Zum Ballett geprügelt…

und trotzdem zum Ballett-Superstar aufgestiegen!

Yuli – ein bemerkenswerter Film über die ergreifende Lebensgeschichte des Profitänzers Carlos Acosta.

Als Kind liebte er Breakdance und hasste Ballett. Sein grosses Vorbild war der Fussballer Pelé. Aber sein Vater, ein LKW-Fahrer, erkannte das grosse Talent seines Sohnes und steckte ihn unbarmherzig in die staatliche kubanische Ballettschule.

Der Rest ist Ballettgeschichte – Carlos Acosta wird der erste schwarze Romeo beim renommierten Royal Ballet London und begeistert die Welt.

Anders als in den üblichen Tanzfilmen werden wichtige Filmszenen getanzt. Anstatt zu zeigen, wie der Vater den kleinen Carlos verprügelt, stellt Carlos Acosta (als Vater) die Prügelstrafe choreografisch dar – ein aufwühlendes Pas de Deux mit einem jungen Tänzer und knallendem Ledergürtel.

Der Erfolg ist auch weiterhin auf Carlos Acostas Seite. Nachdem er als Principal Dancer 2016 beim Royal Ballet London aufhörte, alle wichtigen Dance Awards gewann, als Choreograf überzeugte, wird er ab 2020 Ballettdirektor des Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Für alle Ballettliebhaber ein sehenswerter Film mit fantastischen Tanzszenen. Etwas verwirrend ist das Filmkonzept. Carlos Acosta schlüpft in verschiedene Rollen (als Vater, als Choreograf, als Romeo in einem Filmausschnitt) und ihm werden drei weitere Schauspieler (als Kind, junger Tänzer, junger Erwachsener) zur Seite gestellt.

Hier mein Post zu Carlos Acosta’s gefeierten Choreografie DON QUIXOTE.


Biography of CARLOS ACOSTA by his website

© Carlos Acosta

Born in 1973, Carlos grew up as the 11th child of an impoverished family in one of Havana’s poorest districts. With the persuasion of his father, Carlos was sent to train at the National Ballet School of Cuba. Here he trained with some of its most influential teachers including Ramona de Saa. From 1989 to 1991 Carlos performed throughout the world, guesting with several leading companies including the Compagnia Teatro Nuovo Di Torino in Italy.

With his natural talent and drive to succeed, 1990 became an important and life changing year for Carlos when he won the prestigious Gold Medal at the Prix De Lausanne. This was followed by the Grand Prix at the 4th Biennial Concours International de Danse de Paris plus several other important awards that helped him on his way to success.

Upon the invitation of Ivan Nagy, Carlos was then invited to dance with the English National Ballet during their 91-92 season, where at the age of 18, he became ENB’s youngest ever principal dancer. After gaining recognition on the London stages, injury sadly forced him to return to Cuba.

Carlos subsequently danced for six months with the National Ballet of Cuba under Alicia Alonso, touring with the company to Spain. During his time with the company, Carlos was visited by Ben Stevenson, then director of the Houston Ballet, and offered a contract as a Principal dancer. Carlos accepted and spent five years with the company between 1993 and 1998. Carlos flourished under Ben’s direction, where he danced all the major roles in the company repertoire, leaving his mark in the American ballet world.

After maturing a great deal in Houston, Carlos felt the need to expand and grow further, choosing to join the Royal Ballet under the direction of Anthony Dowell in 1998. The Royal Ballet soon became his home where he danced in nearly all the major ballets in their repertoire, of which many are filmed, even successfully choreographing his first full length ballet, Don Quixote, for the company.

Carlos was instrumental in touring the company to his homeland of Havana Cuba for the first time in 2009. This was a proud moment and one of the highlights. He also performed Romeo and Juliet in the o2 Arena with Tamara Rojo and the cast of the Royal Ballet to an audience of 13,500 people.

Carlos changed his title to Principal Guest Artist from 2003 and has enjoyed a thriving career as an International Guest Artist with all the leading ballet companies around the world, appearing in the United States, Russia, the Netherlands, Chile, Argentina, Japan, China, Greece, Germany, Italy, France, and Australia. He did several seasons with the American Ballet Theatre in New York, and was twice invited to the Opera Garnier in Paris to dance Nureyev’s Don Quixote and La Bayadere. He won critical acclaim in Moscow and London in 2007 for the role of Spartacus, which he performed with the Bolshoi Ballet. The production was re staged and filmed in January 2008 in the Paris Opera’s Palais Garnier, especially for Carlos. He won the prestigious Benois De La Danse for this role.

In the 2014 New Year’s Honours List Carlos was awarded the CBE, capping the end of a remarkable year which saw him stage his new production of Don Quixote at the Royal Opera House, and choreographing a new production of Guys and Dolls for the West End. In the National Dance Awards 2015, Carlos was awarded the De Valois Award for Lifetime Achievement.

In addition to his work with the Royal Ballet, Carlos also choreographed his semi autobiographical show, Tocororo. It premiered in Havana in 2003 and subsequently broke all box office records at Sadlers Wells Theatre in London. It was nominated for an Olivier award in 2004. He continued to develop his own highly popular and award winning shows in London and throughout Europe including both Classical and contemporary repertoire, and often championing relatively unknown choreographers from his native Cuba. In 2007 he won the coveted ‘Outstanding Achievement in Dance’ at the Laurence Oliver Awards for his production of Carlos Acosta and Friends of the Royal Ballet.

Carlos retired from the Royal Ballet stage in 2015 with his own version of Carmen, choreographed for the company. He then brought the curtain down on his classical career with sell out shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2016. 

Carlos continues to dance contemporary and formed his own company in Havana ‘Acosta Danza’ to critical acclaim. He directs and performs with the company as it tours the world. The culture and vibrancy of his country have always had a big influence on his career and continue to do so as he has also created the Carlos Acosta International Dance Foundation, a project close to his heart, with the dream of giving young dancers and choreographers the opportunities he benefitted from by providing an education platform, free at the point of delivery, where they can come to express talents which might not otherwise be seen or heard whilst receiving world class training in an inspirational setting. The first step in this process was the creation of the Acosta Danza Academy which opened its doors in Havana for the first time in September 2017 to its first intake of aspiring and talented young Cuban students, each embarking on the first of a three-year course and who will be joined by a further intake of Cuban and international students in September 2018.

But Carlos’s remarkable career does not only extend to dance. He wrote his autobiography entitled ‘No Way Home’ which was published by Harper Collins in the UK and Scribner in the US in 2007, becoming Radio 4’s book of the week. Following that he wrote his first work of Fiction ‘Pig’s Foot’ which was published by Bloomsbury in 2013.

Numerous documentaries have been made about him and he has also appeared in several feature films including the Natalie Portman directed segment of ‘New York I love you’, John Robert’s ‘The Day of Flowers’, Susanna White’s ‘Our Kind of Traitor’, and Cynthia Newport’s ‘Dreams of Flight’. A film inspired by his life, entitled ‘Yuli’, has already been shot and will be receiving premieres in the UK in April 2019.

source https://www.carlosacosta.com/biography.php

Beitragsbild: Filmplakat von https://www.fbw-filmbewertung.com/film/yuli

Dancing with a broken foot – is it even possible?

Interview with Valentino Zucchetti, First Soloist in Royal Ballet London

What does a ballet dancer do when he breaks his foot mid-performance? Accept calamity? Or just carry on regardless?

I was lucky to talk to Valentino about his major injury in his debut of Espada on Don Quixote. Hear more about the swaggering Espada in Carlos Acosta’s celebrated production Don Quixote.

Watch Valentino jumping. He is a very talented, beautiful dancer, a great artist and an upcoming choreographer.

Manon 05/10/14, Copyright 2014 ROH. Photographed by Alice Pennefather

More about Don Quixote at the Royal Opera in London.

Read my short review


Biography of Valentino Zucchetti (by website of the Royal Ballet London)

Valentino zucchetti in Scènes de ballet, The Royal ballet ©
ROH/Tristram Kenton, 2014

Italian dancer Valentino Zucchetti is a First Soloist of The Royal Ballet. He trained at The Royal Ballet Upper School and on graduation joined Zürich Ballet. He joined the Company in 2010, promoted to First Artist in 2011, Soloist in 2012 and First Soloist in 2014.

Zucchetti was born in Calcinate and began training locally aged four. Aged 11 he moved to Milan to study at La Scala Ballet School. Aged 16 he was offered a scholarship to study at The Royal Ballet Upper School and while there won the 2006 Genée International Ballet Competition and the 2007 Solo Seal award. In his final year he created a role in Christopher Hampson’s Three Dialogues for the School’s annual matinee. He subsequently joined Zürich Ballet and moved to Norwegian National Ballet in 2009. His repertory in Zürich and Oslo included Gurn (La Sylphide) and Prince (The Nutcracker). Zucchetti’s repertory with The Royal Ballet includes Colas (La Fille mal gardée), Rhapsody, blue boy (Les Patineurs), Lescaut (Manon), Brother Clown (The Winter’s Tale), Gypsy Girl’s Lover (The Two Pigeons), Lensky (Onegin), Espada (Don Quixote), Hilarion (Giselle), Puck (The Dream), Hans-Peter and Prince (The Nutcracker), Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet), Bronze Idol (La Bayadère), Lead Hungarian Officer (Mayerling), Bluebird (The Sleeping Beauty), Fool (The Prince of the Pagodas) and roles in The Vertiginous Thrill of ExactitudeTarantellaJewelsThe Human SeasonsScènes de balletSymphonic VariationsDGV: Danse à grande vitesse and Within the Golden Hour. He has created roles for Carlos Acosta, Kim Brandstrup, David Dawson, Alastair Marriott, Liam Scarlett, Heinz Spoerli and Christopher Wheeldon, among others.

Zucchetti won the School’s Ursula Moreton Choreographic Award in 2005. He choreographed Sonata for Six for the School’s 2013 matinee and regularly creates pieces for The Royal Ballet’s Draft Works. In 2013 he choreographed Orbital Motion for New English Ballet Theatre.

Nijinsky – Genius and Insanity

Marcos Goecke’s Nijinsky Ballet PREMIERE with the Ballet Zurich on 9th March

There was rapturous applause from the audience for this emotional artistic biography of the greatest dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky.

I was lucky to talk to Jan Casier (Nijinsky), Irmina Kopaczynska (Mother of Nijinsky) and Mélanie Borel (Wife of Nijinsky). Learn more about these characters and dancers in new my youtube-Channel.

My interviews at the After Party
NIJINSKI – Trailer of the Ballet Zurich

Read this summary from the website of Ballet Zurich:

„Only ten glorious years were granted Vaslav Nijinsky at the head of Sergei Diaghilev’s legendary Ballets Russes. He intoxicated audiences – with virtuoso leaps and androgynous charisma – as the Faun and the Golden Slave. His audacious choreographies provoked scandals. He loved a man and married a woman. The dancer fell at the pinnacle of his fame. Before he died in London in 1950, he had spent thirty deranged years in the shadows of mental asylums. Compulsory admission to a psychiatric clinic, dubious diagnoses and experimental therapies drove his soul beyond the reach of others.

Marco Goecke has dedicated a feature-length ballet to this epoch-making dancer and choreographer. The result fascinatingly merges Goecke’s distinctive, nervously trembling, frantic body language with reminiscences of Nijinsky the artist. This also allows for choreographic elements of his career as a dancer to be incorporated. The choreography focuses on Nijinsky the man and his character, transposing emotions into highly aesthetic movement. Although Marco Goecke accompanies the exceptional artist through the stages of his life, the piece extends far beyond a purely biographical study, and focuses on fundamental questions. The magic and value of art takes centre stage – but also the price that it intransigently exacts from all creative people.

After Deer Vision and Petrushka, Marco Goecke will once again be a guest of Ballett Zürich to develop a new, extended version of his Nijinski ballet with the ensemble. The original was premièred at the Theaterhaus Stuttgart’s Gauthier Dance festival to great acclaim.

Together with Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Frédéric Chopin’s two piano concertos – played by the Swiss pianist Adrian Oetiker – will form the musical framework of this moving evening. Pavel Baleff will conduct the Philharmonia Zurich.“ Abstract of website of Ballet Zurich https://www.opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/nijinksi/season_50348/


Ballett von Marco Goecke
Musik von Frédéric Chopin und Claude Debussy
Schweizerische Erstaufführung / Zürcher

Neufassung Choreografie Marco Goecke 
Musikalische Leitung Pavel Baleff
Bühnenbild und
Kostüme Michaela Springer 
Lichtgestaltung Udo Haberland 
Dramaturgie Esther Dreesen-Schaback

More performances at Opernhaus Zürich until 6th April 2019!



Carlos Acosta’s Don Quixote

Akane Takada and Alexander Campbell in Don Quixote, photo by Andrej Uspenski / ROH

Totally refreshed, retold and re-orchestraTed

It is a must for all ballet lovers to watch a ballet in the Royal Opera House in London. The Royal Ballet is one of the world’s largest, most famous ballet companies with more than 100 ballet dancers.

Carlos Acosta, the Cuban ballet superstar and former Principal Dancer of the Royal Ballet, made this antiquated story more believable and more human. It is just fun! Highly recommended. Go the the Royal Opera, have a glass of champagne in this beautiful winter garden and enjoy this terrific classical ballet.

„The ballet radiates pure sunshine – with all the dazzling Latin warmth associated with Carlos Acosta, and with the color of Tim Hatley’s vibrant design and the musical arrangement of Minkus’s score by Martin Yates.“ Quote of Kevin O’Hare, Director of the Royal Ballet.

I was very lucky to see Akane Takada and Alexander Campbell in the leading roles, great solo parts and an amazing corps de ballet.

Acosta made some great changes. He added a gypsy campfire dance with live guitarist on stage and the garden of the Dyrads with giant pink flowers – beautiful settings and Spanish style ballet costumes.

This trailer presents Carlos Acosta as Basilio, Marianela Nuñez as Kitri in 2014.

Image on Top Akane Takada and Alexander Campbell in Don Quixote, photo by Andrej Uspenski / ROH

Review http://seenandheard-international.com/2019/02/carlos-acostas-don-quixote-returns-to-the-royal-ballet-and-is-vibrant-and-enthusiastically-danced/

Biography of Carlos Acosta, Principal Guest rèpétiteur (source roh.org.uk)

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. In the 2017/18 Season he returns as Principal Guest Répétiteur for The Royal Ballet.

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.

More about Carlos Acostahttps://www.carlosacosta.com/