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  • Watch: Carlos Acosta on Cubanía and his future plans — 'I want to transition to contemporary dance while I'm at the top'

Watch: Carlos Acosta on Cubanía and his future plans — 'I want to transition to contemporary dance while I'm at the top'

The Havana-born Principal Guest Artist talks to Jon Snow about his Latin-flavoured mixed programme, his childhood and the recent political changes in Cuba.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Online Content)

23 July 2015 at 10.59am | 2 Comments

Royal Ballet Principal Guest Artist Carlos Acosta was recently interviewed by Channel 4 News ahead of the return of Cubanía, the dancer/choreographer's mixed programme featuring leading artists from his homeland.

'I want to transition to contemporary dance while I'm at the top', Carlos told interviewer Jon Snow.

'Cubanía is very demanding because I have to jump from one kind of dancing to another — from classical to afro-Cuban; from folkloric to contemporary dance. At the end of the day, I'm done!'

As well as discussing Cubanía, the Havana-born Principal Guest Artist also reflected on his childhood, growing up as the eleventh child of an impoverished family in one of the Cuban capital's roughest districts:

'At the age of nine or ten years old, we used to steal mangos to pay for movie theatre tickets. My father saw that if this continued, it would become worse. You could say that I was forced into ballet. At first I didn't know what ballet was and secondly, I didn't like it. The Cuban culture is a machismo culture — If you are a man you don't do ballet. But what's not to love about ballet?'

The interview took place in a week that saw a thaw in US-Cuban relations, and the re-establishment of diplomatic links between the two countries:

'It's a wonderful step', Carlos said. 'The countries have been enemies for far too long and it was completely pointless. Everyone has been waiting for this day. I think a lot will happen as a result of the two countries being friends again.'

Carlos is currently developing plans for a new ballet school in Cuba, a project that reflects his longer term plans after the 2015/16 Season:

'I want to build a platform so that long after I'm gone, young dancers from all over the world — not just from Cuba — can educate themselves in this art form that has given me so much.'

Cubanía runs 27 July–2 August 2015. Tickets are still available.

Carlos is also choreographing a new production of Carmen, which runs in a mixed programme from 26 October–12 November 2015. Tickets are available.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Online Content)

23 July 2015 at 10.59am

This article has been categorised Dance and tagged by Carlos Acosta, Carlos Acosta, Channel 4 News, childhood, Cuba, Cubanìa, Havana, interview, Jon Snow, politics, Production, training

This article has 2 comments

  1. Norma Millard responded on 14 November 2015 at 5:07pm Reply

    I have seen you dance so many times in such different ballets, including "Don Quixote" last year (when by good fortune) had an amazing box to see you so clearly . ........... you are doubtless a brilliant dancer and now ch0reographer but as in this interview .. you are such a warm and superb man! I feel I know you, wish I did.

  2. Carlos Acosta is a wonderful dancer with that unique vigor that only comes from Cuba Libre. God bless you and prosper him.
    Hasty pronto Carlitos, El Moro de Los Pinos.

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