The Cuban superstar dancer Carlos Acosta took over as artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) in January 2020, bursting with ideas and plans to boost the profile of the UK's second ballet company. Then Covid-19 intervened, lockdowns followed and theatres went dark.
Other companies appear to have folded in on themselves, but not Acosta's BRB. With tremendous resilience and initiative, Acosta has not only kept his company going through these catastrophic times for the performing arts, but has actually also commissioned new work. Lazuli Sky, a stirring and highly emotional piece by the choreographer Will Tuckett, premiered in Birmingham in the dying days of last summer, and had a short run at Sadler's Wells before yet another lockdown.
Not content with that, Acosta also cut a deal with Birmingham's small Rep Theatre to have BRB perform a Covid-adapted version of the Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, on stage, for digital diffusion. That performance with a new cast is available to watch until Wednesday 24 February.
Acosta is acutely conscious of the need to keep the company in the public eye. More importantly, perhaps, as a former dancer he understands how important it is to keep up the spirits of his performers, for whom this prolonged enforced inactivity can be soul destroying.
So he's commissioned a truly beautiful poignant short film, Empty Space, in collaboration with Impermanence. The concept is Acosta's own, the film is directed by Roseanna Anderson and Joshua Ben-Tovim and it's set to the haunting,melancholy song by Benjamin Scheuer that gives the film its title.
Here it is: we urge you to watch it!
|What||Birmingham Royal Ballet, Empty Stage|
|Where||Online | MAP|
19 Feb 21 – 19 Feb 22, Available to watch on YouTube. Dur.: 5 mins