Review: Acosta Danza

Review: Acosta Danza

By Richard Lutz

There is a moment in Carlos Acosta's production when you don’t know whether you're watching choreography or an advanced pinball game. Using the whole of Birmingham Hippodrome's monster stage, a dozen of his troupe are madly throwing 12 plastic bottles filled with fluorescent liquid in the dark air. Continually.

It is chaos, pure circus pandemonium. Or one of those outer space graphics that show planets revolving erratically. But, of course, it ain’t. It is precision work as the dancers spin, leap, throw and catch the flying bottles. 

This goes on for 18 minutes and the 12 balance beautifully between highly tuned dancers and jugglers working out on a Caribbean beach. How a bunch of bottles can stay in the air for so long is beyond comprehension.

Acosta, straight out of the Havana slums, launched his new company Costa Danza this autumn and this is its first tour.

They’re based in Costa’s hometown and each of the five pieces are heavily decorated with  Cuban flair though music ranges from Olivier  Messiaen to Cesar Frank to electronic techy rock.  

And, like the range of musical backdrop, the five pieces vary. Besides an advanced class in bottle throwing, there is Mermaid, a gentle fable. Acosta, though retired, dons his shoes once more as he guides Marta  Ortega’s watery woman after she lands on shore. She nervously wobbles, drunkenly wanders and tentatively walks —  to music by Eric Satie and Woojae Park. It’s simple and stunning.

Other pieces don’t hit the heights of the two above. But the Acosta Danza evening underlines Birmingham’s dedication to modern dance in this co-production with Sadler's Wells.

Until Saturday. Tickets