Tamara Rojo and Isaac Hernandez in Hans van Manen’s Adagio Hammerklavier. © Dave Morgan

Last month, current former dancers from the English National Ballet made several claims to The Times (anonymously) about current director Tamara Rojo, stating that she is the reason many dancers have been leaving the company over the last few years. This was surprising to many, as reports of her work with the company have generally been very positive. 

The dancers accused her of favoring lead principal Isaac Hernández, with whom she is in a relationship. They also said that Rojo was often intimidating in rehearsals, would alternate between screaming and giving dancers the silent treatment, and pressured dancers to perform while injured. 

Earlier this week, Rojo responded to the claims in an article in the Evening Standard. In regards to her relationship with Hernández, Rojo states there's "not even a possibility" of conflict because "he has won all the awards you can possibly win, so there was nowhere I could promote him." She also mentioned they’ve never kept their relationship a secret, stating that "all I can say is that we've always been honest and I hoped there was no animosity towards us."

In terms of atmosphere, Rojo said that those accusations seemed unfounded, saying that even though dancers had left “we felt it was explicable because a lot of change had been going on. We didn't feel it was unnatural, that there was anything to be concerned about." 

Rojo also emphasized the importance she placed on her dancer’s health, citing things she did such as replacing the sprung floors in the studios, hiring a sports scientist, psychologist, and nutritionist. Rojo also claimed she increased physical therapy hours for the dancers. 

Read the full interview here.

photo: Tamara Rojo and Isaac Hernandez in Hans van Manen’s Adagio Hammerklavier. © Dave Morgan

About the author

Anne Luben has performed works by notable choreographers such as Donald McKayle, Bill T. Jones, Jiri Kylian, Idan Cohen, Alex Ketley, and Summer Lee Rhatigan, among others.