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Adelante, Cuba! Festival at New York City Center Presents Acosta Danza in "Debut"
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Adelante, Cuba! Festival at New York City Center Presents Acosta Danza in "Debut"

- Onstage with the Dancers: Special Events
50 West 57th St. 2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10019
485 6th Ave.(12th St.)
New York,NY 10011

Open seven days a week!
Ask for Alonso.

New York City Center

Arlene Schuler, President & CEO
Mark Litvin, Sr. VP & Managing Director

¡Adelante, Cuba! Festival
Acosta Danza
Carlos Acosta, Director

Produced by Sadler’s Wells & Valid Productions

Carlos Luis Blanco, Zeleidy Crespo, Yasser Dominguez
Mario Sergio Elias, Yanelis Godoy, Julio Leon
Liliana Menendez, Marta Ortega, Raul Reinoso
Laura Rodriguez, Javier Rojas, Alejandro Silva
Leticia Silva, Laura Treto

Guest Appearance: Carlos Acosta

Pianist: José Víctor Gavilondo Peón
Cellist: Cicely Parnas

Press: Joe Guttridge, Director of Communications

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 27, 2018

Alrededor no hay nada (2006):
Choreography by Goyo Montero, asst. by Ivan Gil Ortega, Score: “About Poems” from Joaquín Sabina and Vinícius de Moraes, Lighting and Costume Design by Goyo Montero, Performed by the Company.

Mermaid (undated): Choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Music by Woojae Park and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Additional Music by Eric Satie, Lighting by Fabiana Piccioli, Costume by Hussein Chalayan, Performed by Carlos Acosta and Marta Ortega.

El Cruce sobre el Niágara (1987): Choreography by Marianela Boan, Music by Olivier Messiaen, Costumes by Leandro Soto, Lighting by Carlos Repilado, Performed by Carlos Luis Blanco and Alejandro Silva.

Nosotros (undated): Choreography by Raúl Reinoso, Music by José Víctor Gavilondo Peón, Performed by Mario Sergio Elias and Liliana Menéndez.

Twelve (2011): Concept & Direction by Jorge Crecis Music by Vincenzo Lamagna, Costumes by Eva Escribano, Lighting by Michael Mannion and Warren Letton, Performed by the Company.

It was more than thrilling to see one of my lifelong favorite danseurs, Carlos Acosta, back on the New York stage, although New York City Center is certainly more intimate than the Met Opera stage, where he appeared every spring with American Ballet Theatre to great acclaim, including mine. Who can forget his 2005 performances at The Met, his Siegfried in Swan Lake, his Ali in Le Corsaire, his Rose in Le Spectre de la Rose, and then, ten years later, his return to Lincoln Center for performances at Koch Theater with The Royal Ballet, in MacMillan’s Carousel Pas de Deux and in MacMillan’s Song of the Earth? Now, a long three years later, we finally saw him dance again and proudly present his own Cuban company, Acosta Danza. Not an easy feat, he was able to raise funds from the Cuban ballet community and government, as well as from international ballet organizations to build his own company and bring it to New York. He aptly named tonight’s program “Debut”. Sadler’s Wells and Valid Productions were officially named as Producers. The air was thick when the lights first dimmed. New York balletomanes barely knew what to expect.

As we soon discovered, this program of Acosta Danza would be considered modern dance, not ballet, not Cuban folkloric. Each work was fascinating, au courant, and challenging, with gorgeous, tonal scores. Those in the crowd, expecting Acosta’s astounding, balletic leaps, jumps, and spins would have to acclimate to the contemporary motif. The first work was Alrededor no hay nada, choreographed by Goyo Montero, with twelve of the fourteen company dancers. In small jazzy interludes, to spoken poems by Joaquin Sabina and Vinicius de Moraes, the company, all costumed by Mr. Montero, in black bowler hats, black jackets and pants with white shirts for the men, black shorts and white shirts for the women, kept the audience riveted, including those who did not understand Spanish. The company gave new meaning to the poetic rhythms, moving in phrases and exclamations. I would have liked English surtitles for this, easy to create at New York City Center, once known as New York’s other opera house. The meanings and emotions would have had additional impact for many in the house.

With Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Mermaid, on stage, to a thunderous welcome, was Carlos Acosta. He was joined in the passionate pas de deux by Marta Ortega, with music by Woojae Park and Mr. Cherkaoui, mixed with sumptuous strains of Satie. Ms. Ortega’s stretch red dress, designed by Hussein Chalayan, was evocative, although more modern, of Martha Graham’s stretch costumes, like those of “Satyric Festival Song” and “Ekstasis”. The dress’ seams, below the waist, were open for elegant leg extensions, stunning splits, and high jumps. Mr. Acosta wore a casual, stretch shirt and pants. Mr. Acosta and Ms. Ortega seemed to be in an approach-avoidance conflict, as if her dance character had had too many margaritas, or pisco sours. Mr. Acosta showed his incomparable, balletic muscularity and elasticity, as he lifted and carried Ms. Ortega as effortlessly as a light backpack. There was humor and pathos, but all eyes were on Mr. Acosta in this one, magnetic stage appearance. Ms. Ortega is an artist to watch, with her own superb physicality and contortionist capacity.

El Cruce sobre el Niágara, by Marianela Boán, scored to music by Olivier Messiaen, was a pas de deux for two men, Carlos Luis Blanco and Alejandro Silva. Each danced solo and both danced in mesmerizing togetherness. This seems to be a love affair, with one dancer at first lying onstage in the fetal position, before the other walks to his location, where they reconnect in echoing physicality and spirituality. These two are not strangers. The costumes, by Leandro Soto, are totally minimal and warmly lit, thanks to Carlos Repilado. The mirrored twin-like dance was hypnotic and visually extraordinary.

Nosotros, by Raúl Reinoso, danced to music by tonight’s live pianist, José Victor Gavilondo Peón, is the third consecutive pas de deux of the program, danced by Mario Sergio Elias and Liliana Menéndez. Mr. Peón, on piano, was joined by Cicely Parnas on cello. Ms. Menéndez’ red stretch shirt and shorts with red socks and Mr. Elias’ black stretch shorts with black socks kept the eye gripped on the gravitational push-pull motion. The splendid stage musicians filled the theater with the enchanting composition. This fabulous program closed with the ebullient and gripping Twelve, by Jorge Crecis, for twelve dancers. The company tossed one-liter water bottles, lit from the interior, first from front stage to side stage, then rear stage and about. Dancers moved, catching, juggling, and leaping mid-air in the ensuing propulsion, to music by Vincenzo Lamagna. They wore stretch beige gym pants and short-sleeved shirts for men, sleeveless for women. All eyes were glued to the stage. Not one bottle fell or lost its grip. When the recorded music fell silent, dancers used the propulsive catching sounds in choreographed rhythms.

Kudos to Acosta Danza. Kudos to Carlos Acosta, and please come back, soon.

Acosta Danza in
Goyo Montero's "Alrededor no hay nada"
Courtesy of Andrew Lang

Carlos Acosta and Marta Ortega
in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's "Mermaid"
Courtesy of Johan Persson

Acosta Danza in
Marianela Boán's "El Cruce sobre el Niágara"
Courtesy of Johan Persson

Acosta Danza in
Raúl Reinoso's "Nosotros"
Courtesy of Yuris Nórido

Acosta Danza in
Jorge Crecis' "Twelve"
Courtesy of Johan Persson

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at