CONTEMPORARY DANCE ACOSTA DANZA: EVOLUTION Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 1 & Sat 2 Nov

Anyone starting their own company wants to stand out from the crowd, and Carlos Acosta was no exception. When the ex-Royal Ballet star founded Acosta Danza in 2015, he was determined to give it a unique flavour. ‘It’s hard to be distinctive,’ says Acosta. ‘But I was keen for us to have our own voice and move away from the European aesthetic. I realised that if I wanted a company that didn’t look like any other, the only way was to tap into the essence of Cuba itself. So whenever I commission a choreographer, I point them in the direction of a Cuban composer or artist, so we have that distinction.’ Four years later, the company’s latest tour, Evolution, is set to prove once again that Acosta has achieved his aim. An evening of four works, the show opens with ‘Satori’, the first major work by emerging choreographer Raúl Reinoso. ‘Raúl is a dancer with the company who also wanted to become a choreographer,’ explains Acosta. ‘And part of the objective of Acosta Danza is to launch national talent, so first I asked him to create a solo, then a duet, both of which he did very successfully. So I said OK, I’m going to invest in you and give you the chance to make a substantial work.’

Pontus Lidberg’s work, ‘Paysage, Soudain, la nuit’, which Acosta describes as ‘very light, joyful and sunny, just like Cuba’ follows, with music by one of the country’s leading composers, Leo Brouwer, and an onstage installation by artist Elizabet Cerviño. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s re-working of Nijinsky’s ‘L’après midi d’un faune’ gives the dancers a real chance to shine.

And the night closes with Acosta himself dancing in ‘Rooster’, Christopher Bruce’s popular work set to a number of the Rolling Stones’ classic early hits. ‘it’s one of my favourites,’ says Acosta. ‘It’s rock’n roll, but it’s also very fast and has a lot precision. So it’s a great finisher.’ (Kelly Apter)


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CONTEMPORARY DANCE RICHARD ALSTON DANCE COMPANY: FINAL EDITION Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Tue 19 Nov; reviewed at Festival Theatre, Edinburgh ●●●●● Richard Alston and his company are bowing out after visiting Scotland each autumn since 1999. Final Edition is a fitting swansong, containing all of Alston’s trademarks polished to a gleam. Four pieces are set to classical works, two performed live by company pianist Jason Ridgway. Brahms’ ‘Hungarian Dances’ score the first piece, with the dancers leaping and scooping to the music’s lyrical- staccato balance; it’s like watching musical notes dart across the stage.

CONTEMPORARY DANCE SCOTTISH DANCE THEATRE: PROCESS DAY & THE CIRCLE Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 29 Jan; reviewed at Dundee Rep Theatre ●●●●● Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar’s Process Day the first half of this double bill carries the feeling of working through a dream, where things are half-recognisable but don’t always make sense; like the nocturnal brain processing images that have struck it that day. It’s a treasure trove of moods and contradictions, alluring and distressing, grotesque and sensual, familiar but original.

Duet ‘Mazur’ pairs Chopin’s ‘Mazurkas’ with dancers Joshua Harriette and Arrhythmic strings pluck as a man twitches his chest in a spotlight. Dim figures

Nicholas Shikkis. Inca Jaakson’s costumes nod to Chopin’s 19th-century Paris, creating the silhouette of the poet or composer. There’s romance aplenty in the choreography, and the final movement of the piece aches with beauty and trust. The pace and drama ramp up in Martin Lawrance’s ‘A Far Cry’, his thank you to Alston for their artistic partnership. Lawrance rises to the swooning drama of Elgar’s ‘Introduction and Allegro for Strings’, but you can also see Alston’s influence in the ensemble’s poise and tightness. rut upstage. A fist appears between a woman’s legs and a strange threesome unfolds. Later this scatter of peculiar denizens will come together as one monstrous unit, moving like a crab or surrounding one chosen dancer in ritual. Eyal and Behar’s alchemy is in mixing distress and beauty or humour with terror. The soundtrack picks up Hammer horror melodrama among its electro beats, and at one point a mass juddering drops into smooth movement, dizzying in its change of texture. It’s electrifying.

The last piece of the evening belongs to Alston. ‘Voices and Light Footsteps’ Emanuel Gat’s The Circle, starts with a splash. The dancers look like a drop of

(pictured) is set to various pieces by Monteverdi, and there’s an extra harmony in seeing Alston’s choreography partnered with this music. Courtly pairings spring to life and the concentration of each dancer is palpable. It shows how much Alston is cherished, not just by audiences but by his company. (Lucy Ribchester) paint in water, all colours and surreal textures and shapes. Gat’s choreography plays with the ensemble as individuals and as one. They stalk and stare at one dancer, then fade in and out of trios and duets. Watching it evolve is fascinating, but can’t match Process Day for atmosphere. (Lucy Ribchester)

126 THE LIST 1 Nov 2019–31 Jan 2020