Internationally renowned Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta celebrates his prodigious career with the Classical Farewell at the Royal Albert Hall.
“Thank you, Carlos!” shouted an anonymous audience member in the closing moment of Carlos Acosta’s Classical Farewell at the Royal Albert Hall. This was just ahead of a standing ovation that lasted at least fifteen minutes, if not even longer. Acosta, the Cuban dancer famous the world over as a tour-de-force of ballet, is loved by his audience and has been throughout his extensive two-decade career. Now, as the dancer retires from classical ballet, he rewards his audience one last time with a farewell tour, co-produced by Sadler’s Wells.
The production opens with Winter Dreams (Farewell Pas de Deux), performed by Acosta and Marianela Nunez. It’s a delicate, almost fragile dance, with the heartbreak of parting lovers. In Mayering (Final Pas de Deux), this emotion is intensified and strained with a desperate scene of doomed lovers. Throughout, you could hear a pin drop as the audience lost itself in the tragedy. Acosta returns with Nunez in Don Quixote (Pas de Deux), which in contrast is such a jolly and high-spirited performance, and affords both dancers to showcase their jaw-dropping talents with endless pirouettes and gravity-defying leaps, while in Apollo (Pas de Deux), the choreography is gentle and almost solemn.
Elsewhere, Dying Swan, performed by the infallible Sarah Lamb, is the height of beauty and sadness – there is a reason it is one of the most iconic pieces of the ballet choreography. Rhapsody (Pas de Deux) is a fairy tale come to life, with glittering costume and such innocence in the choreography, danced by Yuhui Choe and Valentino Zucchetti. Rubies (Pas de Deux), performed by Lamb and Zucchetti, is charged and shows the technical accomplishment in the dancers. Anadromous, danced by Gabriela Lugo and Luis Valle, is truly spectacular. It reaches something otherworldly in its choreography and reflects a story of survival against adversity.
Though Acosta is retiring from classical ballet, he will continue to perform contemporary dance and direct his dance company Acosta Danza. Audiences can look forward to seeing more of the dancer in the future, but looking back on his career, they can thank him for all he has brought to the stage, to his craft and the world of ballet. Thank you, Acosta.