14 March 2007
Carlos Acosta to dance Spartacus with Bolshoi Ballet
His Phrygia will be Anna Antonicheva with whom his path has already crossed: in 2000, they danced the lead roles in Minkus's La Bayadere at the New National Theatre, Tokyo.
There is no doubt that Carlos Acosta's appearance with the Bolshoi Ballet Company will be rated by British ballet critics as a notable event. Just last January (2007), they paid 'official' tribute to the illustrious Acosta and famous Bolshoi Ballet by giving them Critics' Circle National Dance Awards: Carlos Acosta being voted best male classical dancer and the Bolshoi Ballet - best foreign dance company to have appeared in Great Britain in 2006.
When Carlos Acosta dances with the Bolshoi this summer it will bring together the most feted male star of British ballet and the most celebrated dance company in the world.
The Cuban-born Acosta, whose breathtaking artistry has led to comparisons with Rudolf Nureyev, will take the title role in Spartacus - the Bolshoi's great calling card - which caused a sensation when it was first performed in the west in London in 1969.
After a month preparing in Moscow he will perform in the company's UK season at the London Coliseum in August.
Alexei Ratmansky, the artistic director of the Bolshoi, said last Thursday that the ballet required a "real man" in the lead role.
"Yes, that's what they call me," said Acosta. "Its a role for a guy. There are lots of great roles in ballet for women. Often the guy just comes along and wakes the princess up, or something. It doesn't necessarily stretch a man to the limits. In Spartacus, you are the role, you are the ballet."
The ballet, choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich in 1968 and with a score by Khachaturian, is famous for its hair-raising, spectacular leaps and sheer scale. It tells the story of the Thracian gladiator who led a large-scale revolt against the Roman republic in 73BC. After two years of success, and the defeat of several Roman legions, the revolt was ruthlessly crushed.
Acosta, the 11th child of a Havana truck driver, was a street breakdancer before his parents' anxieties about his behaviour meant he was sent to ballet school. He is principal guest dancer at the Royal Ballet, and has also choreographed a dance semi-autobiography, Tocororo.
By Charlotte Higgins
March 14, 2007
Submitted on 14 March 2007, Wednesday