Life & Culture

Dance review: Acosta Danza

An impressive night of contemporary dance


Acosta Danza review ****

Acosta Danza, the small Cuban dance company established by former Royal Ballet Principal dancer Carlos Acosta, is back at the Linbury Theatre (the intimate space hidden in the depths of the Royal Opera House) for a short season of contemporary works.

The programme is called Spectrum and it certainly displays the high energy of the dancers to great effect. Two of the longer pieces – Performance and Portal – show off the dancers’ amazing use of their torsos; heads twitch, backs arch in unison, arms stretch in ever more complicated manoeuvres. I was reminded – in a good way – of some of Hofesh Shechter’s work, in the use of space and how the dancers’ bodies work together.

The highlights of the programme come undoubtedly in the two pas de deux. Faun, by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, is based on Nijinsky’s famous L’Apres-midi d’un Faune, which caused a scandal when it was first performed in Paris in 1912. Set in a beautifully lit woodland glade (this is the only piece to suggest any form of scenery) it uses Debussy’s familiar score with additional music by Nitin Sawhney. It is a potent piece, with extraordinary performances by Zeleidy Crespo and Alejandro Silva. Their bodies glistening with sweat (I was seated in the front stalls so I could see every muscle and sinew at work), they bring to Faun formidable emotion and eroticism at the same time.

Nosotros is the other pas de deux, by Beatriz Garcia and Raul Reinoso. This is the most lyrical piece of Spectrum and explores the intimacy of relationships. It is short but powerful dance of compelling intensity and incredible beauty, danced by Laura Rodriguez and Mario Sergio Elias.

The evening concludes with Alrededor No Hay Nada, with choreography by Goyo Montero. It is a poor choice with which to end the evening. Set to a number of Latin-American poems, often without any accompanying music, the dancers perform with conviction but it means little to international audiences without a good knowledge Spanish. After four wonderful pieces, this left me unmoved.

One further gripe – why is so much contemporary dance performed in near darkness?  I understand that we get to focus on the dancers’ extraordinary musculature, but for once I would love to see a work where the stage is bathed in light.

Acosta Danza is at the Linbury Theatre until Monday 30 January.

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