The famous Cuban Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dancer Carlos Acosta was appearing at Sadlers Wells with his all-Cuban Dance Troupe, so I went to see it with my friend Isabel, who works in the Cuban Embassy.
Born in 1973 in Havana, Carlos Acosta’s dance group of 20 dancers have been developing for four years. Carlos trained at the National Ballet School of Havana. I had the privilege of visiting it several years ago.
The performance was called Evolution, and divided into four parts. The first one was called Satori, and lasted for 24 minutes.
I’m not a Ballet expert, but I’ve never seen anything like it! They didn’t so much dance as writhe. They were like a group of gymnasts. They were very flexible, and I’m sure that one or two of them are double jointed. They’re also very strong, balancing each other in the air, and holding them there.
Faun lasted 4 minutes. It was based on Debussy’s L-Apres-midi d’un Faune, but adapted by Nitin Sawhney. Debussy is one of my favourite composers.
I wondered if the duo had learnt and practised a lot, or if they improvised.
Finally was Rooster, lasting 27 minutes. It was a tribute to Rock ‘n Roll, playing songs by The Rolling Stones. This was more dancing, telling stories of the songs. It was totally different to the other performances.
What would Ashley Banjo of Diversity make of it all? The contrast between the two different styles of dancing is amazing!
Carlos was awarded the CBE in the 2014 Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. In 2018 he received the Queen Elizabeth ll Coronation Award from the Royal Academy of Dance for being one of the most influential figures in Dance. And in 2019 the Critics’ Circle gave him their annual award for Outstanding Services to the Arts.
In January 2020 Carlos becomes Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.