BWW Review: ACOSTA DANZA - EVOLUTION, Sadler's Wells
In their second visit to London's dance house, Acosta Danza return with a varied bill, following a successful debut in 2017. It culminates in a guest appearance from the man himself, as he approaches his second Artistic Director role with Birmingham Royal Ballet in the new year.
Raúl Reinoso's Satori sees a majestic Zeleidy Crespo emerge as the star in a work that references spiritual illumination. The abstract piece takes the audience on a journey to internal reflection through scenes of searching, stagnation and overcoming obstacles. But, academics aside, this is a striking and memorable work exuding strength and power.
The opening moments see Crespo appear from a billowing silk sheet amongst bare-chested dancers. Satori is physically demanding on the ensemble but the statuesque Crespo always returns, her startling presence catches the eye even whilst easing through the choreographed gesturing and posing. Up top she is regal and enigmatic, but there is a grace and elegance in her neat pointe work too.
Fabiana Piccioli's lighting is bold and clearly directs the eye through the journey, climaxing in dramatic flashes of white light with Crespo raised triumphantly aloft. In contrast, Pontus Lidberg's Paysage, Soudain, la nuit, which follows, lacks the impact of the opening number and requires closer focus as dancers gently frolic amongst golden cornfields. The troupe of dancers brim with a fresh versatility in Karen Young's white costumes, but it's a pleasant addition rather than a centrepiece.
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Faun is an intimate and sensuous duet. Crespo and partner Carlos Luis Bianco pack it with impressive fluidity thanks to some steely core strength. They slip through each others grip like mercury against an atmospheric backdrop to music from Nitin Sawhney.
Christopher Bruce's Rooster is a natural party piece to leave the audience in good spirits. Seen frequently in Rambert's repertoire, the members of Acosta Danza wear it well. First premiered in 1991, there are arguments to suggest it has poorly aged, but I prefer to think of it as a group of dancers having a good time to a Rolling Stones medley.
The signature kinks and quirky motifs representative of preening cockerels raise a smile and the company fly through the material with flair and finesse. Not that this particularly matters, of course, because the main attraction here is a guest appearance from Acosta himself, radiating charisma and an easy charm between perfectly timed partnering with the various females of the cast. He parades and struts with just the right amongst of swagger while the audience sit back and drink it in - those jumps still suspended in the air, as was ever thus. A treat to enjoy when there may not be many more opportunities.