Carlos Acosta – The Classical Farewell

at the Royal Albert Hall, October 3rd to 7th 2016


Having said goodbye to the Royal Ballet last November after dancing with the company for 17 years, Carlos Acosta went on to give ballet lovers around the country an opportunity to say goodbye  with a tour, culminating in final performances in the suitably splendid setting of the Royal Albert Hall. Accompanied by principals of the Royal Ballet and other leading dancers, Acosta presented a wide ranging selection of pas de deux from the classical repertoire. Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography was well represented, and works by Frederick Ashton, Balanchine, Fokine and Petipa shared the bill with Cuban Miguel Altunaga and Paul Reinoso. The programme began with the Farewell pas de deux from MacMillan’s Winter Dreams danced by Acosta and Marianela Nunez, who also partnered him in the Don Quixote pas de deux (the high spot of the whole show for me) and in the pas de deux from Balanchine’s Apollo. Sarah Lamb gave a poignant rendering of Fokine’s   Dying Swan.

Opening part two was the final pas de deux from MacMillan’s Mayerling, performed by Acosta, Laura Morera and Valentino Zucchetti, and another piece of MacMillan’s dramatic work was the bedroom pas de deux from Act 1 of  Manon danced by Laura Morera and Ryoichi Hirano. For me these were some of the highlights of the evening, although they may not have meant so much to anyone unfamiliar with the ballets. The props required were cleverly placed on the stage and removed with hardly a pause – congratulations to the production team.

The final item on the programme was Memoria, a solo created by choreographer Miguel Altunaga for Carlos Acosta in 2011 and described in the programme as street dance flavoured. This is perhaps a sign of things to come, as Carlos says in his programme introduction that he will continue to perform more contemporary works. He also intends to present future generations of Cuban dancers and choreographers to the world through his own dance company, Acosta Danza. I wish him every success in this, and thank him for all the pleasure his dancing has given us over the years. Jean Rush