New Theatre, Hull – until Saturday 26th February 2022
Reviewed by Anne Walker
Last night my son Joseph (13) and I had the pleasure of attending Hull New Theatre to see Acosta Danza 100% Cuban. This dance company was created 6 years ago by Carlos Acosta to harness and develop the young creative dance talent emerging in Cuba and what amazing talent there was to see in this captivating showcase. The ethos of the company is to produce dancers who can combine both classical and contemporary genres which results in action packed performances that explore the islands heritage of dance, rhythm and folklore.
Although the audience was not at full capacity, we were soon transfixed as the first of five pieces began. ‘Liberto’, choreographed by Raul Reinoso, refers to slavery, taking us on a journey of history, mythology and culture. This piece introduces us to two of the companies finest dancers, Zeleidy Crespo and Mario Sergio Elias. With solo moments on stage, they were mesmerising but when they came together as one their fluid movements were almost hypnotic.
The second piece of the night was ‘Hybrid’ choreographed by Norge Cedeno. Ten of the company’s dancers tell a story of the challenges of life on an island and journeys from darkness to light. Based on the myth of Sisyphus it shows the relentless struggle of life with a dystopian feel to the piece. Watching the dancers come together and move as one body was the highlight for me and brought a real feeling of power to the stage.
This led to a short interval where I was able to ask Joseph what he thought so far, he said he was so surprised at how easy the dancers made the difficult movements look, almost like it was no effort at all. Needless to say we were eager to watch the second half. This consisted of three more pieces, ‘Paysage, Soudain, la nuit’, choreographed by Pontus Lidberg, a real celebration of youth with a dreamlike quality. ‘Impronta’ choreographed by Maria Rovira. Zeleidy Crespo danced solo in this piece, representing the water from the most calm to the wild. Her muscular, long limbed body was beautiful to watch, changing from elegant to contorted. Finishing the show was the wonderful ‘De Punta a Cabo’ choreographed by Alexis Fernandez. This was certainly a rousing celebration of Cuban life and its contrasts. From the traditional to the modern, poverty and development. The backdrop to this number was a film of a Havana waterfront with the same dancers often mirroring the movements on stage and screen bringing a whole new dimension to the piece. The dancers costumes were street clothes, crop tops, shorts and trainers which made the piece all the more fun. We felt like we had come along on an evening out, being captivated with the dancing, flirting and sometimes fearless leaps and lifts of the company. Three dancers switched to point shoes half way through, switching up the modern feel with the more traditional. Coming to an end with clapping, whooping, somersaulting, pirouetting and a joyous finale.
Feeling exhilarated after our evening of watching theses amazing performers, we ended our evening with a short question and answer session with four of the dancers including the choreographer Raul Reinoso. This was a fantastic insight into the pieces, giving us a greater understanding of them and the work it takes to train and produce such a wonderful showcase.
We would definitely recommend 100% Cuban, keep an open mind and be ready to lose yourself in the enthralling music and movement.