Carlos Acosta, ready to “reconnect with the crowd” at the Royal Ballet in Birmingham

Birmingham, UK. Citing the resistance that gave him his difficult childhood in Cuba, legendary dancer Carlos Acosta, at the age of 47, is preparing to “reconnect with the crowd”, after his “nightmare” imprisonment, as director of the Royal Ballet in Birmingham.

The former lead dancer of the prestigious Royal Ballet in London has retired from the stage since 2016 and took over the reins of the company, in the UK’s second city, in January 2020.

Two months later, the epidemic spread, which led to three imprisonment cases, the last of which has now been lifted.

“It was so painful,” he told France Press in his studio, having had time to meet dancers in person before they all found themselves trapped in the near-impossible task of training online from their kitchens.

“This institution is too big” and “everything was new to me,” he admits, from running the orchestra to how to “keep the finances floating”: he and the president, Caroline Miller, cut their paychecks so they could pay 100% of her 60 dancers.

It was one of the first British companies to return to the stage in October, with high symbolism Lazuli SkyThe dancers stayed two meters away thanks to the flared crinoline-inspired skirts with which nineteenth-century women protected themselves from cholera.

“I wanted to leave a record for an epidemic,” but it is “very unnatural” for the dancers not to touch and “the possibilities are limited,” he says of the first live show set to be a director of BRB.

That is why they started working in small groups “to mitigate the risks, because if someone gets sick, the whole company has to isolate itself.”

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But the country was confined again for four weeks in November, and after a very short reopening, theaters were closed again from mid-December until last week, when they began to reopen with reduced seats.

“It was like a false sense of hope,” recalls dancer Rozana Ali, 25, whom the presence of the audience considers “fuel”.

“It was a nightmare for everyone,” Acosta says, noting that “the body suffers” from these sudden changes in rhythm, “very harmful” psychologically and financially: for not being represented Nutcracker On Christmas they lost 1 million pounds ($ 1.4 million).

Resistance and Adaptation
Keen to “reconnect the crowd”, BRB will be showing for the first time in June “Sponsored by Carlos: Trio” with the world premiere of two dances commissioned by Cuban Miguel Altunaga and Brazilian Daniela Cardem, and one by Spaniard Joyo Monteiro unpublished in the UK.

“It’s very eclectic, it’s new, it’s modern, I think it should be the way to go into 21st century company,” he says of this frenzied contemporary show that contrasts with the classic in his next show, “Cinderella.”

As in his school Acosta Danza and his namesake company – founded in 2015 in Havana – with this show, he’s looking for versatile dancers, who can embrace the modern and the classic.

“This contemporary material is very different, so it’s out of my comfort zone,” says Elle after the workout. “It’s a challenge and a big boost.” City of a thousand trades From Altunaga, or “The City of a Thousand Professions”, as Birmingham was known during the Industrial Revolution, when workers from all over the world came to it to create a melting pot of cultures.

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He says Acosta has “great ideas” to propel the company internationally without losing its local roots.

Thanks to the Carlos Acosta International Dance Foundation, which seeks to provide opportunities for dancers of humble origins, 22-year-old Dominican Daryl Jose Perez, who trained at Acosta Danza, arrived in Birmingham in November.

“It was very difficult to reach a country that I did not know, because it was my first time in Europe,” he says, and with imprisonment, “I felt lonely,” he says, but he is grateful for this “great opportunity”.

The eleventh son of a poor family in Havana, Acosta continued to pitch with the best companies around the world after his father, a ruthless truck driver, forced him to study ballet to develop his talent.

He rose to the top at a time when there were only two blacks among the 80 dancers at the Royal Ballet in London and he was the only director.

And he celebrates, “This has now changed.”

From its difficult beginnings, it has maintained that “tremendous resistance”. “I am not someone who gives in easily,” he says, so if there is a new wave of Coronavirus, “we will have to continue adapting,” he says.

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