Carlos Acosta, Sadler's Wells Theatre

Dazzling perfection thrills new audience
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The Independent Culture

What a surprise - all those bouquets being thrown during the tumultuous applause for Carlos Acosta's thrilling dance show Tocororo. That doesn't surprise you? But wait until I add that it was the performers tossing the flowers into the audience: an indication of the warmth and generosity that fill the whole evening.

The title Tocororo is simply the name of the hero, played by Acosta himself, and also by his young nephew Yonah at the beginning, when Daddy with difficulty persuades the boy to leave their little Cuban village (beautiful designs by Salvatore Forino) for the wider possibilities of the big city. There, wanting to become a dancer, his beautiful arabesques get him laughed at by the street kids - the show's one autobiographical touch.

Luckily, love comes to his rescue, and with help from Clarita (played by the beautiful and inspiring Veronica Corveas) he manages to become cock of the walk.

This time Acosta is reaching far beyond the ballet audiences who already know and gasp at his fantastic pirouettes or marvel at his convoluted jumps. They are here, as wonderful as ever; and don't overlook the amazing perfection he brings to what may look simpler steps but are rarely given with such flair, style and polish.

However, this is by no means a one-man show. Besides Corveas, borrowed from the Cuban National Ballet, the cast includes a dozen amazingly gifted and lively youngsters from the company Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, not to mention the mature actress-dancer Mireya Chapman as the wise woman who encourages Acosta, and the powerful Alexander Varona (dark glasses, cigar, tremendous personality and perfectly timed footwork) as the Moor who wants to put this young rival down again.

The five on-stage musicians, too, play characters as well as instruments, and the score by Miguel Nunez, with its vigorous development of traditional melodies, reinforces the effect of Acosta's story and choreography in justifying his sub-title A Cuban Tale. This is quite out of the run of anything Acosta has done before.