Wednesday, 5 August 2015

01 August, 2015 Carlos Acosta ‘Cubania’ at ROH ****

Another evening of two contrasting halves. Part one consisted of four short pieces. Derrumbe by Miguel Altunaga was a meditation on the feelings of loss after the break down of a relationship and introduced us to Pieter Symonds a talented Kiwi dancer who has made waves in contemporary work in the past few years after a long spell at Rambert. Russell Maliphant's Flux was a solo piece created for and danced by yet another fabulously talented Cuban male dancer, Alexander Varona. Ecuación choreographed by George Céspedes and danced by three members of Danza Contemporánea de Cuba gave us a foretaste of the delights to come; and Sight Unseen was a duet for Acosta and his regular partner Zenaida Yankowski. Like Carlos, Zenaida is approaching the end of her dancing career and we cherish every chance we get to experience the chemistry that these two create together. With choreography by Edwaard Lang and a haunting musical accompaniment by solo violinist Omar Puente, this was, for me, the standout piece of the first half.

After a refreshing glass of fizz in the Crush Bar we returned for a second half with a very different feel. An on-stage eight-piece band and the high octane dancing of a dozen dancers from Danza Contemporánea de Cuba transported us instantly to a back street in Havana with all ebb and flow and posturings of sexual politics: desire, passion, jealousy and sheer joie-de-vivre. A bubbly and effervescent Verónica Corveas made a perfect foil for the machismo of Acosta and Varona. Acosta’s choreography is distinctive and characterful and captures, as only he can, the very essence of his beloved Cuba. It’s not often you hear whoops and yells of delight from dancers on the Opera House stage. It felt a bit like a maiden aunt letting her hair down – a bit naughty, but very liberating!

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