Maria Doulton meets prima ballerina and ambassador for Backes and Strauss Tamara Rojo

The charming Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director and principal ballerina at the English National Ballet, is the face of Backes & Strauss' Victoria collection.


Tamara Rojo is one of the most accomplished ballet dancers of our time. As both Artistic Director and principal ballerina at the English National Ballet, this Spanish dancer has pursued perfection and poise without losing her natural ease and undeniable charm. The only adornment to her black dress is a diamond Backes & Strauss Victoria Snowdrop watch with a mother-of-pearl dial on a white satin strap.

Beautiful, accomplished and eloquent, Tamara is the face of Backes & Strauss' Victoria collection, the luxury British watch brand best known for its exceptional diamond-set watches and jewellery. And I was fortunate enough to catch up with her at the English National Ballet headquarters, tucked away in a mews street behind the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, London. She moved several pairs of pink satin ballet slippers, trailing long ribbons to make room for us on her bay window seat.

As a woman who has imposed on herself an extraordinary discipline and rigorous training schedule that few of us could imagine, she is surprisingly easy-going. With a large smile and sparkling dark eyes, Tamara Rojo explains that she considers watches and jewellery an art form that she can relate to through ballet. "I guess principal ballet dancers are real perfectionists," says Tamara, "and what is clear about Backes & Strauss is that they are equally demanding with their jewellery and watches. It's all in the detail; it's all in the small things. If everything is cared for and finished to the highest quality then the whole product, whether it is a ballet or a watch, is of the highest standard. So I guess in that way we do relate."

She explores the idea of a tradition, be it watchmaking or ballet, and how it fits into to our world. "Watchmaking technology may be 200 years old," she tells me, "but I am sure that it still moves with the times. I guess that's the balance that any classical art form has to find: how to preserve the best of the past but keep absorbing the best of the present and be aware of what's coming in the future."

As an artist who combines power with control and passion, she appreciates the work that has gone into the Victoria Snowdrop watch, which sits so perfectly on her slender wrist. "What I really love about this watch is the combination of classicism and tradition. But Backes & Strauss is very creative and modern with it, which is what we are trying to do in the English National Ballet. Respect the past, treasure it, but bring it to a new audience and do it with young and creative artists."

As she holds out her arm for me to admire her watch, with its diamonds catching the clear autumn light, I ask her what ballet would her watch be? She replies without missing a beat: "Swan Lake, of course. Act II. The White Swan."

It is clear from this one conversation that Tamara speaks with the same grace, precision and clarity with which she dances. What more could a luxury watch company hope for from an ambassador?

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