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Acosta Danza Evolution at Birmingham Hippodrome - Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Carlos Acosta Dances On Stage In Mix Of Dance Productions
Ahead of world renowned dancer Carlos Acosta becoming Birmingham Royal Ballet's Director next year, the Cuban is giving the city an early Christmas present - a chance to see him dance again.

Acosta Danza, UK tour, evolution, Birmingham Hippodrome, Carlos Acosta
Carlos Acosta takes to the stage again


Retired dancer Acosta makes a guest appearance, performing on stage with his Cuban dance company Acosta Danza at Birmingham Hippodrome from November 11 to 12.

The two-hour production called Evolution - to show how the company has evolved since it was launched four years ago - gives the performers with Acosta Danza the chance to shine through new and existing works in four contemporary dance routines.

It also highlights that there is a wealth of youthful vibrant talent ready to take Acosta's place.

The oldest piece of work, featuring Acosta, is the final routine and a crowd-pleaser; mainly as it stars the hugely popular dancer.

It's the iconic favourite, Rooster, which is a lively character-led dance set to a soundtrack of Rolling Stones music. It was choreographed by Christopher Bruce back in 1991 and still has the charm and humour to entertain.

Acosta Danza, UK tour, evolution, Birmingham Hippodrome, Carlos Acosta
A scene from the second dance performance, Paysage, Soudain, La Nuit


Rolling Stones tracks including Little Red Rooster, Paint it Black, Ruby Tuesday and Sympathy for the Devil play as the male dancers prance around like cockerels during a night on the town getting slapped by women and the like.

Acosta first performed this when he was a dancer with Houston Ballet over 20 years ago - and this may be the last time he gets the chance with his own dance company as the 46-year-old embarks on a career off stage.

Acosta Danza, UK tour, evolution, Birmingham Hippodrome, Carlos Acosta
Dancer Zeleidy Crespo has a magnetic resonance on stage


The other three dance productions that precede Acosta and Rooster are much more recent. Evolution starts off with the bold Satori.

It's a powerful opening as this abstract dance is full of strong imagery and movement that is almost gymnastic in style.

Satori, about enlightenment, uses light and shadow particularly well and had been created by Cuban choreographer Ral Reinoso, who is also a dancer in the company.

At its core is enigmatic dancer Zeleidy Crespo who you are naturally magnetically drawn to on stage. She is lithe and beautifully artistic with her movements, contorting into unbelievable positions with her long legs.

Its originality is memorable as is the music by Cuban composer Pepe Gavilondo. The production won the Villaneueva Prize in Cuba, which is awarded by the Critics and Scenic Research Section of the UNEAC.

Acosta Danza, UK tour, evolution, Birmingham Hippodrome, Carlos Acosta
A romantic interlude of Paysage, Soudain, La Nuit


Following an interval is Pontus Lindberg's Paysage, Soudain, la nuit, the most romantic of the four dances.

Set in front of a field, it's contemporary yet romantically traditional in its expression.

That is followed by the irresistible Cherkaoui's Faun. It is inspired by the classic ballet L'Aprs-midi d'un faune and is set to Debussy's original score with additional music by Nitin Sawhney.

A forest backdrop that changes seasons and light accompanies just two dancers - the impressive Zeleidy Crespo again and Carlos Luis Blanco.

Blanco is hypnotising and it's no wonder he has already won awards for his dancing. He's one to watch.

Acosta Danza, UK tour, evolution, Birmingham Hippodrome, Carlos Acosta
An impressive pair of dancers in Faun


Together the pair are delicate as they swiftly move and wrap themselves around each other.

Although many will go to see Carlos Acosta, it's the youthful energy and talent of the next generation that is the real attraction of this memorable collection of work from a dance company quickly rising in stature.

Acosta Danza is currently touring the UK and will return early next year.

RATING:

This tour has been produced by Sadler's Wells and Valid Productions and co-produced with Birmingham Hippodrome; The Lowry, Salford and Norwich Theatre Royal.
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Why? See the innovative dance of Carlos Acosta and his dance company
When: November 11 - 12, 2019
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 4TB
Cost: From 13
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