de hacer a la izquierda lo que otras no consiguen a la derecha natural del ballet. Parece complicado, y lo es. sus fouettés de anoche, no solo fueron buenos, sino mágicos, pero es una magia de la que sabemos el meollo: su fuerza, su trabajo. La última sección de compases de su coda dan deseos de verla otra vez, muchas veces. Recuerda otros tiempos, otras bailarinas, heroínas también como ella, mujeres capaces de hacer de la danza clásica una sublime religión que reverdece en cada giro y cada arabesque donde la respiración tiene un elevado sentido, una búsqueda en la que se cita baile, vida, arte y voluntad.

Dance: Blancanieves – by Julia Martín – El Mundo – Nov. 11, 2005

…La luz de Tamara Rojo -que se ha negado a anular sus actuaciones pese a sufrir una rotura de tendón- y el gusto por el ballet se han unido en el éxito de esta Blancanieves construida -en su danza y en su música, en su escenografía y en su libreto- sobre el rastro de otros títulos famosos….Blancanieves, protagonizada por nuestra reciente Príncipe de Asturias Tamara Rojo, es, ante todo, un montaje para ver bailar y para dejar bailar; para que los aficionados puedan enseñar a sus hijos cómo es un rond de jambe o un gran jeté….Y, por supuesto, en cada aparición de Rojo, donde hay una pleitesía a otras heroínas, desde Aurora a Kitri.

Dance: Marguerite & Armand – by Clement Crisp – Financial Times – Oct. 31, 2005

…The heroine of the past weeks has been Tamara Rojo. Like Lynn Seynmour, whom she more than pasingly resembles in style, her every action is part of a human story, exquisitely and truthfully told.

In Marguerite and Armand she reminds us that the original Lady of the Camelias was dead at the age of 23, and her story is all the more pathetic because of this. We see, not the mature courtesan of Fonteyn’s creation (and Fonteyn was 43 when the role was made for her) nor Sylvie Guillem’s worldly creature, but a young woman still vulnerable, still even hopeful. The progress of the action, danced with dulcet grace by Rojo, becomes even more heart-tearing. Her innate musicality, her simplicity in playing (tuberculosis racking her body in frightful spasms) and her intense concentration (her meeting with Armand like Juliet first seeing Romeo in its heart-giving finality) are signs of a reading that remakes, and beautifully so, the ballet.

She needs a more ardent Armand than Federico Bonelli (agreeable, sensitive, but not aflame), just as she needs a madder and more intoxicated James than the pleasing but less-than-headlong Rupert Pennefather in La Sylphide. Rojo’s sylph is adorable, meltingly mistress of every sweet pose and pretty step, and in the death scene, of course, a tear-jerker. Rojo is, for my money, the most impressive, the most expressive, ballerina in the country.

Dance: Marguerite & Armand – by Jeffery Taylor – Sunday Express – Oct. 23, 2005

…On the other hand, waiting for Tamara Rojo’s debut in Ashton’s expanded duet, Marguerite and Armand, created in 1963 as a Fonteyn/Nureyev showcase, had tongues hanging out. And well they might. Only a handful of actor/dancers come alive on stage, like her, above the waist.

Rojo hypnotises with her face and heart while her body frees her from the laws of gravity. We are lucky indeed to have her in our midst.

Dance: Ondine – by John Percival – The Stage – Apr. 28, 2005

Frederick Ashton’s three-act ballet Ondine was primarily inspired by his love of the sea, the surge and swell of waves and not since Margot Fonteyn, his original protagonist in 1958, has there been an interpreter so apt as Tamara Rojo, dancing the premiere of this revival.

The smooth flow of her movement and the sensitivity of her response to Hans Werner Henze’s expressively colourful music combine with the deep sincerity of her interpretation to bring the character of the adored water nymph credibly to life. She is conceived as literally without a heart (witness her surprise on first feeling the heartbeat of her admirer Palemon) but not at all heartless – a most touching, entirely convincing performance and, as always with Rojo, beautifully danced.

Dance: Ondine – by Jann Parry – The Observer – Apr. 24, 2005

…But when Henze describes the naiad heroine, Ondine, Tamara Rojo is in her element. The role was fashioned for Margot Fonteyn, and Rojo conveys a similar sense of wonder at the world humans inhabit.

Like Fonteyn, she’s both sprite and siren, innocently seductive. Childlike, she plays with her shadow, then, once Palemon captures her and she discovers what having a heart means, both are doomed. In the final tableau, her support has gone: he lies lifeless on the seabed; she mourns as a mermaid forever.

So long as Rojo is on stage, the ballet is a marvel. She embodies the music throughout her many pas de deux with Jonathan Cope as Palemon. She’s delightful in her confrontation with his harridan of a fiancee, Berta, played by Elizabeth McGorian, who makes the most of an impossible role and costume. But she and the other characters merely serve to make three acts of what is essentially an ode to a very special ballerina.

Dance: Ondine – by David Dougill – The Sunday Times – Apr. 24, 2005

…Tamara Rojo, the first of three Ondines in the current revival, is a beautifully convincing, capricious and touching water sprite, flitting and trilling in her pretty, witty dance with her shadow, flowing through the fluid choreography with which Ashton poetically expressed the theme of water. She captivates us with her innocence, and moves us with the tragic fate that befalls her and her mortal lover, Palemon.

Dance: Ondine – by Clement Crisp – The Financial Times – Apr. 21, 2005

…and Tamara Rojo is Ondine. I often watched Fonteyn in the role and adored her. But Rojo’s reading, so fluent, so easy, so musical and so lustrously drawn in dance, gives the role something even more compelling than did Fonteyn. She recalls – how mysterious – Pavlova, whose image haunted Ashton’s writing for women. The great duet in the second scene, when Ondine and Palemon celebrate their love, is astounding in its beauty and its expressive force. This is a masterpiece honoured, shown at its best.

Dance: Ondine – by Jane Simpson – Ballet Co. – Apr. 19, 2005

…The leads on this occasion were Tamara Rojo (Ondine) and Jonathan Cope (Palemon). Both by now are familiar with their roles, but there was a freshness and urgency about their partnership, and a real feeling of spontaneity, particularly in their first meeting as if they had made the steps up on the spot. Rojo is wide eyed and playful: her Ondine is inhuman, enchanting, unconscious of her charm and the chaos she causes. Her liquid, rippling arms show us the water she moves through, The role of Palemon is more that of a solicitous partner rather than requiring technical fireworks, and Cope’s tender support was just what was required here, with Rojo confidently entrusting herself to him. At the very end of his career, Cope has at last found previously unsuspected reserves of passion, and the final Act 3 pas de deux where the betrayed Ondine returns to kill him with a longed-for kiss had real anguish and desperation.

Dance: Rite of Spring – by Clement Crisp – The Financial Times – Apr. 13, 2005

…About Rite I can but report that it looks as potent as ever, and that Tamara Rojo as the Chosen One gives (how unsurprising!) a performance of most searching intelligence: she concentrates within herself every aspect of the role – its terror, its inevitability, its mysterious sense of possession by a force greater than she. Like Monica Mason, for whom the role was made and whose interpretation must be seen as one of the greatest in the Royal Ballet’s postwar history, Rojo is possessed – by dance, by score, by the central force of this myth. Wonderful artistry.

Dance: Manon – by Clement Crisp – The Financial Times – Feb. 23, 2005

…But given, as it was at the end of last week, with Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta as the lovers, and José Martin as Lescaut, it earns its place as a delight to be savoured as often as possible.

…But Manon ultimately depends upon its heroine. Tamara Rojo puts not a foot wrong, nor a curve of her delicious torso, nor a decorative arabesque of her hands. (How enchantingly these can end a phrase.) She steps from the coach and we are beguiled. (I have been listening to the recording of Massenet’s opera from a 1930s broadcast, with Maggie Teyte and Heddle Nash. Rojo has the same freshness, the same delicious allure that we hear in Teyte’s performance.) And when GM offers her jewels and furs, Rojo hugs them to herself, and we know that she is doomed.

In everything – in dancing exquisite in outline, inevitable in its progress – Rojo shows us MacMillan’s Manon to the life, and death. So, too, Acosta’s des Grieux. The dance, of course, has magnificent physicality. It is also Acosta’s perceptions about the character, the almost (but only almost) naivety of his playing, its directness, that speak so truly about the young man. He loves, and that is all. His decency, his sometimes desperation, all are there, and he provides both a setting for Manon’s feelings and a mirror to their selfishness. A splendid partnership does honour to the ballet.

Dance: Swan Lake – by Clement Crisp – The Financial Times – Jan. 13, 2005

Rather after the fashion of those old plays with subtitles, the Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake on Tuesday should have boasted the rider Or Virtuosity Rewarded. Pierina Legnani, Petersburg’s first Odette/Odile in 1895, is still remembered for her speciality of 32 fouettès introduced into the ballroom scene, but though Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta have skills that are the stuff of bravura, these are placed wholly at the service of the ballets they perform. Not showing off, but showing: showing how supreme ability may illuminate, even redeem, a step, a role. Dross, even, made gold.

So it was as both artists renewed those central characters who can too often (with lesser talents) seem the incarnation of every preconceived notion about swans and Tchaikovsky and deadened responses to ballet as a vivifying, rather than embalming, art.

Rojo presents Odette’s dances as if pouring thick cream in long streams of luscious movement. The impulse is strong, the muscular tone generous, the emotion – she is unrivalled in the Royal Ballet as a dance-actor – saturating the choreography, which speaks more eloquently than we have seen for years with Royal casts. She balances and turns with supernal ease, never hurrying save when the dance demands it, and favouring slowest tempi. Each position flowers in the air, as in our imagination, and lyric tragedy speads. (I may quibble with her moltissimo lento view of Odette’s solo, since the music is stretched almost to breaking point, but the effect is heart-rending.)

This odette is doomed, knows she is doomed, and Siegfried’s oath of fidelity barely touches her psyche. Odile becomes the most malign, most hypnotic of visions. (For the record, every fourth fouettè was a triple and, juicily, deliciously so, a pose in arabesque was held flawlessly for an ecstatic eternity.) The reading, you will understand, was commandinly grand, not because of its brilliancy – though that might seem justification enough – but because of Rojo’s dramatic and physical intelligence (a double gift rare among ballerinas). She has ever been a notable inhabitant of this, alas, predictable drama. Now she makes it seem unpredictable (and profoundly true) in its every aspect…….

Dance: Swan Lake – by Ismene Brown – The daily Telegraph – Jan. 04, 2005

…The enormous poetic vision demands interpreters without compromise, and in the three heavyweight opening cast, Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta soared with this ballet to its further planes.

The compact Rojo has a less bird-like physique than Zenaida Yanowsky and Alina Cojocaru – the albatros-limbed Yanowsky made a splendid flying entrance, while Cojocaru delicately fluttered on, the water drops almost visible on her.

But the double role of Odette-Odile is about more than costume and length of limb. Rojo has the superlative technique and poetic imagination to build a compelling picture of this eerie creature – bird, woman, queen and prisoner.

Her Odette was dignified and isolated, a queen fatalistically resigned to imprisonment, only to be heartrendingly broken down by Acosta’s promise and betrayal. At all stages one felt how thin was the possibility of a happy ending between these two people – his simple conviction against her complex consciousness. Their final pas de deux was a last, private conversation before execution, its sadness overwhelming.

But Rojo also did something revelatory with her Odile. She was cute and sensationally alluring, of course, but she also hinted in her grazed eyes that this vamping doll might have her own tragedy as the evil magician Rothbart’s creature – and Acosta responded to this implied vulnerability. Masters of all dance’s skills, they ask human questions that cling in the mind for days.

Swan Lake – by Elise – Ballet.co – Jan. 3, 2005

January 3rd 2005 may well go down in history as one of a trinity of performances the like of which have not been seen since the three legendary Fonteyn/Nureyev performances of Giselle at Covent Garden. Such is the artistry of Rojo and Acosta in Swan Lake that anyone who had a ticket knows just how fortunate they were.

…The Act II pas de deux between Odette and Siegfried was beyond sublime. Rojo’s Odette is fluis, her penche and cambre movements telling the story. The overhead lifts looked like silent wailing. There is some doubt over the introduction of these lifts since in 1895 costume cut alone would have rendered these very unlikely. Odette was never more luminous and shimmering than when performing her petit battement sur le cou de pied moves at the end of the love duet.

Act III has all the fireworks, and tonight you could feel the stars exploding as Acosta and Rojo danced to the music as Siegfried and Odile. Rojo’s Odile looks like someone you would not want to mess with. Her balances were strong, the famous fouette rond the jambe en tournants were fast, secure and sometimes triple or quadruple turns. Rojo held her balances longer than seemed humanly possible. Acosta’s leaps and turns were gravity-defying and it’s a wonder all the scenery stayed in place. The moment when Odile laughs in Siegfried’s face is chilling, and Rojo’s expression, despite the smile, reminded me of the famous picture “The Scream”.

Act IV, back at the lakeside sees a heartbroken Odette and a suitably remorseful Siegfried. At last they are re-united after jumping into the lake which surely sees the end of Von Rothbart…

Rapturous and lengthy applause greeted every movement Rojo and Acosta made, and their curtain calls were just the same. Richly deserved, they looked happy with their performance.

It was just a beautiful, beautiful evening.

Swan Lake – by John Percival – The Stage – Dec. 30, 2004

….The leading roles have four or five varying interpreters during the run but they don’t come better than the opening night couple, who are as dazzling and – equally important – as emotional as we have seen for many a long year. Most ballerinas would be eclipsed by Carlos Acosta’s brilliance and elegance as the hero Siegfried. Not Tamara Rojo, however. Her immensely fast and secure fouettees – there must have been nearly 40 of them – and her astonishingly long-held balance provided a breathtaking climax to her seductive Odile, villainous alter ego of her tragic Swan Queen Odette, whose tender love grew movingly to a final self-sacrifice.

Rojo and Acosta work beautifully together and one or two out-of-time soloists in supporting roles could learn a lot from the way this pair respond unfailingly to the patters and likewise the feelings of Tchaikovsky’s score.

Swan Lake – by Debra Craine – The Times – Dec. 27, 2004

…Tamara Rojo led the opening cast. She is a womanly Odette who greets Prince Siegfried with voluptuous aloofness, a creature to be desired but not touched. At first this worried me. I feared she would rely on technical expertise at the expense of feeling, but as the ballet progressed Rojo developed the drama and by Act IV she had buried my doubts in a swirl of passionate expression that carried her Odette over the edge of life itself.

Rojo is a dancer of enormous strength and proficiency, and she used her assets brilliantly in Act III’s famous seduction scene. Here, as the evil Odile, Rojo regaled Siegfried with an Olympian display of ballet technique – phenomenal balances, astonishing turns – virtually daring anyone to outdance her.

Carlos Acosta is not one of nature’s Siegfrieds. Broody introspection doesn’t sit easily on a dancer so fabulously extrovert. Yet he, too, rose to the dramatic imperative of the final act, swept along by Rojo’s conviction.

Royal Ballet ‘Swan Lake’ – by Jeffery Taylor – Sunday Express – Dec. 26, 2004

What a night for British ballet. Never mind if the ballerina was Spanish, nor that her partner was Cuban, last Thursday Tamara Rojo entered her own rarefied stratosphere of brilliance as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake….

We all know by now that Rojo is one of the finest actresses currently on the London stage. Her staggering attention to detail focuses the unforced power of her joy, passion and tragedy as Manon and Juliet, even her short solo as the half mad 1930s socialite, Isadora Duncan, is mind blowing.

But Petipa’s Swan Lake is a classical structure, illustrating what we hope is an eternal truth – love conquers all – by using a strict physical technique set within an austere framework, an illusion which pretentious performance and technical inadequacy will instantly shatter. From Rojo’s first lakeside appearance as the woman emerging from her avian curse, the entire house is spell bound. You really could hear a feather drop. In the famous duet with her nemesis lover, Prince Siegfried (Carlos Acosta), and without raising an eyebrow or faking a sigh, Rojo sucked the sympathy from 2,200 people by performing the savagely simple steps with unassailable honesty.

Swan Lake – by Jann Parry – The Observer – Jan. 2, 2005

Rojo’s tragic heroine, Odette, is a woman trapped in swan guise, hating her bondage to the enchanter, von Rothbart. She’s warm-blooded, unlike ethereal Russian swan-maidens: Acosta’s Siegfried is eager to wrap his arms around her yielding body, drown in her dark eyes. Ten, as Odile, she’s cool, the reverse of the usual dual-role interpretation. She entices Siegfried by having no need of him: she can whip off multiple fouettes and balance unsupported with superhuman ease.

He smiles with genuine joy, while her laugh of triumph send shills down your spine. Above all, the clarity of their dancing reclaims the staging from shadowy prettiness: Swan Lake tells a cruel story, as Tchaikovsky know.

Dance: Cinderella – by Clement Crisp – The Financial Times – Dec. 23, 2004

…Meanwhile, at Covent Garden, Cinderella still goes to the ball (looking, in its new decoration, like an apprentice drag-queen). But, hoy, tamara Rojo is playing the heroine with grace, delicious musicality and sweetest technique. Every second shines, lifts the heart, goes to the heart. It is a ravishing interpretation, and reminds us of the beauties of classic dance. To her, and to all dancers and audiences, a happy Christmas.

‘Scenes de Ballet?, ‘Five Brahms Waltzes in the manner of Isadora Duncan?…. by Jane Simpson – Nov. 17, 2004

…The intervening work was the Five Brahms Waltzes in the manner of Isadora Duncan, given an astonishing performance by Tamara Rojo. Far more extreme than Lynn Seymour, she gave us a portrait which I could imagine is rather more like the real Isadora, whilst Seymour’s is Ashton’s memory of her. This Isadora is driven, passionate – angry, even – and Rojo gives her a vividly theatrical immediacy. It’s a stunning portrait and can live beside the softer Seymour version, which it in no way displaces. And in either version, the start of the last dance, as Isadora runs down to the footlights with rose petals spilling from her hands, is one of the great dance images of the last century.

Ashton 100th Celebrations – by Giannandrea Poesio

…For me, however, the highlights of the divertissements section were the Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan and Voices of Spring. For many dance-goers, myself included, the former dance will always be linked to its creator, the ballerina Lynn Seymour. Still, Tamara Rojo is by far the best interpreter of the contemporary generation I have seen. Not only does she bring back happy memories, but she also bestows a strongly individual quality on the work, which allows her to evoke the legendary Isadora Duncan in a theatrically immediate way.

Ashton 100 – by Debra Craine – The Times – Nov. 16, 2004

…Happily, we have all of Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan (1976), Ashton’s tribute to his muse. Tamara Rojo goes to town in this barefoot solo, unshackled from dance convention and running wild as the wind. In her auburn wig and peach tunic, Rojo’s Isadora oozes divine derangement and histrionic enthusiasm.

Ashton 100 – by Judith Mackrell – The Guardian – Nov. 15, 2004

…It’s left to Tamara Rojo, dancing Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan to close the historical gap. Rojo dares, as Duncan did, to range from childlike simplicity to diva histrionics – and, as Duncan did, she animates the stage with the force of her imagination. It’s a heroic performance and Ashton would surely have loved it.

Gala de l’Entente Cordiale à l’Opera de Paris – Renè Sirvin – Oct. 3, 04

…c’est sans doute sa compatriote Tamara Rojo, ètoile du Royal Ballet, qui fut la grande rèvèlation de la seconde partie du programme. En tunique antique et pieds nus cette artiste trop rarement applaudie en France, interprèta un magistral solo: cinq valses de Brahms à la manière d’Isadora duncan. Tour à tour rêveuse, enjouèe, passionnèe, violente, fèminine et sensuelle, elle èvoqua magnifiquement la grande danseuse que Frèdèric Ashton put voir danser peu avant sa mort tragique en 1927. Il conçut cette chorègraphie pour Lynn Seymour en 1976, et Tamara Rojo semble aujourd’hui l’incarnation même d’Isadora Duncan, telle que nous pouvons l’imaginer à travers les puissants dessins de Bourdelle et Dunoyer de Segonzac notamment.

Dance: The Royal Ballet – by IAnna Kisselgoff – The New York Times – July 15, 2004

…Ms. Rojo, who has appeared here at galas and with Victor Ullate’s company from Madrid, is a major classical ballerina. She can project through technique and although small can also project dramatically, as her devastating permormance showed in the last duet from “Ondine”. In Ashton’s three-act ballet, set to Hans Werner Henze’s modernistic music, the knight Palemon weds the water sprite Ondine and then dies with her final, fatal kiss. Approaching Iñaki Urlezaga, Ms. Rojo was all perfect classical line but was also imbued with dard mystery. Rarely has Ashton created so potent an image of erotic love as brought out by these dancers. Visibly seduced, this Palemon could not resist the last embrace just as Ms. Rojo, the embodiment of desire, accepted that embrace with grim tenderness.

Dance: Cinderella – by Mary Cargill – www.danceviewtimes.com – July 19, 2004

…The Cinderella, Tamara Rojo, has amazing gifts: a perfectly classical body, and a beautiful face. She is centered, strong, and not at all flashy. She was a bit too playful in the first act, dancing with the broom as if it were a toy, and not a longed for, imaginary partner. She could also have projected a bit more warmth in the ballroom scene; she certainly didn’t need to grin, but she could have used her large, dark eyes a bit more expressively. Perhaps she thought her dancing was expressive enough, and it almost was…..

Dance: Cinderella – by Robert Gottlieb – The New York Observer – July19 19, 2004

…Rojo is a strong and convincing classicist, and in the ballroom scene she was very beautiful, with her lovely body and legs and her purity of approach.

Dance: Mayerling – by Ismene Brown – The daily Telegraph – March 19, 2004

…Cope’s transformation was due to his coaching by the fabulously daring Lynn Seymour, the original Mary Vetsera in Mayerling, and to his partner in the role now, the equally astonishing Tamara Rojo.

As the crazed groupie who joins Rudolf in his grotesque suicidal ecstasy, Rojo makes the head swim to watch her, a little, black-haired, enchanting sensation-seeker, high on her hormones and avid for celebrity. She makes no excuses at all for Vetsera, and, as she coils herself lubriciously aroung Cope, you have to remind yourself that this in only ballet – because it so terrifyingly feels like ghastly reality.

Dance: Mayerling – by Jeffery Taylor – Sunday Express – March 21, 2004

…Then just when you think he, and you, cannot take any more, he meets his Nemesis in the tiny but dynamic shape of Tamara Rojo. Rojo, as Mary Vetsera, a blue blooded tart, is a ticking sex bomb eager to show Rudolf a thing or two about going too far.

Rojo’s Mary, intrigued by Rudolf’s bedroom games with a pistol, realises there is only one thrill left for herself, her Prince and his demons – death. What a performance, what dancers – Cope and Rojo, two stars spectacularly colliding last week and redefining the future of British dance.

Dance: Mayerling – by Bruce – Ballet co.uk – March 19, 2004

Each year there are but a handful of really great performances. Other nights may well be enjoyable and uplift the spirits but very special nights lodge long term in the memory and that’s exactly what Jonathan Cope and Tamara Rojo did for me in their opening Mayerling performance of the run….

Cope’s Crown Prince Rudolf is anything but noble: a scary portrayal that gets scarier when Rojo arrives half way through the ballet. A woman determined to get her man and the only woman in a sea of them who understands the ticking time bomb he is. Ultimately she dies with him – both mercifully released. The pdd between them are amongst MacMillan’s finest – riskier than many with hige throws, twists and unusual jumps. It all totters on a terrifying knife edge emotionally and technically: they take huge risks as Rojo, particularly, becomes totally consumed…..This is the Royal Ballet at its world best. Other casts will be good I’m sure, but live on the very wild side and see Cope and Rojo if you can.

Dance: Mayerling – by Jann Parry – The Observer – March 21, 2004

…His terrorised bride cannot stand up to him on their wedding night. He meets his match, though, in Rojo’s Mary. She’s no innocent; one look at him from under her dark eyelashes brings him to his knees.

Avid for sensation, she winds her pliant body aroung him, inviting him to lose his soul. Beautiful and depraved, she’s a monster. Cope’s Rudolf absorbs her into his bloodstream like the morphine he mainlines. She kills him, though he’s the one who blows their brains out. Witnessing their pas de deux is an act of indecency.

Dance: Mayerling – by Ami – Ballet co.uk – March 18, 2004

…Rojo’s Mary is the perfect partner for Cope’s Rudolf. Her transformation from a young playful girl in Act I to an obsessive, infatuated teen in Act II is complete – she is a young, beautiful woman aware of herself and her body. This Mary is raw sensuality, and she knows it to a point that it becomes frightening. In many ways she seems more calm and collected, and thus perhaps even slightly madder, than Rudolf. Rudolf has been obsessing with guns/skulls/drugs/sex for years – and Mary quickly leaps into this world, making the obsessions “her” domain. The gun doesn’t scare her, she willingly points and fires with no fear, no desire to put it down, and when it is in Rudolf’s hands, she is not scared of it. And, as noted in another review, the manner in which she watches Rudolf inject his last morphine is spine-chilling.

Dance: Mayerling – by Clement Crisp – The Financial Times – March 18, 2004

…I think this portrait a wonderful summation of Cope’s artistry over his years with the Royal Ballet, and one perfectly understood. Perfect, too, Tamara Rojo’s Mary Vetsera. Rojo offers luscious physicality, line that pours creamily into the choreography and constant revelations about the hectic temperament of a character who is still only a girl. It is a flawless interpretation, whose physical outlines are ravishing, and ravishingly expressive

Dance: Mayerling – by Debra Craine – The Times – March 19, 2004

…As Mary, Tamara Rojo is no less wonderful. Her dancing is exceptional, the technique beautifully placed yet wildly sensual. Rojo brings such overt eroticism to the teenage Mary that it’s almost indecent watching her wrap herself around Rudolf and his sick fetishes.

Dance: Mayerling – by Sarah Frater – Evening Standard – March 18, 2004

…Opening the current run, Jonathan Cope and Tamara Rojo brought an extraordinary clarity to the lead roles. Cope’s Rudolf is a despairing and vicious man, rejected by his mother, the excellent Zenaida Yanowsky…. Tamara Rojo was equally good, her Mary a star-struck teenager-turned-professional pleasure seeker, whose sexual curiosity knows no bounds. Together, Rojo and Cope are a powerful pair, physically well matched and willing to take considerable risks. There was no holding back in their last duet, a passionate series of skidding runs and flying turns, and increasingly erotic entanglements.

Dance: Mayerling – by Judith Mackrell – The Guardian – March 18, 2004

…Tamara Rojo is equally extraordinary as Vetsera and in the lovers’ first pas de deux, her ruthless and extravagantly yielding little body goads Rudolf to such extremes of sensation there seems nowhere else for them to go but death. By act three Cope looks wasted, and the gagging intensity with which Rojo watches him inject his last shot of morphine is almost more scary than the shots that finally kill them.

Dance: Giselle – by Judith Mackrell – The Guardian – January 15, 2004

…Tamara Rojo, by contrast, emphasises the physical difference between the acts. Her Giselle starts out as a fizzing, hopeful girl, her quick glance and flirty footwork signalling every stage of her intoxication with Albrecht. In the second act, however, Rojo finds a radiant stillness in her character, deploying her formidably centred balances to suspend Giselle in a supernatural world.

ARTS: Cinderella, CLEMENT CRISP – Financial Times, Jan. 9, 2004

…-Rojo cannot make a meaningless or uninteresting step in anything she does. She dances, and we believe, and delight in believing. Her Cinderella dreams, lives her dreams, and we rejoice at her feelings and at the sweetness with which she shows them, as movement pours through her, each solo a joy, phrased angelically.