Review Acosta Danza
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Review Acosta Danza – Evolution
Acosta Danza is the Havana-based company of young dancers founded in 2015 by Carlos Acosta, formerly principal dancer with the Royal Ballet.
Now aged 46, Acosta has all but retired from dancing, though he makes a welcome appearance in the final piece of this show.
Since retiring from the classical ballet roles that made him famous, Acosta has turned to choreography, contemporary dance and the promotion and encouragement of young artists.
He has also just taken up the prestigious position of artistic director at Birmingham Royal Ballet – quite an achievement for the eleventh child of a family from one of the poorest districts of Havana whose mother had to cook his pet rabbits when food shortages and rationing left her with no other option.
Acosta Danza are currently on tour with ‘Evolution’, and their first stop was Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre,where the enthusiastic audience were entranced by four pieces representing the work of different international choreographers and which showcase the young company’s masterful combination of classical ballet and contemporary dance.
The evening begins with ‘Paysage Soudain, la nuit’, by the Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg.
Performed in front of a cornfield (the work of Cuban artist Elizabet Cerviño), the energetic yet lyrical piece celebrates youth and vitality via the sinuous beat of Cuban rumba music (pieces byleading Cuban composer Leo Brouwer and Stefan Levin).
Subtle changes to the lighting take us from dusk to dawn, and the dancers glide effortlessly from ensemble formations to couples to individuals and back again.
The second item of the evening is the haunting solo piece ‘Impronta’, choreographed by María Rovira and danced by Zeleidy Crespo in a mesmerising performance that evokes everything from the folk dances of Afro-Cuban culture to gymnastics and even the art of the contortionist.
The first half is brought to an end by ‘Faun’, Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s reinterpretation of Nijinsky’s classic piece ‘L’après midi d’un faune’,featuring passages of Debussy interposed with music by Nitin Sawhney.
Set in a forest glade with a backdrop of trees – and with clever effects suggesting both changing light and weather conditions and a carpet of leaves on the forest floor, ‘Faun’ has two dancers acting out a captivating drama of power dynamics.
When they come together, you can almost imagine that they are a single creature moving across the leaf-strewn floor of the glade, and it is hard to tell which limb belongs to which dancer.
After the interval we are treated to Christopher Bruce’s ‘Rooster’, a crowd-pleasing collection of dances set to seven tracks by the Rolling Stones, which is both a celebration of the music, fashion and ethos of the 1960s and 70s and a humorous poke at macho posturing and vanity.
To the strains of ‘Little Red Rooster’, the starting point for the medley, the male dancers enter the stage doingthe ‘rooster strut’, simultaneously portraying cock-sure roosters and preeningly overconfident young men.
The gaggle of women are, for the most part, unimpressed, viewing the display with wry amusement rather than admiring gazes.
‘Rooster’ features Carlos Acosta himself in a leading role, and you can tell at once what it means to his company of young dancers to have him performing amongst them.
There is real joy in the dancing, and the piece makes a fine finale to a fantastic show.