Acosta Danza bring their Evolution tour to The Festival Theatre Edinburgh for two nights only (Fri 1st and Sat 2nd November) with four works and the guest appearance on stage of the one and only Carlos Costa, ahead of taking up his appointment as Artistic Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in January 2020.
Our four works in this programme are, in order of appearance
Satori, by breakthrough Cuban choreographer Raúl Reinoso.
Paysage, Soudain, la nuit by Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg
Fauno by choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Rooster by choreographer Christopher Bruce
This programme features new works (Satori and Paysage, Soudain, la nuit) and established works (Fauno and Rooster), and the contrasts between them are all are obvious and striking as we move from the at times almost abstract performance and nature of seeking inner awareness and enlightenment of Satori (Satori is the Zen word referring to spiritual illumination), to a celebration of Cuban rhythms and culture in Paysage, Soudain, la nuit, the beauty of Fauno and a celebration of the 1960s and the early music of The Rolling Stones in Rooster.
With a programme a diverse as this, there are always going to be some works that you prefer over others, but no matter what your own personal tastes, the quality of the performances from the dancers of Acosta Danza is never in doubt, and their versatility to shift effortlessly between styles is always a pleasure to watch and for many reasons, Zeleidy Crespo is the dancer that I most clearly remembered after the show this evening with her performances in Satori and Fauno.
Although for many people tonight the highlight performance work was probably Rooster with the opportunity to watch Carlos Acosta himself dance on stage, this work for me was marred a little bit by some sound issues in the lower frequency ranges as the music of The Rolling Stones was blasted out through giant speakers. There is no doubt that classic songs like “Little Red Rooster”, “Play With Fire” and “Lady Jane” are wonderfully choreographed and perfectly fit the music, but at times it feels more like an MTV music video with some predictable choices to the music. “Rooster” is still despite this a classic work of contemporary choreography.
For me though, the highlight of the evening was Fauno with its woodland opening to perhaps one of Claude Debussy’s best known musical works. Additional music is by Nitin Sawhney. This wonderful and gracefully choreographed and danced duet, specially commissioned by Sadler's Wells (2009) certainly more than lives up to its inspiration and continues in the spirit of Diaghilev and clearly shows that Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is a master choreographer at work.
Review by Tom King