Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Carlos Acosta and Friends, Coliseum, London, March 31st 2008

A whoosh of air, a flying foot joined to a leg doing a jete at full speed and attached to the most gloriously sculpted body in ballet, making the softest, soundless landing on stage. Enter Carlos Acosta stage right. Adorned as he was last night with the "Clanger outfit", a gold lame skirt basically, he appears not to have noticed the affect he's having on the audience. That guileless smile, the joy of his dancing, the effortless with which he spins, leaps and turns, has the audience gasping for more every single time.

This Olivier award winning show, with a few cast changes, unites Carlos with fellow dancers from the Royal Ballet and showcases some rarely seen works. Les Bourgeois is incredibly funny. Carlos is at his best when he's making it look easy and the steps are far from it.

Tamara Rojo and Jose Martin did a superb job of A Buenos Aires - a tango on pointe which could otherwise have lost it's sharpness without the tango shoes.

Sarah Lamb has proved her versatility in every dance style - and her rapport with Carlos is evident.

Caroline Duprot is an engaging performer; I think she looks like a younger version of Tamara Rojo and perhaps, in time, her star will shine as strongly.

The extracts from Le Sylphide and Winter Dreams were programmed to close together for my liking - a more upbeat number could have successfully been slotted in between. These pas de deux do suffer from being shown out of context, but are no less dazzling technically. Full marks to Valeri Histrov for all those Bournonville beats.

The fusion of back-stage limbering up and performance was a unique one; a refreshing glimpse of the daily grind of a dancer's life. It's a little self-consious but a nice touch nevertheless. There were a few technical hitches. I'm not sure whether all the dancers knew how many curtain calls there would be - the curtain seemed to go up at just the wrong moment as they were running off the stage. Ever the professionals they were back in place within seconds. There were some lengthy pauses between works - not all intended and I think this was first night teething troubles which I'm sure will be ironed out quickly.

The evening ends on a high with a latin flavour you'd expect from Carlos, and sends you out into the night with a spring in your step.

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