Carlos Acosta's Carmen, a co-production with London's Royal Ballet, Australia's Queensland Ballet and Texas Ballet Theater, arrives in Dallas, September 16–18, and in Fort Worth, October 7–9.
TBT artistic director Ben Stevenson met Acosta when the international star was only 18 years old. As Houston Ballet's then artistic director, Stevenson nurtured Acosta's outsized talent, helping him rise to prominence during his six years dancing with the company. The two have remained connected throughout the years.
Another legendary Stevenson dancer, Li Cunxin (author of Mao's Last Dancer), heads Queensland Ballet, linking the two companies. "Ballet people are like Velcro; we stick together," Stevenson quips. The choice to co-produce Carmen with The Royal Ballet was a logical one. "Carlos already had such success with his production of Don Quixote in 2013, and he's a natural for the sexy, fiery story of Carmen," Stevenson says. "Also, we don't have a version of Carmen in the repertoire, and it's nice to add something that's familiar." The ballet had its premiere at The Royal in October 2015.
It helps that Acosta remains a legend in Texas, and Stevenson hopes to bring some of his signature energy to the company. With choreography full of high-octane bravura turns and leaps, two of Acosta's signature talents, audiences can expect considerable machismo in Carmen—though it's too soon to know if Acosta will be able to coach TBT dancers himself. "It's going to be fun," Stevenson says, "especially for the men!"