Review: Carlos Acosta’s Evolution is equally beautiful and bemusing

Acosta Danza Credit: Enrique Smith

Acosta Danza Credit: Enrique Smith - Credit: Archant

Acosta Danza's latest production, Evolution, is stunning.

Acosta Danza Credit: Enrique Smith

Acosta Danza Credit: Enrique Smith - Credit: Archant

That goes without saying, given the fact that this Cuban company is driven by former Royal Ballet principle guest artist, Carlos Acosta.

However, this is not a production for the faint-hearted.

The performance is unapologetically opaque - and would leave newcomers to the ballet world a bit bemused.

This is because whether you read the programme or not, the performances tell no identifiable story - you wouldn't watch any of the pieces and be able to say: "this is what happened".

Acosta Danza Credit: Panchito Gonzles

Acosta Danza Credit: Panchito Gonzles - Credit: Archant


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Evolution is made up of a series of longer pieces: Satori, Paysage, Faun and Rooster, with two intervals.

None tell a story of characters, but are more representative of feelings, be it enlightenment, youthful love or a battle of the sexes.

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But just because there's no easily accessible narrative to follow it doesn't mean it's any less emotionally or visually powerful.

In fact, I would say that because the choreographers haven't been consigned to recognisable stories, it's got greater impact.

Acosta Danza Credit: Supplied by Norwich Theatre Royal

Acosta Danza Credit: Supplied by Norwich Theatre Royal - Credit: Archant

There is a stand out performance - and that's saying something given the fact Acosta himself takes the stage in the final act.

Zeleydi Crespo is unbelievable. In my 20 years of watching ballets I have never seen strength - and in some cases contortion - like hers.

Don't get me wrong, the other dancers would be the stars of any other production, but she is a unique talent that Acosta's direction has only enhanced.

As cliché as it sounds, this production has some gravity-defying moments. It contains artistry for beauty's sake, and is an absolute joy to watch if you know what you're in for.

For every bemusing, pigeon-footed allegro sequence, there are also moments of humour.

It is that light and shade that makes this series such a masterpiece, and proves that not only will Acosta and his company continue to evolve - but they will do so beautifully.

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