Cubania, Royal Opera House, review: Carlos Acosta's roots celebrated with energy


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The Independent Culture

Cubanía, an evening by ballet star Carlos Acosta, has fine dancers and thin choreography, covering the gaps with plenty of energy.

The show celebrates Acosta’s Cuban roots, from a new duet to his own Tocororo Suite, in which a country boy overcomes adversity with hipshakes and pirouettes.

At 41, Acosta still has princely line and warm stage presence, but he’s planning to move from ballet into contemporary dance. Cubanía shows him on the borderline, in two inconsequential duets with splendid co-stars. 

In Miguel Altunaga’s new Derrumbe, he’s joined by the sharp, strong Pieter Symonds, changing clothes until their relationship breaks down in a deluge of laundry. In Edward Liaang’s Sight Unseen, Zenaida Yanowsky unfurls long legs and Acosta melts into backbends.

Russell Maliphant’s Flux is the strongest number of the night, with Alexander Varona spinning on his knees or rippling through fluid poses. In George Céspedes’ Ecuación, dancers of the Danza Contemporánea de Cuba crouch and leap inside a metal frame.

Acosta has reworked Tocororo as a cheerful but overlong dance suite. Acosta’s classical innocent confronts Varona’s twitchily cool Mr Big in a series of dance battles, until our hero learns Cuban rhythms through the love of a good woman (Verónica Corveas).

Until 23 July. Box office 020 7304 4000