Evelyn Francourt is one of four London-based Social Movers for The Movement – an Arts Council funded partnership among three of the country’s leading dance venues; Sadler’s Wells, Birmingham Hippodrome and The Lowry, which aims to promote dance across the UK. Here Evelyn tells us about her first Social Mover engagement – attending the opening night of international ballet star Carlos Acosta’s new company Acosta Danza’s first UK Tour, at Sadler’s Wells.
The evening of Wednesday 27 September was a first for many reasons – the first time meeting my fellow London based Social Movers, the UK premiere of Carlos Acosta’s dance company, Acosta Danza at Sadler’s Wells, and my first experience seeing Carlos Acosta dance live. Cuban choreographer Marianela Boán‘s El cruce sobre el Niágara (The Crossing Over Niagara), was the first performance of five. As the curtain rose there was immediate impact – low lighting and stillness, with a male duet, undertaking slow precise positions and balances.
After I moved pass the initial ‘are – they, aren’t – they naked’ question, (they are in thongs designed by Leandra Soto), I was enthralled. The technical ability and strength of the dancers is more than demonstrated in the way they held second position pliés, balances and lifts with such intense focus, poise and tenderness. Mermaid, a duet for Carlos Acosta and company dancer Marta Ortega by acclaimed contemporary choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, was a stand-out performance for me. At the onset of this duet I believed it to be a seductively elegant metaphor for drunkenness; the glass, and Ortega’s wine-red dress led me to believe Acosta’s character was grappling with drink. However, in retrospect and with the title, Mermaid as a clue I now see that she plays an ethereal creative and Acosta’s character is haplessly ‘drunk’ by her beauty and charm.
The live music was a hypnotic accompaniment to this piece. Featuring Korean vocals with Eric Satie on piano, it provided a haunting and other-worldly quality and enhanced the mesmerising performance. Carlos Acosta live, I mean, this alone was enough for me to feel elated. There is no mistaking the strength of Acosta’s training and experience – he is a masterful and dynamic dancer and beautifully paired with Marta Ortega whose dancing I look forward to seeing more of. In contrast to this poetic piece was the final performance, Twelve. What a way to end the night! Physical, energetic, strategically precise. The company navigated their way around the stage whilst undertaking the throwing and catching of litre water bottles, with neon lights inside.
They broke off into throwing/catching groups of pairs and fours interspersed with cheeky turns and twists keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Think of the nimble, Cocktail skills of an 80’s Tom Cruise, throw in neon bottles, dance and acrobatics, and magnify this with an entire dance company then you have an idea of this performance – truly exhilarating. As an audience we were right there with them – defying them not to drop a bottle or lose the pace. There was whooping, clapping, stomping – the kind of interactive, physical performance that raises your spirits and gets you on your feet. All in all, this was a night that showcased a young and exciting company with an array of dance skills, styles, techniques and talent.
I am excited by this company and look forward to following its career. The night was particularly special because I can finally say, I have seen Carlos Acosta dance live – something to tick off my dance bucket list! Acosta Danza’s Debut tour programme also includes Belles-Lettres by Justin Peck, Imponderable by Goyo Montero and Jorge Crecis‘ Twelve. You can see Acosta Danza at venues such as Birmingham Hippodrome and The Lowry.