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Waterfront Festival

Acosta Danza are Coming to Nottingham

9 February 22 words: Lizzy O'Riordan

After retiring from a career in ballet dancing, Carlos Acosta set up his own dance company in 2016. Now Acosta Danza are coming to The Royal Concert Hall, celebrating Cuban music and culture with their new show 100% Cuban...

An icon in the ballet world, former dancer and now director Carlos Acosta set up his own dance company Acosta Danza in 2016, fusing his history of ballet with his love for contemporary dance. Now Acosta Danza are headed to Nottingham to perform their latest show 100% Cuban, a ballet-contemporary hybrid that celebrates Acosta’s birth country. Routed in Cuban heritage and music, 100% Cuban boasts a high energy performance, centring around the island’s heritage of dance, folklore, and rhythm. 

“I’m very surprised and very pleased that we have done so much in so few years” Carlos says, “When I formed the company, we had no repertoire at all, we didn’t even have a base. We were in a studio in a school that my teacher lent me. We were creating work from scratch every evening after the school finished. But now the company feels very solid.”

And we would agree. With three UK premiers from Cuban choreographers in 100% Cuban alone, Acosta Danza have built a reputation for finding and honing the best talent. We are not only developing dancers but also the choreographers and the teachers of tomorrow,” says Carlos, eager to share the breadth of what they do at Acosta Danza. 

Commenting on his homeland, Carlos notes that “Cuban folklore is part of who we are. We have very rich folk roots from Africa and Spain which collided and blended in the island over generations. That’s what we’re celebrating in 100% Cuban.” The show champions work of Cuban artists, and the majority of the musicians, choreographers, and wider team are Cuba-related, generating an authentic feel to the show. 

Routed in Cuban heritage and music, 100% Cuban boasts a high energy performance, centring around the island’s heritage of dance, folklore, and rhythm.

Following in this vein, all the dancing in the show is connected to Cuba, exploring elements of Cuban life, storytelling and music. Notably, it features a plethora of brand new work, including Impronta by Maria Rovira, Hybrid by Norge Cedeño Raff,  Liberto by Raúl Reinoso, and many more. 

Despite his personal connection to the project however, Carlos Acosta will not be dancing in the show. “In the beginning (of Acosta Danza), because everyone always needs a reference point and someone they can recognise, I involved myself in my project,” says Carlos. But now the director is ready to pass the torch to talented young dancers, noting that he never wanted Acosta Danza to be about ego. 

It’s because of this ethos that Carlos wants to shine a light on projects like Liberto by Raúl Reinoso, keen to promote young choreographers through his company. Beaming about the new choreographer, Carlos says “Raúl is a really great talent so I am encouraging him to choreograph. His work hasn’t been seen much outside of Cuba.”

Despite his personal connection to the project however, Carlos Acosta will not be dancing in the show.

Looking forward to the future for Acosta Danza, Carlos aspires to tap into more big title productions, mentioning his plans to choreograph a new Romeo and Juliet for a company in Havana. “It’s now about expanding the repertory, expanding the outreach worldwide and carrying on developing friendships, links and relationships with venues that keep investing in the company. Our story hasn’t been easy and I’ve only been able to build the company we have because of supporters. But six years along the line, Acosta Danza has caught the imagination of audiences worldwide and we will keep fighting to keep that up.” 

Acosta Danza 100% Cuban will be on at the Royal Concert Hall on the 15 & 16 February 2022

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