Prima ballerina Daria Klimentová talks to Georgina Butler about pirates, perfect partners and pointe shoes ahead of English National Ballet’s return to Milton Keynes Theatre.
Daria Klimentová is English National Ballet’s senior principal dancer. She has been one of Britain’s best-loved ballerinas for two decades and her clean and pure technique makes her a joy to watch.
Daria was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), and started gymnastics when she was 5 years old. At 10 she entered the Prague State Conservatoire of Music and Dance where she was placed into a training scheme for future principal dancers. Upon graduating she was immediately offered a soloist contract with the National Theatre Ballet Company in Prague. A move to the Capab/Kruik Ballet based in Cape Town, South Africa, preceded three years with Scottish Ballet.
In 1996, Daria was invited by the then Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Derek Deane, to join English National Ballet. Her repertoire includes all the major classical ballet roles and works by many contemporary choreographers.
In 2011 she was featured in two episodes of the BBC documentary series The Agony and the Ecstasy – a fascinating insight into English National Ballet. Viewers followed Daria and her regular dance partner – the young Russian principal Vadim Muntagirov – as they prepared for the famous “in the round” Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The pair have forged a remarkable partnership, which is frequently likened to the Fonteyn/Nureyev relationship. The documentary also showed the chaotic process of creating the Sugar Plum Fairy role for Wayne Eagling’s Nutcracker at the Coliseum Theatre, London.
Now in her forties, Daria continues to captivate audiences with her impeccable dancing. As well as being in great demand as a guest artist all over the world, this prima ballerina is also a talented photographer and highly respected director/teacher.
It is with excitement, then, that I learn I will have the opportunity to talk to Daria ahead of English National Ballet’s return to Milton Keynes Theatre for the premiere of Le Corsaire. The chance to interview a classical ballerina of such fame appeals to both my undying love of all things ballet and my ambition to educate the people of Milton Keynes about the wonders of dance. We should be honoured that English National Ballet debuted The Sleeping Beauty with Tamara Rojo here last year and that they have chosen to premiere their latest work in the new city.
Once upon a time, English National Ballet took to the stage to present The Sleeping Beauty…
The Sleeping Beauty was the very first ballet I was taken to see at a theatre as a child and it remains a favourite of mine.
World-famous ballerina Tamara Rojo’s first outing as both Artistic Director of, and principal ballerina with, English National Ballet saw her take to the stage at Milton Keynes Theatre last week, to dance Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.
A narrative ballet, bringing to life the world’s favourite fairytale, The Sleeping Beauty is often the standard by which classical ballet companies are judged. This is because it is one of the biggest and most difficult ballets to stage, showcasing pure, unadulterated dance – heavenly for lovers of classical productions.
Tamara herself acknowledges the importance of such opulent productions and the commendable commitment that English National Ballet shows in meeting touring obligations. In an interview prior to the start of English National Ballet’s latest tour, she told me: “Classical ballet is a big and important part of the repertoire for a ballet company as it is traditional and it is what draws new audiences to the ballet.”
On opening night, Tamara would have been all too aware of the judgements being made of her – as both newly acquired chief ballerina (returning to the company where she first flourished as a principal) and top boss. What pressure she must have felt to dance as a carefree sixteen-year-old princess while carrying with her the challenge of ensuring the Company survives as a business in a climate of cuts – dancing with her very own employees!
Tamara Rojo tells Georgina Butler all about her new job, The Sleeping Beauty and what she loves to do when she isn’t dancing…
An enchanting fairytale comes to Milton Keynes Theatre this month when English National Ballet, led by Tamara Rojo, brings a sumptuous production of The Sleeping Beauty to the city.
This classical ballet company comprises 67 dancers and travels the country, bringing ballet to the masses. Ahead of the run at Milton Keynes Theatre, I was lucky enough to catch up with the talented Tamara Rojo – former principal with The Royal Ballet and new Artistic Director of English National Ballet – to learn more about her new job and what audiences have to look forward to.
Tamara Rojo is a Spanish prima ballerina, known for her strong dramatic sense, expressive musicality and powerful technique. Announced as English National Ballet’s new Artistic Director back in April, this autumn she formally takes on the top management position – becoming the driving force behind the company and its creative vision. Speaking to her, it is clear she possesses passion, brains and ambition, coupled with the grace and enduring ability to interpret any role that she demonstrates on stage.
Strictly Gershwin dance show is guaranteed to get toes tapping and spirits soaring!
Billed as a dazzling homage to American composer George Gershwin, the big band era and the glamour of musical motion pictures, Strictly Gershwin is coming to Milton Keynes Theatre.
The piece was premiered in 2008 at the Royal Albert Hall as part of English National Ballet’s hugely popular and successful series of in-the-round ballet presentations.
Now, this month, the full company of 67 dancers and a live jazz orchestra are bringing a proscenium arch version of the show to the new city.