Review: Carlos Acosta - On Before @ WMC
Carlos Acosta - On Before
Wales Millennium Centre
Friday 3rd July 2015
Carlos Acosta is a current and undisputed icon of dance. His younger years in Cuba of stealing mangoes, breakdancing and dreaming of football stardom are all over now. Yet, his stardom in the dance world comes from his mesmerising presence on the stage, his outstanding physicality and even his beautiful features.
Whether it's delighting audiences with his immaculate takes on classic ballet (check him out in Don Quixote here), his memoirs (a film is being made about his life), his novel or his thought-provoking contemporary dance, he seems to never do a step out of turn. In On Before, a very personal piece is clearly evident, as fellow dancer Zenaida Yanowsky grapples with a serious relationship with Carlos on stage.
We are witness to the tempestuous nature of the couple: their love, their fights and everything in between. The impeccably well-lit stage had each little dance work pulsating with might and focus (a rainy screen was our cloth). A fine selection of music by John Adams, Handel and Spanish/Latin-enthused music all added greatly to the atmospheres.
No two pieces were ever the same, with a marvellous slow-motion video, Fallen Deep Inside by Simon Elliott giving vivid detail of both dancer's bodies (a highlight of the evening). As they jump and slap each other, along with twirling and flailing around (with very gentle nudity), it's a pleasing, sensory apparition. A choir from our Royal Welsh College gave a moving finale in a composition by Morten Lauridsen. Prior to this, they were only physical segways for the scene change and, therefore, they were underused for most of the show.
Yanowsky is also a fabulous dancer. In one work, flickering her hands behind her back gave instant reminders of flying insects, specifically dragonflies. The fluidity in her one arm as it pulsated in the most inhuman of ways had the audience agasp, like so many other times during the show.
As a whole, the piece is a telling testament to the sublime nature of the human body. The light, dark, joy, sorry, anger, and more crept in and moved me to the point of denial of such superhuman undertakings.
There is dance and then there is Carlos Acosta.
Rating: 4 stars
Carlos Acosta's On Before continues on tour to the Brighton Dome, 9th-11th July 2015.
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Image Credit: WMC website