Prima Top Tens: A Pas De Blog Tribute to Carlos Acosta

Photograph: Andrej Uspenski/Royal Opera Hous

This Thursday, 12th of November 2015, marks Carlos Acosta’s last performance as a Guest Principal with the Royal Ballet. Acosta is one of the most recognizable stars in ballet today, having been a Guest Principal with the Royal Ballet since 1998 but with a history of dancing with other superstar companies such as American Ballet Theater, English National Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba and Houston Ballet. Having received a CBE in 2013, he has been called “the greatest male dancer of his generation” (1).

Comparatively speaking both authors of this blog are relatively new to the ballet word, so we haven’t been affected by as many of Carlos’s performance as much as some ballet fans out there. But from what we have seen of his dancing we can clearly tell why he is so special. Therefore we present a Prima Top 10 countdown of productions that Carlos Acosta is most remembered for during his time at the Royal Ballet!

10. Cubanía

Carlos Acosta's Tocororo ©ROH. Bill Cooper, 2014

Carlos Acosta’s Tocororo ©ROH. Bill Cooper, 2014

Carlos has put on Cubanía on at the Royal Opera House most recently as the summer of 2015, a mixed programme curated by Carlos featuring works from leading Cuban artists.

 

9. Apollo

Carlos Acosta in Apollo ©ROH/Johan Persson, 2013

Carlos Acosta in Apollo ©ROH/Johan Persson, 2013

A classic Balanchine ballet, and considered one of the more important ballets of the 20th century, Acosta shows off his versatility as a dancer in the title role of Apollo.

 

8 Manon

Having played both leads of Des Grieux and Lescaut, Carlos has excelled in both of them during this epic and tragic MacMillan classic ballet. He has partnered Natalia Osipova in this role, and his outing with Tamara Rojo from 2004 is available on DVD.

 

7 Song of the Earth

 

Carlos Acosta as The Messenger of Death, Marianela Nuñez and Thiago Soares in Song of the Earth © ROH, 2015. Photo by Tristram Kenton

Carlos Acosta as The Messenger of Death, Marianela Nuñez and Thiago Soares in Song of the Earth © ROH, 2015. Photo by Tristram Kenton

A real fan favourite, Song of the Earth is a very special MacMillan ballet that Carlos excels in as the Messenger of Death.

 

6 Romeo and Juliet

Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo in Romeo and Juliet

Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo in Romeo and Juliet.

Carlos is often remembered for his classic portrayal of Romeo in MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, with Tamara Rojo often cast as his Juliet. One critic stated in a recent write up that Carlos and Tamara together in Romeo and Juliet was one of the most passionate performances they had seen, with Tamara seemingly deeply in love with Carlos throughout the ballet (2). For those of us not lucky to have witnessed this in real life, thankfully it is preserved forever in DVD and BlueRay which you can get from Amazon or the Royal Opera House shop.

Most recently he has performed this with the Russian star Natalia Osipova. Which brings us nicely to…

 

5 Giselle


Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta’s Giselle performed in 2014 was hailed as an absolute triumph. If you settle in and watch the DVD, or even clips on YouTube, you can see why. Acosta is a fabulous partner for the otherworldly Osipova, and their partnering together is flawless and looks natural and easy; the way ballet should look. The chemistry between the two of them is off the charts, we could honestly go on and on but we will let this clip do the talking. This is a must own DVD for any ballet fan.

4 La Bayadere

Another gem of a ballet that Carlos is especially renowned for his portrayal of Solor. This one is also available on Blue Ray and DVD on Amazon or the Royal Opera House shop.

3 La Fille mal gardée

 

Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nunez in La Fille mal gardée

Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nunez in La Fille mal gardée

This was Carlos’s last full length ballet that he performed on the Royal Opera House stage during in the spring of 2015 with Marianela Nunez. He is a perfect, charismatic Colas to Nunez’s flirty Lise. Their 2005 performance is also preserved forever on BluRay or DVD.

2 Don Quixote

 

Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nunez in Don Quixote

Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nunez in Don Quixote

Carlos’s first full length ballet which he choreographed for the Royal Ballet in 2013. full of olés, comedic timing and spectacular dancing. Carlos danced this with Marianela Nunez, one of his regular Royal Ballet partners, and they were simply stunning in it. This is also available on BluRay or DVD!

 

1 Carmen

The_Royal_Ballet_Carlos_Acosta_s_Carmen

Carmen is the newest offering from Carlos as he not only choreographed it, but has cast himself in two of the lead male roles. It is fair to admit that Carmen is a slightly controversial one act ballet that has divided audiences. This is the number one simply because it’s what Carlos has decided to dance in at his final performance on the Covent Garden stage as a member of the Royal Ballet. On a personal note from the two of us at Pas De Blog, we were both very mixed on this ballet (as you might have read in our He Says, She Says reviews), but that is the beauty of dance; the subjectivity and how it divides audiences. Carlos really started some passionate conversations about dance with this ballet.

 

 

Sources:

Featured image: Photograph: Andrej Uspenski/Royal Opera House from The Guardian Carlos Acosta Gallery
1. 2013 ITV, Ballet Dancer Carlos Acosta Thrilled with CBE honour
2 Winship, L. In ballet, real-life romance is the enemy of onstage chemistry
All gifs not tagged with “Pas De Blog” were found via Google Image Search.

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