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Carlos Acosta

Principal Guest Artist of The Royal Ballet

Biography

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

Carlos Acosta 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. He has achieved acclaim for dancing many of the danseur noble roles in the repertory, such as Siegfried (Swan Lake), Albrecht (Giselle), The Prince (The Nutcracker), Des Grieux (Manon), Prince Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty) and Don Quixote. His staging of Don Quixote, his first for The Royal Ballet, opened the 2013/14 Season.

Acosta was born in Havana and trained at the National Ballet School of Cuba, before dancing 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 is currently developing plans for a new ballet school in Cuba. 2013 saw the publication of his first novel, Pig’s Foot.

Acosta has received many awards throughout his career, including an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance in 2007 and a Prix Benois de la Danse in 2008, and in 2014 he was made a CBE for services to ballet. In June 2011 he performed with Tamara Rojo at the opening night of Romeo and Juliet at the O2 Arena, London, to an audience of 13,500.

Videos

News and features

Your reaction: Cubanía

Your reaction: Cubanía

23 July 2014

What did you think of Carlos Acosta's programme of Cuban dance?

A Cuban dance history: Part II

A Cuban dance history: Part II

16 July 2014

Following our guide to Cuban dance in general, we explore the country’s ballet tradition.

A Cuban dance history: Part I

A Cuban dance history: Part I

14 July 2014

Our quick guide to traditional and modern dance in Cuba.

Watch: Carlos Acosta - 'Ballet productions are constant works in progress'

Watch: Carlos Acosta - 'Ballet productions are constant works in progress'

7 April 2014

The Cuban ballet superstar speaks about his production of Don Quixote and offers cautionary words for young dancers lured by fame.

Don Quixote available to pre-order on DVD

Don Quixote available to pre-order on DVD

9 March 2014

Carlos Acosta's first full-length work for The Royal Ballet stars Carlos as Basilio and Marianela Nuñez as Kitri.

The Male Virtuoso

The Male Virtuoso

7 February 2014

A look at the development of the male dancer.

Photos

Pieter Symonds and Carlos Acosta in Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Carlos Acosta and Pieter Symonds in Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Pieter Symonds and Carlos Acosta in Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

In rehearsals for Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

In rehearsals for Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Carlos Acosta as Albrecht and Natalia Osipova as Giselle in Giselle © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Natalia Osipova as Giselle in Giselle © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Carlos Acosta as Albrecht and Natalia Osipova as Giselle in Giselle © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Carlos Acosta as Albrecht in Giselle © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

In rehearsals for Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Carlos Acosta as Albrecht and Natalia Osipova as Giselle in Giselle © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Carlos Acosta and Pieter Symonds in rehearsals for Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Pieter Symonds and Carlos Acosta in rehearsals for Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

In rehearsals for Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Carlos Acosta and Pieter Symonds in rehearsals for Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Carlos Acosta and Pieter Symonds in rehearsals for Cubanía © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Carlos Acosta in Tocoroco © Laurie Lewis

Tocoroco © Laurie Lewis

Carlos Acosta in Romeo and Juliet © Dee Conway, 2006

Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nuñez and members of The Royal Ballet at the curtain call for the gala night of Don Quixote © ROH / The Ballet Bag 2013

Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta at the curtain call for the gala night of Don Quixote © ROH / The Ballet Bag 2013

Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta at the curtain call for the gala night of Don Quixote © ROH / The Ballet Bag 2013

Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nuñez at the curtain call for the gala night of Don Quixote © ROH / The Ballet Bag 2013

Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nuñez and members of The Royal Ballet at the curtain call for the gala night of Don Quixote © ROH / The Ballet Bag 2013

Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nuñez and members of The Royal Ballet at the curtain call for the gala night of Don Quixote © ROH / The Ballet Bag 2013

Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nuñez at the curtain call for the gala night of Don Quixote © ROH / The Ballet Bag 2013

Carlos Acosta rehearsing for Don Quixote © ROH / Johan Persson 2013

Carlos Acosta rehearsing for Don Quixote © ROH / Johan Persson 2013

Carlos Acosta rehearsing for Don Quixote © ROH / Johan Persson 2013

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

Carlos Acosta as Basilio in Don Quixote © ROH / Johan Persson 2013

Carlos Acosta as Basilio and Marianela Nuñez as Kitri in Don Quixote © ROH / Johan Persson 2013

Marianela Nunez and Carlos Acosta in Apollo ©ROH/Johan Persson, 2013

Carlos Acosta in Apollo ©ROH/Johan Persson, 2013

Carlos Acosta and Natalia Osipova in Romeo and Juliet © ROH/Bill Cooper, 2013

Carlos Acosta working with dancers of The Royal Ballet on Don Quixote © ROH/Ruairi Watson, 2013