THE SANTANDER BANK FOUNDATION REWARDS THE TALENT AND CREATIVITY OF TAMARA ROJO
The dancer receives the II Santander Bank Foundation Award for Anglo-Spanish Relations.
Rojo received the award before an array of eminent personalities and friends.
A sculpture by the Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias and 10,000 Euros constitute the prize.
The Spanish dancer Tamara Rojo received yesterday the II Santander Bank Foundation Award for Anglo-Spanish Relations for being a beacon of Spanish culture in the United Kingdom, combining talent and youth. The prize-giving ceremony, held at the Spanish Embassy in London, was attended by the Ambassador and Chairman of the jury, Federico Trillo-Figueroa, and members of the jury, such as Lord Garel Jones, the Chairman of the Santander Bank Foundation, Antonio Escámez, Ana Patricia Botín, CEO of Santander Bank UK, among others.
Rojo was honoured to accept the award and the responsibility it brings: “It compels me to try to contribute to the promotion and strengthening of the relations and ties between Spain and the United Kingdom, a duty which I accept with pleasure and great excitement”. The dancer modestly highlighted the significance of receiving the award following its bestowal on such an intellectual as Raymond Carr: “I will endeavour to be worthy of the confidence placed in me by the members of the jury and to honour my understanding of the Santander Bank Foundation’s strong commitment to culture and science”.
The artistic director of the National Ballet commended the Award for being “an objective that is as praiseworthy as it is necessary, especially in the current times when economic uncertainties seem to stir up feelings of insecurity and fear”, which motivated her to donate the prize to a research programme into the improvement of dancers’ health promoted by Dance Association UK, called the Healthier Dancer Programme.
The Ambassador, Federico Trillo-Figueroa, referred to Tamara as an “extraordinary Spanish artist who conveys through her corporal expression not only a highly personal sentiment, but also the emotion of the music and the public”.
The Advisor to the Santander Bank in the UK, Ana Patricia Botín, declared, “Tamara Rojo is a woman full of force, youth and talent. She is an undeniable example of what the path to excellence truly means”. Ana Patricia Botín also talked of the dancer’s capacity for sacrifice, which is “an example of the rule that if you put all your efforts into something you believe in, you achieve your goals. She is a very worthy winner of this award. She reminds me of the words of another great dancer, Anna Pavlova: No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent; work transforms talent into genius. I think the phrase is an apt reflection of the excellence recognized by this award and of the character of this year’s winner.” This effort is what has converted Tamara Rojo into “one of the symbols of dance on the world stage and a Spanish beacon in British culture”, the Advisor observed.
During the award-giving ceremony, the winner received a sculpture from the Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias and 10,000 Euros, which she will donate to Dance UK’s Healthier Dancer Programme of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, which works to improve the health and well-being of dancers and apply medicine and science to dance to support and encourage its professional practice.
The jury bestowed the award to the dancer and choreographer last April 11th, praising her immense devotion and capacity for work as well as her character and personality, which have forged her career not only as one of the principal dancers of the world but also as an artistic director of enormous imagination and energy of a leading cultural institution of Great Britain, the English National Ballet. The jury also recognised her enthusiastic and indefatigable search for new talents and ideas to ensure the viability of the ENB. All this has earned Tamara Rojo, in spite of her youth, widespread recognition and her reputation as a beacon of Spanish culture in the United Kingdom.
Tamara Rojo (Montreal, Canada, 1974) took her first steps in the artistic world in the Víctor Ullate Dance School, Madrid, and later its Company, before embarking on an international career under the aegis of Galina Samsova, who invited her to join the Scottish Ballet in 1996. In 1997 she reached the rank of principal dancer in the English National Ballet, where she stayed for three years before accepting, in July 2000, an invitation from Sir Anthony Dowell to be principal dancer of The Royal Ballet in London.
By the age of 25 Rojo had become one of the first Spaniard to dance for the United Kingdom’s leading company and indeed one of the most prestigious in the world. She is the second youngest prima ballerina in the history of ballet after Maya Plisétskaya, who reached this position in the Bolshoi Theatre at the age of 18.
WHY AN AWARD TO ANGLO-SPANISH RELATIONS?
The Santander Bank Foundation Award for Anglo-Spanish Relations was created with the aim of promoting and strengthening the bond between Spain and the United Kingdom. Each edition recognises a British or Spanish person of eminence who has contributed appreciably to drawing both countries closer together. The prize is organised by the Santander Bank Foundation in partnership with the Spanish Embassy in London and every year disposes of a sum of money that the winner must donate to an NGO, charity fund or academic body of their choice. Last year – the award’s first edition – the prize went to British historian Sir Raymond Carr.