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Enrique (Kike) Smith Soto

Twelve extraordinary dancers bring Cuban flair and flavour to The Lowry

Last spring, Acosta Danza’s tour of the UK was cut short by the pandemic. In spring 2022, Dance Consortium welcomes the Havana-based company back with an exhilarating new mixed bill. 100% Cuban is five works – including three UK premieres – all infused with Cuba’s rich music and dance influences.

Acosta Danza was set up by iconic ballet star Carlos Acosta to develop young talent, showcase Cuban performers and put the vibrancy of Cuban culture firmly centre stage. In just six years, the company has developed an unrivalled reputation as an ensemble of magnetic performers with a boundary-pushing repertoire of work by both international and home-grown choreographers.

100% Cuban features UK premieres from three exciting young Cuban choreographers – Hybrid by Norge Cedeno Raffo, Liberto by Raúl Reinoso and De Punta a Cabo by Alexis Fernandez (Maca). Also in the programme are two big hits from the 2020 UK tour – Paysage, soudain, la nuit by Sweden’s Pontus Lidberg and Impronta created for Acosta Danza by Spanish choreographer Maria Rovira.

Hybrid is a new commission for the company’s twelve dancers from Norge Cedeno Raffo. After ten years as a principal dancer and choreographer for Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, Raffo went on to develop his choreographic work becoming artistic director and principal choreographer of the Cuban Company OtroLado.

Acosta Danza dancer Raúl Reinoso created Liberto on two of his fellow dancers in 2020, one of several works he has made for the company since he joined in 2015. Through a mix of folk and contemporary dance styles, fiction and mythology, Reinoso conjures Cuba’s ancestral Yoruba gods to tell the story of a runaway slave. Liberto is a call for the right of every individual to choose their own path in life. The score is by young composer José V Gavilondo.

Pontus Lidberg’s Paysage, Soudain, la nuit is a dream-like celebration of youth set in the magic hours between twilight and dawn. The dancers perform constantly-shifting formations in a grassy landscape installation by Cuban artist Elizabet Cerviño. Cuban composer Leo Brouwer provides the rumba-infused soundtrack with additional music by Swedish composer Stefan Levin.

Maria Rovira created the solo Impronta specially for company dancer Zeleidy Crespo whose training is rooted in the folkloric dance styles of Cuba. Clad in turquoise, Crespo dances centre stage, whirling and shimmering, drawing the audience in with her virtuosic physicality. Impronta is set to music by José V Gavilondo.

De Punta a Cabo, created by Alexis Fernández (Maca) for Acosta Danza’s debut season in 2016, is set against the backdrop of the Malecón, a broad esplanade and seawall stretching for eight kilometres along the Havana coastline. In the piece for twelve dancers, Maca shares his impressions of the contemporary Cuba he knows and loves – a country full of contrasts, traditional and modern, poverty and development, beauty and ugliness. It is danced to a score by three composers – Kumar, Kike Wolf (whose work based on La Bella Cubana by José Whit) and Omar Sosa.

100% Cuban is presented by Dance Consortium, the UK-wide consortium of 18 large-scale theatres, whose mission is to bring the best international contemporary dance to audiences across the UK.