Cultural Life: Tamara Rojo, Ballet Dancer

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The Independent Culture


When I went on tour with The Royal Ballet to Mexico and South America in the summer, I bought some Latin and South American literature. There were two books that I really enjoyed. The Dark Bride by Laura Restrepo is a story about a Mexican prostitute and The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa is about a man in love with an elusive woman who treats him badly. What I love about this literature is the colourful vocabulary. You can smell things, taste the food and feel the sexuality. I grew up in Madrid and although we have a common language there is a huge difference between Spanish literature and Latin and South America literature. Spanish literature is more European, it is dryer and colder, whereas this literature is far more physical and primitive. I'm addicted to Sandor Marai, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Doris Lessing.


I saw Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, an erotic espionage thriller. The mood swings and the feelings expressed in the film are so subtle – the opposite of South American literature. The German film The Lives of Others was overwhelming. The destruction of the human soul by the Stasi, who went to any lengths to stop creative impulses that weren't government-directed, was heartbreaking.


I work with music all day, so I need a break from it. I listen to pop music more than classical at home. I like KT Tunstall and Plain White T's.


I went to see David Mamet's play Glengarry Glen Ross, about ruthless salesmen, at the Apollo, London. I saw La Traviata with the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko. I was lucky to see her perform on the second night as she had to withdraw from the third performance. I just went to see Pina Bausch's Café Muller/The Rite of Spring at Sadler's Wells. Pina Bausch was supposed to dance herself – but to be honest this girl Helena Pikon, who did it instead, was absolutely fantastic.

Tamara Rojo will be appearing at The Royal Opera House, London WC1 (020-7304 4000) in 'Tzigane' from 4 March, 'The Sleeping Beauty' from 17 March and 'Homage to the Queen' from 24 April