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Charismatic ‘n’ Captivating – Carlos Acosta’s Carmen

By Ranjit Shergill

Sadler’s Wells was the venue for Carlos Acosta’s Carmen Ballet production from his Dance School, Acosta Danza. Indeed, Carlos Acosta is a highly revered figure in the industry, with a desire for entertaining audiences with classical and contemporary dance.

Back In 2016, Carlos Acosta, produced a one-act version of Carmen for the Royal Ballet and decided that this time round, it would be an entire evening of skills and swagger infront of what was a very expectant and receptive audience in Central London. Carlos was quoted as saying “I always felt it would be better as a full-length piece.”

The story centres on a menage à trois, with Army Officer, Don José, becoming infatuated by Carmen (played by Laura Rodriguez), and thereafter the lure of the Bullfighter (Toreador in Spanish), Escamillo, resulted in Carmen’s attention diverting solely towards him. Such a change of lovers appeared to be in synch with her spontaneous dance performance throughout, the spins, the twirls, the subtle twists of feet complemented by a blithe smile.

Carlos Ascota surprises all spectators by playing the role of The Bull, a figurehead, that eventually represents Carmen’s destiny. During the first half of the show, Carmen displays exquisite leg movements with effortless glissades and chassés around the bedroom that became her epicentre of teasing the other half.

In the second half of the performance, there were delightful scenes of Cuban style dancing in various bars where bottles were thrown about in a juggling style manner. It was now time for Escamillo to woo Carmen, which he did with a dynamic stage presence that brought out the best in Carmen’s vivacity. However, the lovestruck duo’s relationship quickly goes south as a furious Don Jose terminates their future prospects by fatally stabbing Carmen. Just prior to this, The Bull has a dance scene with Carmen which depicts him stating to her what is to come, and the horns explicit positioning on stage showed that there would be no way out for Carmen upon being locked between them.

In summary, the success of Carlos Acosta’s Carmen was evident by the vociferous reaction of approval from all present at the end of the performance. A tale played out on stage with the end first and the beginning last, certainly emphasised how and why The Bull was The Master of Ceremonies.

For further information on this production, please click here

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  • Ranjit Shergill