On a lovely early autumn evening, the sun was setting as the crowds made their way to the Royal Albert Hall which was appropriate because the sun was setting on the career of Carlos Acosta and many people went to the hall to pay homage to one of the great classical ballet dancers.
Acosta announced his departure in 2014, and has spent the last two years putting on shows that provide a wonderful showcase for his considerable talents and from his friends mostly from the Royal Ballet. However this final week of shows will be the last before the Cuban superstar will move from the demanding world of classical ballet to contemporary dance and his own dance company Acosta Danza.
In 2014, Acosta and Tamara Rojo performed Romeo and Juliet in the round at the Royal Albert Hall, but for this show, the sparse stage provided a more intimate show as the dancers came onto the stage.
It was Acosta himself who opens the show, seated alone on the stage before launching into a poignant Kenneth MacMillan’s Winter Dreams – Farewell Pas de Deux with the elegant Marianela Nuñez. Both dancers excelled in the tale of forbidden and lost love. The melancholy theme continued with Folkine’s Dying Swan danced with considerable feeling and restraint by Sarah Lamb. Yuhui Choe and Valentino Zucchetti bought passion and freshness to Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody before Gabriela Lugo and Luis Valle provided a dance of high excitement in Folkine’s exotic Scheherazade.
One of the highlights of the first half was Laura Morera and Ryoichi Hirano who combined wonderfully to illustrate the intensity and despair of MacMillan’s Manon. Carlos Acosta has always excelled in roles where he can use his latin temperament and the first half ended with a duet from Don Quixote, in which Acosta and Nuñez provided plenty of fun before they both launched into solos that provided more evidence of their remarkable skills.
Highlights of the second half included the dark and powerful MacMillan’s Mayerling with Morera, Acosta and Zucchetti. MacMillan’s Requiem, with Acosta partnering Yuhui Choe in a dance that dealt with loss and transformation and the dynamic Balanchine’s Apollo in which Acosta brings a power to the stage that is rarely matched.
All good things come to an end and Acosta goes back to his roots with his final solo, Memoria created by Miguel Altunaga. This piece perhaps illustrates some of Acosta’s mystique, where technical brilliance is matched by his ability to bring power and emotion to a performance.
At the end of the show, the rousing reception from the audience was a fitting tribute to one of the world’s greatest ballet dancers and Acosta was visibly moved by the adulation of crowd. Going out into the chilled evening air, there was a sense that ballet had lost one of its burning lights, which it would find very difficult to replace.
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. These final shows offers an opportunity of seeing Acosta and some of the finest ballet dancers in the world in a variety of short dances that demonstrate their remarkable talents .
Carlos Acosta — The Classical Farewell is at the Royal Albert Hall from 3rd to 7th October 2016
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
If you would like to find out more or buy a ticket, visit the Sadler’s Wells website here
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