Carlos Acosta: A Classical Farewell at The Lowry

42 year old Carlos Acosta has been a firm favourite on the ballet scene since he first came to prominence in the early 90’s whilst still just a teenager, since then he has danced for some of the world’s most prestigious companies including an impressive 17 years with the Royal Ballet.

This tour brings together pieces from classical ballet works by iconic choreographers as well as choreography from Acosta himself and more contemporary choreographers including fellow Cuban Raul Reinoso, each of the twelve pieces are presented beautifully by a team of dancers also from Acosta’s native Cuba.

The show is cleverly staged and as the curtain rises we see a stripped back almost empty space aside from a couple of sofas, a clothes rail and barre in what appears to be a practice room. Acosta casually strolls in, holdall slung over his shoulder and is soon joined by his fellow performers dressed in a mixture of practice gear and costumes, there are casual exchanges and stretching before the side flies drop into place and Gabriela Lugo and Enrique Corrales’ exquisite performance of White Swan pas de deux from Act 2 of Swan Lake begins.

Between each piece we return to the practice room, this works well and sets things up nicely for the next performance. As we work through the classical pieces in Part 1 each dancer delivers absolutely faultless performances, technically perfect and totally mesmerising. By the time we reach the final piece in Part One it is clear who the audience have been waiting for, when Acosta arrives on stage for Diana & Actaeon pas de deux applause and cheers can be heard throughout the theatre. Acosta leaps into action and quickly shows just what a wonderful dancer he is, strong and confident he moves beautifully.

Part Two sees a change in proceedings with some more contemporary pieces, a particular highlight being the section of three separate dances A Buenos Aires, Je ne regrette rien and Les Bourgeois all set within a Cuban cafe/bar.  A Buenos Aires choreographed by Gustavo Mollajoli is a beautiful ballet/tango fusion, Veronica Corveas and Javier Rojas are superb, sultry and sharp. Next sees Ely Regina Hernandez take on Ben Van Cauwenbergh’s choreography set to Edith Piaf’s instantly recognisable Je ne regrette rien. The piece is dramatic and striking perfectly capturing Piaf’s sassy attitude. Next we see Acosta perform Les Bourgeois, again choreographed by Ben Van Cauwenbergh, Acosta gives a great comedic performance and transforms himself effortlessly into a drunken sailor (albeit one who can dance fantastically). The show ends with the full company performing Majisimo from a Cuban ballet by George Garcia, it’s a huge crowd pleaser and allows each performer the opportunity to showcase their exquisite skills.

This may be Acosta’s farewell tour but the standing ovation would most certainly guarantee if he decides to visit again his dedicated fans will happily come back for more. A fantastic evening of dance with some world class performances.

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