Acosta Danza performs at The Festival Theatre Edinburgh for only two nights (10th & 11th November) as part of the Acosta Danza UK debut. Acosta Danza, as the name suggests, is the dance company set up by internationally acclaimed dancer Carlos Acosta. Acosta Danza is a broad spectrum company covering a wide range of dance styles with a company of dancers capable of everything from classical ballet to cutting edge contemporary dance. Given the status of Carlos Acosta himself in the dance world, it is also obvious that only the very best dancers, choreographers and creatives from their individual disciplines are going to be working with Acosta Danza.
Five completely different works in tonight’s programme, and of course, as always works that on a personal level interest and affect me at different levels. This of course is part of the magic and wonder of dance, that the same performance can evoke such different emotions in probably every watcher of the performance.
El Cruce Sobre El Niagara (The Crossing Over Niagara)
Choreography- Marianela Boan
This work (originally performed in 1987) inspired by the homonymous play by the Peruvian playwright Alonso Alegría, and winner of Casa de las Americas Award in 1989 is in dance terms as visually simple as you can get…two outstanding male dancers, Carlos Luis Blanco and Alejandro Silva telling a story while at the same time celebrating the beauty, strength and power of the male body. I have to admit to not being familiar with the source material for this work, so maybe time to find an English translation somewhere.
Choreography – Justin Peck
Simply a modern classic in true classical dance style, nothing more needs said on this one.
Choreography - Goyo Montero
An esoteric journey into the imponderables of life that we cannot measure, the weight of the human soul and spirit, emotions and so much of what makes us human beings at a physical and past physical level. Sharp edged contemporary dance asking questions with no answers. There is commentary to this story and it is obviously integral to the performance, but I have to admit to a language barrier here, and would have loved some visual display of the text in English somewhere as I did feel that I was only getting part of the story here.
Choreography – Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Once again, dance reduced to its simplest and most powerful of performance on stage concepts. Two outstanding dancers – Carlos Acosta and Marta Ortega. In this work, contemporary dancer Marta is put “en pointe”, becoming a true fish out of water, but one full of beauty, grace and emotion. A wonderful work celebrating every emotion that dance is capable of.
Choreography - Fernando Balsera
Acosta Danza describe this work as “Twelve is a dance-sport piece, a universe regulated by complex mathematical and graphic permutations”, but sorry, this final performance just did not work for me at all, and there are several reasons for this. This is a very visually regulated piece, and much of it is based on mathematical order, but a lot of that order is best viewed by an audience from the direct centre sight line of the theatre, and as you move left or right away from that centre sight line, that order becomes less clear. Also for me, this one turned the dancers far too heavily into jugglers, and given the vast depth of talent that was on stage, that for me was an under-use of their vast talents. As always though, an individual reaction here, and that does not mean that “Twelve” did not speak differently to others in the audience.
“Twelve” for me was an odd work to end this programme on. For me it would have been the previous work “Mermaid”, and not because this work featured Carlos Acosta himself, but simply because it was a beautiful work full of everything that dance is capable of achieving – grace, beauty and emotion, and I feel that these elements are in the end the very core of this company.
Despite varying personal responses to the five works in this programme, still a five star review from me as Acosta Danza are a company of outstanding talents.
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Review by Tom King