Home » Opera and Ballet » Review – Carlos Acosta : A Classical Selection at the London Coliseum from 8th to 13th December 2015

Review – Carlos Acosta : A Classical Selection at the London Coliseum from 8th to 13th December 2015


Carlos Acosta as Apollo

Carlos Acosta as Apollo – photo by Angela Taylor

Carlos Acosta  is one of the world’s greatest ballet dancers and to celebrate his 26 years as a dancer on the international stage and his retirement from his classical career he has devised a programme of works that allows him to revisit some of his favourite classical ballet works and to dance with some of the most talented dancers in the world.

Acosta has built his reputation on his charisma, athleticism, physique prowess and elegance and the first piece of the evening, Balanchine’s Agon pas de deux illustrates his ability to use those skills even in an abstract ballet form with the equally elegant and powerful Zenaida Yanowsky. The evening then moved from abstract ballet to romanticism with Bournonville’s La Sylphide Act II pas de deux danced with considerable passion by Yuhui Choe and Valeri Hristov. Melancholy was the theme of the next piece by Kenneth Macmillan, Winter Dreams – Farewell pas de deux based on Chekhov’s Three Sisters was danced with restraint by Tierney Heap and Thiago Soares  providing a touching study of lost love. Another sense of loss appears with the most famous solo in ballet, Zenaida Yanowsky  injects her Dying Swan with a remarkable sense of fragility yet indicating the power of the will to survive. It is left to Acosta and Marienela Nunez to close the first half of the show with a dazzling display of virtuosity in Diana and Actaeon pas de deux.

If the first half was centred on the more traditional ballet, the second half indicates Acosta’s fascination with more contemporary works. Stevenson’s End of Time pas de deux is about the last two people on earth and Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Nehemiah Kish bought a dramatic intensity to the relationship that offered solace and despair. Equally dramatic was A Buenos Aires danced with  passion invoking the spirit of the tango by Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares. From Argentina to the back streets of Paris with Yuhui Choe dancing to Edith Piaf’s iconic song Je ne regrette rien , Acosta appears at the end of the action as a drunken waiter before showing his comedy skills dancing Les Bourgeois to the song by Jacques Brel.

Carmen pas de deux illustrates Acosta’s skills as a choreographer and featured Tierney Heap and Valeri Hristov in a sensual display of jealousy and desire. The next piece,  Nisi Dominus was created by William Tuckett and provided a solo for Zenaida Yanowsky to showcase her remarkable elegance and control in a dance that moves into the sacred with music from Monteverdi. The final piece of the evening allowed Acosta and his ensemble to celebrate the dancer’s origins in Cuba, Majisimo was created for the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in the 1960s and portrays a distinctive Hispanic take on classical ballet.

The show was enthusiastically  received by the audience who joined with the other performers to pay tribute to one of the greatest dancers of his generation. Acosta’s rise from humble beginnings to the top of the ballet world is well documented and provides plenty of inspiration for others to follow in his illustrious footsteps. This show offers an opportunity of seeing some of the finest ballet dancers in the world in a variety of short dances that demonstrate their remarkable talents . One of the themes of the evening was that the dancers congregated at the back of the stage waiting for their entrance. Each may be at the top of their profession but there is always a final exit and many would hope that they can make their own farewell as entertaining and enjoyable as this show.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the Sadler’s Wells website here

A Classical Selection runs at the London Coliseum from the 8th to 13th December 2015

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