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Interview with Tamara Rojo


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#1 dirac

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

From The Guardian:

An interview with Tamara Rojo.

I get on well with men. I tend to know where I stand. I have more male friends than female friends, and I know that's unpopular. I'm not willing to share emotion and that's something that makes female friendships. I share emotional problems with two women, no more.

Women only have to sacrifice more than men because we have more options. One option is to be a mother, which a man doesn't have. If I chose not to have children, that's not a sacrifice, it's a choice. But being a mother has this weight so if you choose not to, you are seen to be giving up something enormous.


Seems to me company director Tomas Rojo might find himself in a bit of hot water for coming out with this. It's only recently in the ballet world that more female dancers have been able to have children during their peak childbearing years and return to work. It took a long time to get to that place, and for many years and for many female dancers it was a sacrifice and not a real choice at all. I would assume that Rojo isn't going to let these views affect maternity leave policy, however. Thoughts?

#2 aurora

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:42 PM

From The Guardian:

An interview with Tamara Rojo.


I get on well with men. I tend to know where I stand. I have more male friends than female friends, and I know that's unpopular. I'm not willing to share emotion and that's something that makes female friendships. I share emotional problems with two women, no more.

Women only have to sacrifice more than men because we have more options. One option is to be a mother, which a man doesn't have. If I chose not to have children, that's not a sacrifice, it's a choice. But being a mother has this weight so if you choose not to, you are seen to be giving up something enormous.


Seems to me company director Tomas Rojo might find himself in a bit of hot water for coming out with this. It's only recently in the ballet world that more female dancers have been able to have children during their peak childbearing years and return to work. It took a long time to get to that place, and for many years and for many female dancers it was a sacrifice and not a real choice at all. I would assume that Rojo isn't going to let these views affect maternity leave policy, however. Thoughts?


That is an interesting thought. I didn't love her expression of the sentiment, however I'm guessing that as with many women who are childfree, she's been asked about that decision a lot, and the question usually is not without a sense of judgement.
I'd take it (especially given her wording "If I chose not to have children") as a statement of her own feelings about her decision. As in, don't pity me, I did what I wanted.

#3 dirac

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 05:06 PM

Oh, I agree, aurora. I thought she was also trying to say that not having children didn't define her as a person, which is certainly fair enough. That said, some of her generalizations are far-reaching, to say the least. And a male company director who announced he didn't have many female friends because they're all about emotions.....ouch.

#4 bart

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 05:27 PM

Rojo's manner of addressing all the topics in the interview is remarkably direct, succinct, no-nonsense. She seems the sort of person who has made her own life and therefore sees almost everything as a matter of personal choices.

For many years I had to please others, moulding myself to their artistic opinions, but I feel truly free on stage now. I use my own judgment and follow my own criteria.


This new freedom extends even to subjects -- like the current situation in Spain -- that are not directly related to her new assignment for ENB. I like confidence in leaders, male or female, but only up to a point. I suspect that Tamara Rojo (or, indeed, "Tomas Rojo") might need a little help in toning things down as she spends more time on the job.

#5 dirac

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:44 AM

In my working life I've come across more than one woman who will say that she doesn't like working for or with women, and women who prefer dealing with men, and I'm always interested when I come across this sort of thing. You rarely hear the reverse from men (they may actually prefer the society of women but it's not often you hear them saying so).

#6 ksk04

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:15 PM

The women I've met who said that kind of thing usually seem to justify it with stereotypes of women's behavior: "Oh I don't like drama, so I have male friends" / "I'm not touchy feeling things so I hang out with men". It always seems about distancing themselves from cliches of women, when the reality of female friendship is usually not like that at all (if it is, perhaps it's tme to find some new friends). But to each his/her own!

I hate to say it, but the lack of emotional expression that she admits to having in her personal life comes across in Rojo's performances. I find her very guarded and closed off when I watch videos of her and struggle to see the great dramatic actress that she is hailed as. I guess this might change if I saw her live.

#7 bart

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:53 PM

Rojo does seem to feel that women relate more emotionally than do men, and that she is comfortable doing so only with a couple of female friends. I wonder how much this affects her relationships with female colleagues -- and now with women in her company.

I wonder how her attitude compares with that of other women who have headed major companies: Mason, Franca, Lefevre, Haydee, Fracci, etc. Lefrevre, in her appearances in Wiseman's film, certainly projected a degree of coldness (in the sense of no-nonsense, business-comes-first). Whether this was facade or something essential to her personality I don't know.

I must say that I identified strongly with one example of emotional vulnerability in Rojo's personality -- .

I find giving bad news difficult. I thought I was harder. But I find it extremely tough to say: "I am sorry, you are not doing this." I delay it as much as possible. I always thought I would see that the art comes first and therefore these decisions have to be made. Then you meet the person and the art cannot come first, because a person is much more important.



#8 swanchat

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:46 AM

New-ish member chiming in: My dd also has more male friends than female friends in her ballet world. Especially during the training years, it was hard to have girlfriends competing against each other and maintain trusting, genuine friendships. She has one close friend (they would do anything for each other- no matter how hard or far away) from those years. Even as a professional, she leans on the men for support many more times than the women. Maybe it's partially a habit from training days.

#9 puppytreats

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:29 AM

Bart,

With due respect, where to do you get

"Rojo does seem to feel that women relate more emotionally than do men"

from this quotation:

"I get on well with men. I tend to know where I stand. I have more male friends than female friends, and I know that's unpopular. I'm not willing to share emotion and that's something that makes female friendships. I share emotional problems with two women, no more."

Her alleged statement does not lead to your conclusion.

In general, why would it be a matter of more or less, a quantitative ranking? It could be a general or specific difference in the nature of the relationship between individuals, based on individual character, personality, or experience, or the level of trust, but does she say women are more emotional, or even more emotionally expressive? All I derive from her statement is that she shares her emotions with two specific individuals, and that other women she has encountered want to share emotions as a basis of friendship (which she, prudently or not, decides not to share), not that they are more emotional.

In any event, no matter what she says in an interview, she can be misquoted. And no matter what she truly believes, says, or does, for many reasons, including personal agendas, critics will criticize her and supporters will herald her, based on bits and pieces of supposed or actual quotations that suit their purposes. Some people merely like to engage in debate for its own, noisy purpose, as well.

Whether she has talent, personality, character, or ability to lead a troupe cannot be determined from an alleged quotation about her trusting her personal emotions and vulnerability with only two women who apparently have earned her trust and are otherwise valued by her for other reasons. Maybe she does not find that others have proven themselves to be worth her time, or that they bore her, or are untrustworthy, gossip, backstab, engage in activities that she has no time or money for or interest in, or lack or exceed her level of intellect. Maybe she is someone who likes to read, exercise, or do other activities that may require time spent alone or in small groups. Maybe she is shy or introverted. Maybe she does not like large groups. Her reasons for having two close friends does not produce any conclusion about women being more emotional, or her ability to deal with dancers.

Her comments, friendship decisions, and beliefs say nothing about her ability to chat up potential donors or instruct students in a class or direct rehearsals on stage.

Finally, would you trust or debate about a male leader who said that he had only two people with whom he shared his true feelings and vulnerabilities? I would worry if the president spent hours on the phone with ten girlfriends discussing how his wife hurt his feelings by calling him fat.

#10 bart

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:52 PM

Bart,

With due respect, where to do you get

"Rojo does seem to feel that women relate more emotionally than do men"

from this quotation:

"I get on well with men. I tend to know where I stand. I have more male friends than female friends, and I know that's unpopular. I'm not willing to share emotion and that's something that makes female friendships. I share emotional problems with two women, no more."

Her alleged statement does not lead to your conclusion.

I was responding to the part of her statement that I have put in boldface in the quote box, especially the statement that sharisng emotion"makes female friendships."

It could be a general or specific difference in the nature of the relationship between individuals, based on individual character, personality, or experience, or the level of trust,

Yes, I agree that this is open to interpretation..

... but does she say women are more emotional, or even more emotionally expressive? All I derive from her statement is that she shares her emotions with two specific individuals, and that other women she has encountered want to share emotions as a basis of friendship (which she, prudently or not, decides not to share), not that they are more emotional.

That is definitely another way to read what she says.

Perhaps we are both making too much of what is, in reality, a very brief comment. Posted Image

#11 dirac

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:45 PM

New-ish member chiming in: My dd also has more male friends than female friends in her ballet world. Especially during the training years, it was hard to have girlfriends competing against each other and maintain trusting, genuine friendships. She has one close friend (they would do anything for each other- no matter how hard or far away) from those years. Even as a professional, she leans on the men for support many more times than the women. Maybe it's partially a habit from training days.


Hello, swanchat, and welcome to the board. Good point. It's very possible that the intense competition among women in ballet has something to do with it (although Rojo herself didn't mention that). I've read that in the tennis world, for example, the men on the tour are often able to establish camaraderie and even friendships among themselves, the women, not so much.

#12 innopac

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 12:34 AM

Desert Island Discs, Radio 4

08 June 2014

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the ballerina Tamara Rojo

Ballerina, Artistic Director at the English National Ballet

http://www.bbc.co.uk...498cbc#b045xz2k

 

 



#13 Tara

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 08:35 AM

Desert Island Discs, Radio 4

08 June 2014

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the ballerina Tamara Rojo

Ballerina, Artistic Director at the English National Ballet

http://www.bbc.co.uk...498cbc#b045xz2k

 

 

 

Thankyou so very much for this link. I am as intrigued by her offstage as on stage. 




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