Former Royal Ballet principal Alina Cojocaru surprised the ballet world yesterday with the announcement that she's joining the English National Ballet. Many fans speculate that the move stems from her dissatisfaction at The Royal, which she abruptly left in June, along with on-and off-stage partner Johan Kobborg (who has not yet announced his future plans).
However, in a press release, all Cojocaru stated was, “I am attracted by the opportunities the repertoire offers, the combination of the classics and the chance to work with choreographers I really admire.”
Although ENB does not have the same prestige as The Royal Ballet, it does have Tamaro Rojo, former principal for the Royal, as its artistic director.
“I am so happy to welcome Alina.... She is one of the dancers I most admire. I am sure that we can give Alina the artistic challenges and opportunities she seeks,” Rojo said, encouraging the rumor that Cojocaru left the Royal due to a lack of new ballets choreographed for her.
In an interview with The Australian Financial Review in August 2012, Cojocaru lamented her disappointment with her casting at the Royal. “To be honest, I’m sad that in such a great company like The Royal Ballet these things [a choreographer making a significant work for her] did not happen. It’s 11 years and I would like to think of it as home. I’m sad I had to go outside my home company to experience this,” she said, referring to her work with John Neumeier, the artistic director and choreographer at the Hamburg Ballet.
At ENB, Cojocaru is expected to take some of the pressure off Tamara Rojo, who is both artistic director as well as the star dancer of the company. Cojocaru’s debut will be in ENB's restaging of Le Corsaire as heroine Medora in October.