International ballet superstar takes his critically acclaimed Cuban company on tour with Evolution
Anyone starting their own company wants to stand out from the crowd, and Carlos Acosta was no exception. When the ex-Royal Ballet star founded Acosta Danza in 2015, he was determined to give it a unique flavour. 'It's hard to be distinctive,' says Acosta. 'But I was keen for us to have our own voice and move away from the European aesthetic. I realised that if I wanted a company that didn't look like any other, the only way was to tap into the essence of Cuba itself. So whenever I commission a choreographer, I point them in the direction of a Cuban composer or artist, so we have that distinction.'
Four years later, the company's latest tour, Evolution, is set to prove once again that Acosta has achieved his aim. An evening of four works, the show opens with 'Satori', the first major work by emerging choreographer Raúl Reinoso. 'Raúl is a dancer with the company who also wanted to become a choreographer,' explains Acosta. 'And part of the objective of Acosta Danza is to launch national talent, so first I asked him to create a solo, then a duet, both of which he did very successfully. So I said OK, I'm going to invest in you and give you the chance to make a substantial work.'
Pontus Lidberg's work, 'Paysage, Soudain, la nuit', which Acosta describes as 'very light, joyful and sunny, just like Cuba' is also steeped in Cuban culture, with music by one of the country's leading composers, Leo Brouwer, and an onstage installation by artist Elizabet Cerviño. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's re-working of Nijinsky's 'L'après midi d'un faune' gives the dancers a real chance to shine.
And the night closes with Acosta himself dancing in 'Rooster', Christopher Bruce's popular work set to a number of The Rolling Stones' classic early hits. ''Rooster' is wonderful, it's one of my favourites,' says Acosta. 'It's rock 'n' roll, but it's also very fast and has a lot precision. So it's a great finisher.'
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 1 & Sat 2 Nov, and touring