Curated by Carlos, Birmingham Royal Ballet review: Triple bill shows off charisma of mature dancers

Following pandemic delays, Birmingham Royal Ballet director Carlos Acosta is finally making smart use of his star power

Zoe Anderson
Friday 05 November 2021 17:24
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<p>‘City of a Thousand Trades’ by Miguel Altunaga was a ‘poorly focused celebration of Birmingham’ </p>

‘City of a Thousand Trades’ by Miguel Altunaga was a ‘poorly focused celebration of Birmingham’

Carlos Acosta took over as director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2020, after a celebrated career as a dancer. Despite pandemic delays, he’s making smart use of his own star power. For the London premiere of this triple bill, choreographer Goyo Montero added a new duet to his 2003 ballet Chacona. Danced by Acosta and guest ballerina Alessandra Ferri, it shows off the charisma of two mature dancers. Yet this sprinkle of stardust doesn’t pull focus from the company, who dance with heart throughout.

The two new works are part of BRB’s Ballet Now, an ongoing programme to commission new choreography to new music. Miguel Altunaga’s City of A Thousand Trades is a poorly focused celebration of Birmingham. Things look up with the sleek, joyful dancing of Daniela Cardim’s Immanent.

Altunaga starts with the idea of people trading something to come to the city. Poet Casey Bailey’s voiceover framework is full of broad statements, but there’s not much dancing in them. The dancers drift among the blocks and steel poles of Giulia Scrimieri’s set. Without something concrete to express, they do a lot of gazing in wonder at the scaffolding.

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