Internationally recognised as one of the most gifted ballet dancers of modern times, Carlos Acosta has never forsaken the popular culture of his native Cuba. He nailed his colours to the mast as far back as 2003, when he wrote and choreographed a semi-autobiographical show, Tocororo, blending Cuban folk traditions and classical ballet.
Cubanía takes that idea a step further. Premièred at Covent Garden last summer, it brought together a number of Cuban dancers, both classical and contemporary, Royal Ballet colleagues and a live Cuban band in an audacious medley of styles and genres. It had them dancing in the aisles and was a sell-out success.
And now Acosta is once more bringing the sunshine and rhythms of the Caribbean to London. Returning to the Royal Opera House stage are Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, an ensemble of extravagantly gifted Havana-based contemporary dancers; Principal of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Veronica Corveas; and Miguel Altunaga, an outstanding contemporary dancer, now a member of Rambert. They’re joined by Royal Ballet Principal, Zenaida Yanowsky and, of course, Acosta himself, with the live Cuban House Band in a diverse first half of modern dance.
There will be a number of pieces – four last year – highlighting the raw power of modern dance and the more natural moves of the Cuban tradition. With dancer Alexander Varona returning this year, it’s to be hoped he’ll reprise the extraordinary solo Flux, created for him by one of the most mesmerising British contemporary choreographers, Russell Maliphant.
The second part of the evening is the Tocororo Suite – a compressed version of Acosta’s earlier full-length work. It reflects his own journey from the streets of the Cuban capital to international stardom and includes much macho posturing between Havana’s street dancers and Carlos himself in an amusing competition for best dancer status.
Look out, too, for the jaw-dropping technical feats of Veronica Corveas and Carlos Acosta, as they duet their way to falling in love in the joyful, highly-energetic Cuban way.
Now 40 years old and approaching the end of his career as a classical ballet dancer (he’ll retire from the Royal Ballet at the end of the coming season), Carlos Acosta is keen to explore new avenues for his talent. With an autobiography and a novel already under his belt; Tocororo and Cubanía wowing audiences everywhere; a generally well-received re-staging of the ballet Don Quixote for the Royal Ballet last season and a new Carmen on the way in the Autumn, it’s very likely Carlos Acosta will be demanding out attention for a long time to come.
And a good thing it is, too…
|What||Carlos Acosta: Cubanía, Royal Opera House|
Royal Opera House
Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
27 Jul 15 – 02 Aug 15, Sunday matinée 17:00
|Website||Click here to book via the ROH website|