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Carlos Acosta A Classical Farewell


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I was at Nottingham for the opening night of this tour. It was a tale of two halves for me, the second part being infinitely better than the first. It opened with Carlos and his troupe briefly coming on stage as though it were backstage for a quick warm up and costume change. The back curtain then closed and the main action began.

I made allowances as it cannot be easy to open on first night, in a show that carries such a star name. We had a nervous Swan Lake pdd, followed by La Sylphide, Winter Dreams and the dreaded Dying Swan. All pretty standard and uninteresting gala fare. Carlos did not actually reappear to dance until Diana and Actaeon, which was the final work before the interval. Having perused the programme before the performance, I was quite disappointed to discover that of twelve works, he was only appearing in three. The D and A pdd did liven things up though, at the end of a rather flat first half.

Part two was a different event altogether. As though we were watching another set of dancers entirely. These works were mainly modern or neo-classical and the dancers seemed to be in their element and enjoying it far more than the first half. The works danced were varied, interesting and I could easily have watched it all again, with the exception of the Acosta Carmen pdd.

All in all, a mixed bag of an evening. I could have done without most of the first half, along with the backstage gimmick. Some of the dancing reminded me of discussions on here, in that it matters to dance the steps as they should be danced, with the nuance and attention to detail. I know that it must be hard to dance such works out of context, even when they are so well known but if you can't do it right, please leave well alone. The Dying Swan was excruciating in particular. Most of the steps were there and the fluttering of arms etc. Just utterly devoid of meaning somehow.This work is such a cliche now, it has to be done well or not at all.  And yet, this same dancer did a terrific solo in part two. Hard to believe it was the same person.

Carlos danced Les Bourgeois which was mildly amusing and played to his strengths and the final work, Majisimo, which was a crowd pleasing ensemble piece, very well danced and entertaining. 

The women dancers made more of an impact than the men for me, but again, it must be quite difficult to share a stage with Carlos who is hugely charismatic and brimming with male vigour. He is a generous dancer though, as he didn't grandstand. They were all in it together.

The orchestra - Manchester Camerata - was excellent, energetic and beautifully rehearsed. A major feature of the evening. 

As for it being a 'Classical' farewell, it was a rather uneven evening of old and new. The first half works could have been more imaginatively chosen as there were some very talented dancers on show, and the selection didn't give them the chance to shine as the second did. I definitely think Carlos himself should open the dancing and appear in more than three out of twelve. It is his farewell show after all and he didn't exactly knock himself out. The audience was very appreciative though.

Anyway, I will be very interested to hear what others think as the tour goes on.

 

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Well, a Diana & Actaeon pdd, Les Bourgeois and the very competitive Majisimo is quite a stretch at his age!

This sounds as though it's the usual format for his "& friends"-style show, which has been going strong for many years now. It's quite a while since I saw one, but I used to go to the London ones where it worked well and usually sold out drawing in a much more varied and demonstratively enthusiastic audience that you'd get at the Royal Opera House. It has given good soloist opportunities to a lot of dancers over the years: as you say Jacqueline, Mr Acosta is a generous artist.

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Wow Jacqueline. You have put into words my same thoughts about the evening much more eloquently than I could! I liked Carlos' partner Laura Rodriguez in particular on the night. It was all very entertaining. Ditch the Dying Swan I agree. Majisimo came off very well at the end and a bit of a standing ovation.

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I believe they are all Cuban

Thank you for your kind words re: my review! :)

As you say in reply to Alison's question, the dancers are all Cuban, Carlos having gathered together some of the most talented dancers from his home country for these performances, according to his programme introduction.

 I was interested to read the review in today's links. The conclusions were largely in line with my own and presumably yours too.

Anyway,I feel I have done my bit for Carlos now. I won't be going to the RAH later this year. One can only say goodbye so many times. :unsure:

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Just back from seeing this in Southampton and throughly enjoyed it as did the audience in general with a standing ovation at the end. A very varied  evening and some great dancing.

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Noting that the dancers thus far have all been Cuban, I note that the Royal Albert Hall is advertising the October run thus: "For this very special programme, he will perform with some of his closest contemporaries from The Royal Ballet with accompaniment from a live orchestra."  So, will that be a substantially different show?

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From what has been said on this thread, it sounds very much like the programme he's doing with the Cuban cast is pretty much the same as the one he performed at the Coliseum last December with RB dancers. I shouldn't imagine there will be much difference.

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I attended the show last night at The Lowry.  It was the same rep as the Coliseum show with the RB dancers.  I agree that the second half was the better of the 2.  The Dying Swan was not the best I have seen too much hunching for my liking and no comparison with Zenaida Yanowsky.  I hate to say it but even The Trocks version is preferable.  To be fair though the young lady dancing was indeed very young so hopefully things will improve.  At the end of the day I couldn't do it so who am I to knock it?  I liked the classical pieces danced in the first half but the dancers whilst good lack the polish of the RB dancers who did the show at The Coli.  I really liked how the pieces in the second half had a bit of a theme running through with emotive tango and french music and they ran seamlessly from one piece to the next - I enjoyed the Piaf piece but Yuhui Choe was the better performer at The Coli.  There was one unusual piece not danced at The Coli and it was called Andromedan? Anyway I felt that the piece was crying out for the talents of Ekaterina Kondaurova from the Mariinsky I could just see her dancing that piece to perfection!

Carlos *only* danced 3 pieces - Diana and Acteon, Le Bourgeois and Majisimo.  He was very good and his style and elegance stood out alongside the other younger dancers.  He did seem to do a few more bigger jumps in Le Bourgeois this time although when I have seen it done by younger men there are a great deal more tours en l'air, but again what it lacked in bravura dancing Carlos made up for in comedic acting.

Overall I enjoyed the show and there was a lovely crowd at the stage door, the cuban dancers were all absolutely charming and happy to sign autographs and have photos taken with fans.  Carlos was charming as ever and he said he will continue to dance and I think he mentioned something about doing more contemporary stuff.

It was lovely to catch up with some fellow ballet co-ers including JMcN.

Edited by Don Q Fan
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I think the work you refer to is called Anadromous. If the casting remained as I saw it, this was danced by Gabriela Lugo, who also danced the Swan Lake pdd and The Dying Swan. According to my programme, the choreography for Anadromos is by a young Cuban who is also a dancer, called Raul Reinoso. It is a 'reflection on the idea of survival and the power of the will to live as human beings, even when at the verge of death'. Okay then. :blink:

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I was at the performance on Sunday evening and enjoyed it tremendously.

 

I think Carlos Acosta has assembled a great company of young Cuban dancers and I look forward to seeing how they will stamp their own identity on a rep in the future.  I didn't see the performances at the Coli so I can't compare as DQF did.

 

Of the first half I particularly liked the pdd from Winter Dreams (sorry I can't name the dancers, I'm in Cornwall and haven't got my cast sheet with me), which I thought was danced with a pleasing intensity.  Of course, Carlos danced Diana and Actaeon.  While he has not got the leap of his youth, his spins are still outstanding and he filled the stage with his presence.  He is still worth seeing in this piece!

 

I very much enjoyed the second half, particularly the first piece and the tango piece and I absolutely loved Majismo.

 

I'm very glad I went and did not, in any way, feel short changed by the performance.  I would like to see Carlos' company in the future and I am sure a British promoter will be snapping them up for a tour.

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Oh I forgot to mention the orchestra The Manchester Camerata under the baton of Paul Murphy.  I just LOVED them!  They made a really beautiful mellow sound, I really enjoyed the music as much as the show.

 

I must concur with Janet that Carlos' pirouettes were excellent and he came out of them so perfectly, very impressive!

 

Yes Jacqueline it was Gabriela Lugo who danced the same pieces you mention.  

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