For­mer Royal Bal­let prin­ci­pal Car­los Acosta talks to Diane Parkes about his lat­est show and the ideas be­hind it

Western Mail - - WOW -

When bal­let su­per­star Car­los Acosta was plan­ning the new show for his com­pany Acosta Danza there was only one pos­si­ble name.

He called it Evo­lu­tion be­cause he be­lieves it will show au­di­ences just how much his com­pany has grown since he founded it four years ago.

The for­mer Royal Bal­let prin­ci­pal, who was born and grew up in Cuba, cre­ated Acosta Danza in 2015 to pro­mote young tal­ent and show­case per­form­ers from his home coun­try.

Since then the com­pany has be­come hugely pop­u­lar in Cuba, the UK and be­yond.

“I had this great idea to cre­ate a com­pany which didn’t look like any other com­pany out there. The jour­ney was al­ways go­ing to be hard and it needed a whole team of peo­ple who re­ally be­lieved in the idea,” says Car­los.

“But I have man­aged to do it and I learnt a lot from it. I learnt that every­thing is pos­si­ble.

“We called our first tour De­but be­cause we were still in our early stages.

“But now we have a com­pany which is more ma­ture and with more reper­tory which means we can cre­ate a pro­gramme like Evo­lu­tion.

“We have been evolv­ing from that very first tour and I want to share that. With this pro­gramme, I know that we can do that.

“If you have the right en­ergy and you con­vey your idea to peo­ple who be­lieve in it, you can do won­ders. That is what tells me to keep dream­ing big.”

Car­los has al­ways dreamed big. As a young boy grow­ing up in hard­ship in the Cuban cap­i­tal of Ha­vana, he dreamed of be­ing a foot­ball player but his father sent him to bal­let school to keep him off the streets and to in­stil some dis­ci­pline.

Ini­tially re­luc­tant to dance,

Car­los’ tal­ent im­pressed teach­ers and he went on to win a host of awards in­clud­ing the pres­ti­gious Prix de Lausanne. Af­ter per­form­ing with renowned com­pa­nies around the globe, he joined the Royal Bal­let in in 1998 be­com­ing Prin­ci­pal Guest Artist in 2003. It was on re­tir­ing in 2016 that he cre­ated Acosta Danza, re­turn­ing to Cuba to find his per­form­ers.

“When I au­di­tion dancers, I am look­ing for strong per­son­al­i­ties, great com­mit­ment and great tech­nique, whether con­tem­po­rary or clas­si­cal,” he says.

“The dancers come from var­i­ous dif­fer­ent back­grounds and com­pa­nies so I was look­ing to cre­ate a foun­da­tion on which to build.

“At the be­gin­ning I didn’t know how it would turn out be­cause we started from zero but every­thing has turned out just fine!”

It is a jour­ney which con­tin­ues. In 2017 Car­los opened the Car­los Acosta Dance Academy in Ha­vana to train young dancers.

“We have 51 kids in the academy at the mo­ment. We have a spe­cial pro­gramme for tal­ented kids from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds and we have chil­dren from other coun­tries in­clud­ing

> Car­los Acosta

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