In commissioning “She Said,” a triple bill featuring three new ballets by female choreographers, English National Ballet’s artistic director and lead principal dancer Tamara Rojo has challenged the status quo of contemporary ballet in two major ways. The first is a rebuke of its notoriously, dispiritingly male-dominated upper ranks (consider this: in her 20 years as a professional dancer Rojo, one of today’s most famous and decorated ballerinas, has never performed in a ballet choreographed by a woman). “We need those female voices on stage, those emotions,” Rojo notes in the programme. “We need all ways of expressing feeling.” Her words echo those of the creative feminists world-round who contend that no art form can truly represent our rich, complex world if it shuts out half of the voices in it.
Tamara Rojo and dancers of English National Ballet in “Broken Wings” by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Photograph by Laurent Liotardo
One way to get to know the history of a company is through the “liner notes” of its “Swan Lake” production, and for those of us continuing to build an admiring familiarity with Pacific Northwest Ballet via its digital season offerings, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell’s “Swan Lake” provides an interesting glimpse into PNB prior to Peter Boal’s leadership.FREE ARTICLE