The San Francisco Ballet has just announced that Tamara Rojo will become its next artistic director, following the retirement of Helgi Tomasson, who resigns at the end of this year after 37 years. Rojo will move to San Francisco with her husband, Isaac Hernández, who was recently appointed director of SFB after previously dancing there; she will take the reins at the end of 2022.
Rojo comes to SFB from the English National Ballet, where she has been widely acclaimed for her leadership; since 2012, she has been both artistic director and senior director. Dance magazine awarded her a Dance Magazine Award last month, and she was recently named “most powerful woman in ballet” by the British newspaper The temperature in a report on his reconstruction of the classic Petipa Raymonde, premiered Jan. 18.
According to Dance Data Project, SFB has the second largest budget of any American ballet company (behind only the New York City Ballet), and will now become the largest with a single female artistic director. As Michayla Kelly, head of research for the DDP in response to Rojo’s appointment, points out, “This has the potential to reduce the gender pay gap for ballet artistic directors in the United States and to change the landscape of ballet art. ballet in the United States’
A former star of the Royal Ballet, the Spanish ballerina first made a name for herself with her impeccable technique and magnetic performances. At ENB, Rojo at makes the company a major player on the world stage by commissioning works such as a reinvention of Giselle by Akram Khan, and bringing in international stars like Hernández and Jeffrey Cirio. She has also championed female choreographers, commissioning over 40 works by women during her tenure.
In a press release, Rojo said, “I have long admired the San Francisco Ballet as one of America’s most creative dance companies, providing so many different artistic voices the opportunity to create works for some of the best dancers in the world. I am delighted to join SF Ballet to add to the innovative spirit of the company as we reassess what the future of ballet can and should look like, opening up the best that our art form has to offer to the public. as wide as possible.
ENB is currently in the process of forming an advisory committee to assist the board in the search for Rojo’s replacement.