Carlos Acosta gets grilled in live Q&A session

Carlos Acosta- A leader in dance across the world

On Saturday 19th October 2013 a group of dance ambassadors were lucky enough to snatch a few minutes out of Carlos Acosta’s hectic schedule to ask him a few questions regarding his career as a world renowned dancer and the launch of his new book ‘Pig’s Foot’ which translates in Spanish as ‘Pata de Puerco’, a much more authentic title laughs Carlos. After being given an overview of what the Dance Ambassador scheme entails we asked Carlos what he thought of the scheme and it was clear that he was a fan straight away. Carlos launched into a speech in which he deemed the scheme to be of great importance to young people as dance needs to compete with other forms of entertainment such as music, cinema and plays. Carlos believes it is essential that dance is not only passed down into the younger generation but also revitalised and in a way re-branded to draw in bigger audiences. The answer Carlos gave matched the aims of the scheme perfectly and he acknowledged that the work being was ‘amazing’ and unique to the Lowry.
The conversation then turned to Carlos’s life as a dancer and, as noted by one of the Dance Ambassador, the theme of freedom and boundaries appears to be a reoccurring image in the dancer’s work. When asked whether he was aware of this Carlos answered yes, very much so. He explained how it hadn’t bothered him up until a certain point later in his career when he almost felt trapped in princes and Romeo’s and this encouraged him to see where contemporary dance has its place, believing it to be a form of dance that is a ‘blank canvas’, a very freeing and liberating concept. Carlos tells of how he aims for dancer’s in his new work ‘Don Quixote’, an exuberant tale of friendship, love and loyalty to be seen, primarily, as people. And then as dancers.
As an excited audience started to pile into the theatre the lights dimmed and ‘Carlos Acosta in Conversation’ began. The talk was centred around Acosta’s book, ‘Pig’s Foot’ which took him ten years to write. He describes repeatedly how he does not expect raving literary reviews, he doesn’t compare himself with great novelists and finds it difficult to answer questions regarding the underlying themes and messages in the novel. It is essentially a book about life. The laughs, the losses, the deaths, the births and the romances. Acosta explains how he found it challenging to tell a story in words and not through movement as he has been doing his entire life. He claims that in writing he came across a lot of uncertainty, admittedly feeling ‘Will anyone care about this?’,’ How will this be interpreted?’. Ultimately it was Acosta’s determinism and perseverance that has enabled him to sign endless copies of his book today, abilities he has undoubtedly obtained through the rigorous disciplines of being a world class ballet dancer.

Rachel Pollitt

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Earthfall

Patti Smith on the Chelsea Hotel: ‘like a doll’s house in the twilight zone, with guitar bums and stoned out beauties in Victorian dresses’. 

Earthfall are leaders in dance theatre and have been producing innovating and fresh performances since their formation in 1989. Earthfall’s creators, Jessica Cohen and Jim Ennis established the company with a policy of forging radical choreography with live music and strong visual imagery and tonight’s performance of ‘Chelsea Hotel’ certainly did seem to embody this. The live band and singers that accompanied the performance made the spirit of the hotel much easier to capture and embrace, and along with the partly prerecorded and partly live video being projected as a back drop the audience were really able to feel a sense of liveliness and intrigue.

The four dancers that performed in the piece raced around the stage with such intensity and drive and it was so exhilarating to watch as they threw each other around, fearlessly and tackled moves that made jaws drop and eyes squint. The dancers created a real buzz because their determination to really do this piece justice was clear. The Chelsea Hotel as a concept is a fantastic starting point which opens doors to numerous creative opportunities which I feel Earthfall portrayed beautifully. Not only were the dancers technically and professionally good, their expressions and gestures meant the piece could obtain a quirky edge that I think can only be achieved with such young, excitable dancers.

This is a must see for audiences who just want to see something fun. Something that will keep them awake, engaged and satisfied. As I left the theatre I heard someone mumble ‘hmm well it was alright, I think I’d give it 6ish out of 10’. Now I don’t know what theatre this person had just come out of but it certainly can’t have been mine.