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An evening with Carlos Acosta

Data & Tickets

“Carlos has that rare wow factor.”

The Cuban Carlos Acosta is one of the greatest international ballet stars of the past decades. For years, he was the principal guest artist at the British Royal Ballet and also performed with countless prestigious ballet companies, such as the Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris, American Ballet Theatre, and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. In 2016, he said goodbye to The Royal Ballet – earning him a standing ovation lasting over 20 minutes – but he continues to perform, though for the last few years only in the contemporary repertory. Besides that, he founded his own company Acosta Danza in his home country of Cuba, which will perform later in this festival and he’s been the artistic director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet since the beginning of 2020.  

A varied mixed bill and live interview
Carlos Acosta could be seen in the Netherlands only once before: in 1997, he was a guest at The National Ballet in Nutcracker & Mouse King. Now, 25 years later at the eighteenth Holland Dance Festival, he dances a varied mixed bill of creations by the Cuban choreographer Raúl Reinoso and two of the most prominent choreographers of our time: the Flemish-Moroccan Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the British Russell Maliphant. After the dance program, managing and artistic director of Holland Dance Festival Samuel Wuersten will speak with Carlos Acosta on the stage of Theater aan het Spui. 

A stranger in unknown territory
An Evening with Carlos Acosta kicks off with Nosotros which, in the words of choreographer Raúl Reinoso, deals with ‘the intervals in a relationship’. Set to a composition for piano and cello by José Víctor Gavilondo Peón, the duet (which has been performed both by a man and woman and by two men) outlines the disagreements and similarities, frustrations and bright spots in love. The second duet, Mermaid by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, represents a moving encounter between two ‘strangers’. After Cherkaoui rehearsed his choreography Faun with Acosta Danza, he wanted to create another piece about a mythological creature. But instead of portraying an actual mermaid, he lets the dancer (at the premiere: the contemporary dancer Marta Ortega) dance on pointe. Like a fish on dry land, or a stranger arriving on unknown territory, the ‘mermaid’ looks for help and guidance and finds it in Carlos Acosta.  

As a whirling dervish
The third choreography in the program, Russell Maliphant’s oft-praised solo Two, was originally created for Dana Fouras in 1997, but mostly became famous through the performance by star ballerina Sylvie Guillem, in whose footsteps Carlos Acosta now follows. 

Initially, the dancer in Two is trapped in a small box of light. With increasing intensity, she/he repeats the same phrases of movement with arms, shoulders, and head. When the beat of Andy Cowton’s sound score kicks in, the choreography works toward a climax, where the dancer spins around like a whirling dervish, while hands and feet are lit up in an enchanting haze of light. The body of the dancer appears to evaporate in the vortex, one reviewer wrote. Carlos Acosta: “Two powerfully illustrates the potential chemistry between movement, music and light.” 

“Acosta himself takes to the stage for Mermaid – a duet created by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, performed with principal Marta Ortega (..) It’s a masterclass in looking out of control while maintaining a steely rigour of movement – and Acosta, always the most sublime of partners, is a perfect foil. The richness of Larbi’s choreography is (..) made touchingly real by Acosta’s despair, compassion and hope. It’s a lovely piece – and the highlight of the evening”

“It’s fascinating to see Russell Maliphant’s Two on Acosta’s body (..) his energy is carefully concentrated, not exploded outwards, but held close like precious breath. It’s an illustration of a mature, thoughtful dancer, who holds great magnetism and authority but doesn’t need to shout about it” – The Guardian

Impression of the performance

Dates & Tickets

Price Date Start time Location Order
From € 27,- Sat. 05 February 2022 20:30 Theater aan het Spui, Den Haag
From € 27,- Sun. 06 February 2022 17:00 Theater aan het Spui, Den Haag