Another trip to the ever-posh Covent Garden? I will be getting invited to the staff dance at this rate. This time it was to go with several work colleagues to see CUBANÍA which is a show by Carlos Acosta, showcasing the best of Cuban dance talent - and himself of course!
There is no doubting his versatility and star power - it is difficult to focus on any others when he is onstage - but I found his compilation show at times tending to underwhelm. It seemed to have no real through-line or consistency of tone.
The show started with four contemporary pieces which possibly might have been a bit much. Acosta featured in the first piece "Derrumbe" which was choreographed by Miguel Altunaga, dancing with Pieter Symonds in a typical love you-hate you duet which seemed to involve a lot of jacket-work.
Alexander Varona danced an excellent solo "Flux" choreographed by Russell Maliphant, dancing in and around pools of light and that was followed by George Céspedes' "Ecuación" where four dancers from Danza Contemporánea de Cuba danced in and out of a steel cube frame. During a seemingly-lengthy intro each of the dancers danced for a while to silence - broken only by the usual coughings.
The first act closed with Edwaard Liang's "Sight Unseen" a pas-de-deux danced by Acosta and Zenaida Yanowsky which was lovely to watch but seemed to miss a certain fire.
Act 2 was the "Tocororo Suite" adapted by Acosta from his longer 2003 ballet. A loving tribute to the spirit and music of Cuba, it's content was a bit obvious: country boy comes to town, falls in love with the pretty girl and learns to out-dance the local Mr Big. It was all a bit "Gene Kelly goes to Havana" but it was enlivened by Acosta's seamless performance supported by nice turns by Verónica Corveas and nice shimmies from Varona, as well as a lively onstage band of Cuban musicians.
It was surprising that Acosta took no solo bow, it was him the show was compiled by and he was the real reason the audience was there. But it shows a dedication to his company and his willingness to be seen as showing an overall flavour of Cuban dance expertise.