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Carlos Acosta

Former Royal Ballet dancer

Biography

Carlos Acosta in action.
Carlos Acosta in Don Quixote © ROH/Johan Persson, 2013

Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta was a Principal Guest Artist of The Royal Ballet 2003–16. He has danced with many of the leading ballet companies in the world. He joined The Royal Ballet in 1998 and became a Principal Guest Artist in 2003. His many roles for the Company included Siegfried (Swan Lake), Albrecht (Giselle), The Prince (The Nutcracker), Des Grieux (Manon), Prince Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty), Basilio (Don Quixote) and Apollo. He has staged Don Quixote and created the new work Carmen for the Company.

Acosta was born in Havana and trained at the National Ballet School of Cuba, going on to dance with the English National Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba and the Houston Ballet. The culture and history of his home country have been important influences throughout his career, and in 2003 his show Tocororo – A Cuban Tale, loosely based on his childhood, broke box office records at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. His 2007 autobiography No Way Home was a UK bestseller, and he published his first novel, Pig’s Foot, in 2013. His film appearances include in Day of the Flowers and Our Kind of Traitor. Since leaving The Royal Ballet he has founded the dance company Acosta Danza in Cuba.

Acosta has received many awards throughout his career, including an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance in 2007, a Prix Benois de la Danse in 2008 and an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2014 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. In 2014 he was appointed a CBE for services to ballet.

Videos

News and features

How the ROH Costume department create Tudor costumes for <em>Elizabeth</em> that are light enough to dance in

How the ROH Costume department create Tudor costumes for Elizabeth that are light enough to dance in

6 January 2016

Head of Costume Fay Fullerton on the challenges of re-creating Elizabethan costumes for 21st-century ballet.

ROH TV and radio broadcasts announced for Christmas 2015

ROH TV and radio broadcasts announced for Christmas 2015

9 December 2015

The Christmas line-up features celebrated Royal Opera and Royal Ballet performances, including Carlos Acosta's Carmen and Jonas Kaufmann in Andrea Chénier.

BBC to air 'Imagine...' documentary following Carlos Acosta on 8 December 2015

BBC to air 'Imagine...' documentary following Carlos Acosta on 8 December 2015

1 December 2015

The special will see the Principal Guest Artist offer unique insights into the creation of Carmen, and a glimpse into his future plans.

Photos

Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta in Carmen

Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nuñez, Federico Bonelli and Mayara Magri in rehearsal for Carmen, The Royal Ballet

Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta in rehearsal for Carmen, The Royal Ballet

Marianela Nuñez as Lise, Carlos Acosta as Colas and artists of The Royal Ballet in La Fille mal gardée, The Royal Ballet

Carlos Acosta as The Messenger of Death, Marianela Nuñez and Thiago Soares in Song of the Earth

Carlos Acosta as The Messenger of Death and artists of The Royal Ballet in Song of the Earth

Danza Contemporánea de Cuba in George Céspedes' La Ecuación

Danza Contemporánea de Cuba in George Céspedes' La Ecuación

Danza Contemporánea de Cuba in George Céspedes' La Ecuación

Carlos Acosta in Afternoon of a Faun, The Royal Ballet

Carlos Acosta as Albrecht in Giselle

Carlos Acosta as Albrecht and Natalia Osipova as Giselle in Giselle

Carlos Acosta as Albrecht and Natalia Osipova as Giselle in Giselle

Carlos Acosta as Basilio and Marianela Nuñez as Kitri in Don Quixote

Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nuñez and members of The Royal Ballet at the curtain call for the gala night of Don Quixote

Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta at the curtain call for the gala night of Don Quixote

Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta in rehearsals for Don Quixote

Carlos Acosta rehearsing for Don Quixote

Carlos Acosta in Gloria

Carlos Acosta and Pieter Symonds in rehearsals for Cubanía

In rehearsals for Cubanía

Carlos Acosta and Pieter Symonds in rehearsals for Cubanía

Sarah Lamb and Carlos Acosta in Afternoon of a Faun, The Royal Ballet

Carlos Acosta working with dancers of The Royal Ballet on Don Quixote

Carlos Acosta working with dancers of The Royal Ballet on Don Quixote

Carlos Acosta working with dancers of The Royal Ballet on Don Quixote

Marianela Nunez and Carlos Acosta in Apollo

Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta in Swan Lake.

Carlos Acosta in Requiem

Carlos Acosta in Romeo and Juliet

Carlos Acosta in Requiem

Carlos Acosta as Romeo and Natalia Osipova as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, The Royal Ballet

Carlos Acosta's Tocorocco

Carlos Acosta's Tocorocco

Carlos Acosta's Tocorocco

Danza Contemporánea de Cuba in George Céspedes' La Ecuación