Acosta Danza: Spectrum review – passion and power

Linbury theatre, London
From hints of jazz and vaudeville to a magical Nijinsky-inspired duet, it’s a pleasure to watch these dancers perform

The title of this mixed bill is spot on when it comes to describing the full range of Acosta Danza. Carlos Acosta’s Havana-based company was always intended to be many things: a proudly Cuban outfit that could hold its own on the European touring circuit; a group of dancers comfortable in every style from ballet to hip-hop to Cuban dance styles; and a choice of international choreographers who aren’t just the same old names.

In all that, Acosta Danza succeeds, and it’s always a pleasure to watch these dancers, even if the rep tonight doesn’t set the stage on fire. They have a clear passion for performance, great energy and presence; all very different bodies, but increasingly familiar faces. Raúl Reinoso and Mario Sergio Elías, who have been with the company since it began in 2016 , both have strong solo moments, and the striking Zeleidy Crespo arrives in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Faun like the tall stem of an elegant bloom, strongly rooted even when the choreography buffets her body in every direction.

Faun is an impishly magical duet made in 2009 (inspired by Nijinsky’s L’Après-midi d’un Faune) and it has proved to have a long life, taking on new inflections with each set of dancers. Its strength choreographically is in taking just one idea and one movement lexicon and fully exploring it, and that focus pays off where other works might be more roving and ultimately less satisfying.

Not that there isn’t plenty to enjoy and engage with elsewhere. Up and coming American choreographer Micaela Taylor gets every muscle in her dancers’ bodies moving in Performance, hitting each quaver beat with inventive ideas. Spanish choreographer Juanjo Arqués tries to give us a picture of Cuba beyond the cliche in Portal, showing a community bound in percussive grooves but also solo dancers in handheld spotlight, under slightly sinister scrutiny. And there are slick jazz-inspired moves, set to spoken word (a translation would have been helpful), in Goyo Montero’s Alrededor No Hay Nada, which has an element of vaudeville and considers power dynamics. Something for everyone.


Lyndsey Winship

The GuardianTramp

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