Tamara Rojo has pledged to be “more ambitious” than her predecessors as she looks to transform the English National Ballet into the country's best-loved company.
The ENB's new artistic director this morning announced her first season and outlined her strategy to take more risks despite facing massive funding cuts at the organisation.
The 38-year-old Rojo said: "In terms of what we think we can achieve, I am a lot more ambitious than the previous directors." She continued "I was never the best dancer, but I was the most bloody minded. My ambition is to have the most creative and the most loved ballet company."
Among her ambitions are to make the ballet more relevant, accessible, fun "and a great night out". Yet she fears the effect of diminishing support from the state. The ENB will see its funding from Arts Council England cut by nearly 30 per cent by 2015.
"I feel there is a huge part that the Government must play in supporting the arts here, because it is such a central part of what the UK is, and the personality as a nation," she said.
Rojo arrived at the company 15 years ago at the age of 22, and said yesterday it was "an institution to be reckoned with". She went on to become a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet for over a decade, before being appointed artistic director of the ENB this year.
As well as overseeing the creative output, Rojo will continue to dance. Her roles will include those of Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker.
Alongside the more traditional fare, there will be two new mixed programmes next year: Ecstasy and Death, and A Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev.
The company has been without a chief executive for the past nine months. "There is no problem," Rojo said. "We want to find the right person for the job." She added that they were close to announcing a replacement.
Her plan is to bring more ballet to the regions, with a more varied programme "in the foreseeable future". She said: "Our audience should not only be affluent and London based."