Carlos Acosta, alongside Laura Rodríguez , dances Diana and Acteón for what could be the last time. Photo: Nancy Reyes

CARLOS Acosta, one of the greatest dancers in the world waited until April to present his new company Acosta Danza. The group presented a program of contemporary works for the premier, before offering a second show with a selection of classical pieces.
GI previously reported on the company’s world premier, lamenting the absence of the charismatic Acosta himself, who on that occasion remained behind the scenes. He was exceptionally generous in this show of classical works, in the Alicia Alonso Grand Theatre of Havana’s Lorca Hall, where he performed three times, receiving a fitting, if not occasionally excessive, response from the audience. Naturally, the public had gone to see him dance; his artistry and formidable technique failing to disappoint.

The program was designed by Acosta to be “a complete show, including ballets of different styles and from different periods.” He had previously presented the selection at the London Coliseum in December 2015, following on from his own show which marked the beginning of his final farewell to classical ballet, entitled Carlos Acosta and Guests, which won a Laurence Olivier Award in 2006.

Carlos Acosta performs a drunk, comical artist in the solo piece Les Bourgeois. Photo: Nancy Reyes

Split into two halves, part one sees pas de deux and pieces from the most famous ballets in the world, followed, after the interval, by more modern works.

Staying true to his initial vision, opening to a black stage, the dancers enter as if arriving at a rehearsal, talking and warming up before the function. A sequence which continues between pieces, throughout the performance.

The gala began with the pas de deux from the second act of Swan Lake, one of the most romantic moments between Odette, the princess transformed into a white swan, and Prince Sigfried.

Popularly known as the White Act, the piece was performed by Gabriela Lugo (from the National Ballet of Cuba / BNC) and Enrique Corrales.

Piece number two was the famous pas de deux from the second act of The Sylphs by choreographer August Bournonville, immaculately performed by Leticia Silva and Alejandro Silva (both from the BNC).

From Winter Dreams, the phenomenal one act ballet by Kenneth MacMillan, based on Chekhov's The three sisters, with music by Tchaikovsky, the audience enjoyed the pas de deux Farewell by the inspiring Ely Regina and Luis Valle (BNC).

The Sylphs, by Bournonville, impeccably performed by Leticia Silva and Alejandro Silva. Photo: Nancy Reyes

Meanwhile, Gabriela Lugo treated the public to a bold performance of The Dying Swan, a solo choreographed by Michel Fokine for Anna Pavlova with music by Camille Saint-Saëns.

It only took a few notes for ballet lovers to recognize the beginning of the duet Diana and Acteón byAgrippina Vagánova, a piece which gives dancers the opportunity to showcase their technical brilliance. Still in top form, Carlos Acosta demonstrated his beautiful poses in mid-air, turns and speed, while Laura Rodríguez (from the ranks of the Camaguey Ballet) played a subtle Diana.

It must be said that the packed Lorca Hall expressed its approval of each piece with generally well-deserved ovations and applause.

After the interval came End of Time, by world renowned choreographer Ben Stevenson, with music by Serguei Rachmaninoff. The piece is a pas de deux created by Stevenson in 1994 for the International Ballet Competition in Japan, where it won the gold medal for choreography.

Stevenson previously noted that with End of Time he wanted to depict his “feeling that after some global devastation only two people remain on Earth.” The work is based on the Stanley Kramer film On the Beach, staring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner, performed with emotion and great precision on this occasion by Deborah Sánchez (BNC) and Enrique Corrales.

Valiente Gabriel Lugo in the famous Dying Swan, a piece choreographed by Michel Fokine for Anna Pavlova with music by Camille Saint-Saëns, which made Maia Plisestkaia famous. Photo: Nancy Reyes

A Buenos Aires – a piece by ArgentineanGustavo Mollajolli based onAstor Piazzolla’s Primavera Portena - brought a touch of sensuality to the stage.
The work was first debuted by stellar dancer Julio Bocca, alongside his compatriot Raquel Rossetti, also an important figure of global dance, during the Moscow International Ballet Festival, where Bocca won the gold medal. Meanwhile, here in Havana, Leticia Silva and Alejandro Silva offered a pleasant rendition of Piazzolla’s tango.

Ely Regina was still dancing Je ne regrette rien by Ben Van Cauwenberghover the voice of the immortal Édith Piaf, when Acosta took to the stage for the comical drunken solo Les Bourgeois from the ballet of the same name by Van Cauwenbergh, on this occasion set to music by Jacques Brel. Acosta was simply outstanding.

The function continued with Carmen (pas de deux), an original choreography by Acosta, performed, as during the premier, by Laura Treto and Luis Valle; followed by the world premier of Anadromous, by Cuban choreographer Raúl Reinoso, who, in ecological terms, continues to grow upward, or, as in the animal kingdom, evolves to survive. An excellent piece performed once again by Gabriela Lugo.

The show ended with theentertaining Majísimo, an even mix of Hispanic influences and classical ballet technique, originally created by Jorge García for the National Ballet of Cuba, who used songs from the opera El Cid by Massenet (“Catalana,” “Aragonesa,” “Andaluza,” “Aubade” and “Navarra”).
The four couples, Laura Rodríguez-Carlos Acosta; Deborah Sánchez- Luis Valle; Leticia Silva-Alejandro Silva, and Ely Regina-Enrique Corrales, received a well-deserved ovation.

Four couples in Majísimo, Carlos Acosta and Laura Rodríguez in the foreground. Photo: Nancy Reyes

For the finale, all the dancers once again recreated the rehearsal space from where they had entered and the function began, with Acosta fittingly the last to leave.

Thus, the star dancer reminds us once again of his farewell to classical ballet after an incredible career which has seen him perform some of the most iconic roles of the discipline, including Prince Siegfried from Swan Lake; Basilio of Don Quijote, the Prince from Cascanueces and thepowerfulSpartacus from the ballet of the same name.

If that weren’t enough, Carlos wants to leave another legacy, a classic and contemporary dance company: Acosta Danza.

He might be in his early forties but his technique, charisma, seduction and art make Carlos Acosta shine above all others on stage. Thus it is not surprising that everyone wants to be able to say “I saw Carlos Acosta dance.”