The Acosta Danza company, directed by Carlos Acosta, though he no longer dances in the productions, has just made its debut in Pais with the show 100% Cuban at the National Theater of Chaillot. The mixed programme opened at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London on 9 February and then the company took it on a UK tour. Photographer Dasa Wharton photographed the three UK premieres: Hybrid, by Cuban Norge Cedeno, Liberto by Acosta Danza dancer and choreographer Raul Reinoso, and De Punta a Cabo by Alexis Fernandez, set against the backdrop of the coast of Havana.
Hybrid is an energetic, red-tinted work for five couples, more interesting perhaps for its coded messages than for its choreography, which attempts to fuse folk movement with contemporary dance, often clumsily. It seems to be about the defiance of urban youth. – Teresa Guerreiro for Culture Whisper.
Acosta Danza is a company of extraordinarily talented dancers in search of quality indigenous material. Judging by its latest bill, 100% Cuban, currently at Sadler's Wells as part of an international tour, they're yet to find it.
Its first half opens with two of the evening's three UK premières – which also turn out to be two of its weaker works. Liberto, a duet by company member Raúl Reinoso, tells the story of a runaway slave, conjuring up despair, alienation and Yoruba gods with the artful use of smoke and spotlights.
There are some nice touches – not least during the opening moments when Mario Sergio Elias kneels, arms outstretched, twitching like a puppet on a string – but a later move into glittery fishing nets, crotch-grabbing and elaborate headdresses ends the piece on a camp note rather than tragedy. – Emma Byrne for Evening Standard
De Punta a Cabo
Their hybrid abilities and Cuban pride are seen most overtly in De Punta a Cabo, created by Alexis Fernández and Yaday Ponce. The execution is primary coloured, dancing on pointe along Havana's sea wall, but there's something intoxicating about these dancers and you're gradually absorbed into their night-out vibes.- Lyndsey Winship for The Guardian
Choreography – Norge Cedeño
Music – Jenny Peña and Randy Araujo
Costume Design – Celia Ledón
Lightning – Yaron Abulafia
Duration – 25:20
“O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible.” (The Myth of Sisyphus)
A universe where the real and the unreal blur their limits to reach our chimera.
An approach to sensitive realities and imaginaries of a nation and its people, told from the strength of its culture and dance.
An island that unveils its mysteries on a path that goes from darkness to light.
Choreography – Raúl Reinoso
Music – Pepe Gavilondo
Costume Design – Alisa Peláez
Lightning – Yaron Abulafia
Duration – 15:30
The story of a cimarron, invites us to reflect on the faces of slavery, from ancient times to the present day. The meeting of the fugitive with the woman, beyond the beginning of a love story, is a moment of reflection and retelling, the possible discovery of the path to the utopian kingdom of total freedom.
De Punta a Cabo
Choreography – Alexis Fernández (Maca)
Music – Kumar, Kike Wolf – from Beautiful Cuban by José White – and Omar Sosa
Costume Design – Vladimir Cuenca
Lightning – Adam Carrée and Pedro Benítez
Duration – 17 minutes
This choreography had its world premiere in the Acosta Danza première season, presented in April 2016 at the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso. The choreographer brings to dance his impressions of contemporary Cuba, a country of mixture and contrasts. Between the traditional and the modern, poverty and development, the classic and the most corrosive, the marvellous reality.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.