Acosta Danza’s ‘Evolution’ is a remarkably constructed show that explores themes of spiritual enlightenment, young love and the battle of the sexes. It takes inspiration from both classical ballet and contemporary dance set to music from all around the world.
I have to admit that I am newcomer to the world of ballet, and as a result I was a little hesitant at first whether Acosta Danza’s show ‘Evolution’ would be up my street. However, these worries soon subsided once the show began. ‘Evolution’ is a wonderful celebration of musical and dance traditions from across the world. The show chops and changes between different styles incorporating both classical and modern music. There is certainly something here for everyone to enjoy, particularly if you are a Rolling Stones fan as Acosta Danza pays tribute to the band’s greatest hits in their spectacular finale dance, ‘Rooster’.
The show is comprised of four dances: ‘Satori’, ‘Paysage, Soudain, La Nuit’, ‘Faun’ and ‘Rooster’ with two intervals to give the audience some time to digest what they have just witnessed. This decision to showcase four unique dances rather than one long piece, I believe is a great asset for the show to entice newcomers into the world of contemporary ballet as it maintains momentum and retains the audience’s engagement.
The first dance, ‘Satori’, takes us on a journey of spiritual illumination. It beautifully conveys the search for knowledge using primordial themes and music. I must give a special mention to Zeleidy Crespo here, as although Acosta Danza is an ensemble cast with no stars, she outshines the others through her portrayal as a Mother Earth type figure. I don’t think I would have understood the narrative of the piece without reading the programme beforehand which some may view as detrimental to the show but I think the emotions they evoked through this performance were spot on.
‘Paysage, Soudain, La Nuit’ was my personal favourite. It was far more understated than any of the other dances but I enjoyed the incorporation of African dance styles with the Cuban rumba music. It was a celebration of youth, and reminded me of a wholesome dance one might have partaken in before the invention of nightclubs. This piece featured an art installation by Elizabet Cerviño which depicted wheat fields and was beautifully used as a prop in this piece.
The third dance, ‘Faun’, was perhaps the most recognizable as traditional ballet out of the four. It was predominantly set to a Debussy Score and was only performed by two of the dances. I found that this piece, although technically brilliant and polished to perfection, was the least engaging. Perhaps that was because it was set to classical music I had heard many times before and I had been spoiled by the previous two dances which used music that I was unfamiliar with and therefore was more engaged with them.
‘Rooster’ was a spectacular finale which featured Carlos Acosta himself. This was an incredible performance which celebrated the music of the 1960s and 1970s. It was by far the most accessible of the four performances for newcomers due to the soundtrack comprised of The Rolling Stones greatest hits including Paint It Black and Sympathy for the Devil. ‘Rooster’ is a comedic performance portraying the battle of the sexes that had the whole audience giggling in their seats and was certainly an enjoyable note to end on after the beautifully moving but very serious prior three pieces. Whenever Carlos Acosta was on stage it was hard to take your eyes off him as he moved with such ease and elegance. At times it was hard to focus on the other dancers due to his commanding stage presence but overall he added to rather than detracted from the ensemble performance.
I seriously recommend trying to see Acosta Danza’s ‘Evolution’ if you can nab a ticket, even if you don’t think ballet is your thing as there is definitely something here for everyone to enjoy.
PHOTOS: Tristam Kento, Enrique Smith, Panchito Gonzalez