Carlos Acosta in a still from Yuli. Photo by Denise Guerra, Courtesy Janet Stapleton

Since the project was first announced toward the end of 2017, we've been extremely curious about Yuli. The film, based on Carlos Acosta's memoir No Way Home, promised as much dancing as biography, with Acosta appearing as himself and dance sequences featuring his eponymous Cuba-based company Acosta Danza. Add in filmmaking power couple Icíar Bollaín (director) and Paul Laverty (screenwriter), and you have a recipe for a dance film unlike anything else we've seen recently.

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Competitors in class. Gregory Bartadon, Courtesy Prix de Lausanne.

Prepare to give up your plans for this entire week. The 2019 Prix de Lausanne is underway, with more hours of streaming available than ever before. Bunheads and balletomanes can enjoy up to six hours a day of free streaming live from Switzerland.

The broadcast started this morning with the junior category girls running through their classical variations onstage for the first time, followed by the senior boys in contemporary class. The full schedule for the week is available here, and streaming can be viewed on ARTE Concert or on the Prix de Lausanne website. (The ARTE Concert site is in French, but don't let that deter you; the stream itself is all in English.)

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News
Courtesy Birmingham Royal Ballet

Birmingham Royal Ballet announced today that international star Carlos Acosta will be taking over as director in January of 2020. Current BRB director David Bintley will be stepping down this summer, at the end of the company's 2019 season, after a 24-year tenure. "It is a tremendous honor and privilege to have been appointed to lead Birmingham Royal Ballet," Acosta said in a statement.

Since retiring from The Royal Ballet in 2015, Acosta has focused much of his attention on his native Cuba, where he's proven his directorial abilities at the helm of Acosta Danza, the contemporary company that he founded in 2016. In 2017 Acosta also opened his first Dance Academy through his foundation, which provides free training to students. We don't yet know how Acosta will balance his time between his projects in Cuba and his new role at BRB.

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Ballet Stars
Zeleidy Crespo and members of Acosta/Danza in Raúl Reinoso's "Sartori." Photo courtesy Acosta/Danza.

The 2018 Spansih film Yuli recounts the ascendancy of Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta from the impoverished streets of Los Pinos to The Royal Ballet's most decorated guest dancer. Now, as a choreographer, his ambitions turn toward directing Havana's Acosta/Danza, a pocket-sized company he founded bearing the Cubanía stamp. "We encapsulate the best of Cuban dance," Acosta tells me over email. "That's why I've chosen dancers with different backgrounds and preparations: ballet, contemporary, folkloric and theatrical dance, unusual for any company here and internationally."


'Yuli' - first trailer for Icíar Bollaín's San Sebastian Competition title www.youtube.com


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San Francisco Ballet in class during World Ballet Day 2016. Photo Courtesy SFB.

Here at Pointe, every day feels like World Ballet Day, though the official 2018 event took place on Tuesday. While WBD is a thrill for any bunhead, it can also be overwhelming. How are you supposed to sit in front of your computer all day when you have class and rehearsal and work and a life? We get it, and we're here to help.

To give you a chance to catch up, we've rounded up WBD videos from 26 companies. So grab some popcorn, a backlog of pointe shoes to sew, and settle in. If you start watching now, you might just be done in time for WBD 2019.

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Yuli looks like the ballet biopic of our dreams. Screenshot via YouTube

We admit it. We're picky about dance movies. They don't always represent our beloved art form accurately, or use real dancers to play the main roles.

But we just watched the first trailer for the new Carlos Acosta biopic, Yuli, and we're kinda speechless:

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Ballet Stars

The '90s were an exciting time at Houston Ballet. Lauren Anderson, who became Houston's first AfricanAmerican principal dancer in 1990, reigned as its queen of virtuosic technique; a few years later, a young Cuban wonder named Carlos Acosta joined the company and became one of her regular partners. The results were nothing less than explosive, as this clip of their Don Quixote pas de deux proves. Dancing at a brisk pace, they imbue the choreography with high-flying allégro, crisp energy and charismatic flair. Within a minute Acosta has Anderson in an overhead press (no biggie!). Later, she attacks her pirouettes with pointed musicality, slicing the air with a dramatic grand ronds de jambe.

In a recent interview with Pointe, Anderson talked about their partnership. "It was a little bit of a battle at first because he's strong and I'm strong," she said, adding that she had already been an established principal when Acosta, who is eight years younger than Anderson, joined the company. "But we found that there was chemistry there. And what was fun was that we were both heavy on the technique side, so we'd compete a bit onstage, especially when we'd get to the coda. As we'd each come out for our solos, we'd try to kick it up a notch." It's easy to see how much fun they're having here. Happy #TBT!

Ballet Stars
Photo by Todd Spoth, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

When I was a teenager, Lauren Anderson was my generation's Misty Copeland. The former Houston Ballet star made history as the company's first African American principal ballerina in 1990, and her partnership with Carlos Acosta thrilled audiences before he left Houston for The Royal Ballet. Since her retirement in 2006, she's had her hands full as Houston Ballet's program manager of community engagement—yet she still finds time to teach master classes around the world. On April 8­–12, Anderson will be headlining Debbie Allen Dance Academy's "DADA On Pointe" Ballet Intensive, including an exclusive talk-back with Allen on April 8. Anderson spoke with Pointe about the impact the Fame star had on her career, and how she's tried to pay it forward since.

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Since 2000, megastars and budding ballet celebrities alike have graced the covers of Pointe. Take a walk with us down memory lane as we recall some of the biggest names from some of our earliest issues. Whether they continue to perform or have transitioned to a position at the front of the studio, these stars have real staying power.

Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky (May/June 2001)

Then: Pegged as "Ballet's Hottest Couple" on our cover, the duo had recently joined American Ballet Theatre as principals.

Now: Though both have retired from ABT, they run a summer intensive in New York City, give limited performances as guest artists and have even designed items, like ballet booties, for Bloch. Dvorovenko also had a major role in the Starz's ballet drama "Flesh and Bone."

Svetlana Zakharova (July/August 2001)

Then: Zakharova was a young principal with the Mariinsky Ballet.

Now: She's still tantalizing audiences with her breathtaking performances of ballets like Swan Lake—but with the Bolshoi Ballet. Last year, Zakharova also became a guest artist with Bavarian State Ballet.

Tamara Rojo (November/December 2001)

Then: The Spanish dancer was a leading performer with The Royal Ballet.

Now: If someone can do it all, it's Rojo. She's currently balancing dual roles at English National Ballet as artistic director and principal dancer. Pointe even named her performance with Irek Mukhamedov in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings one of the Standouts of 2016.

Misty Copeland (February/March 2002)

Then: Way before Misty Copeland became a household name, she scored her first Pointe cover as a promising member of ABT's corps.

Now: As ABT's first female African American principal, she's an all-around ballet superhero. Copeland has catapulted ballet into the mainstream and has championed issues like having a positive body image and diversity in dance.

Jenifer Ringer (April/May 2002)

Then: a leading principal at New York City Ballet

Now: Ringer traded East Coast for West when she became the director of the Colburn Dance Academy in L.A. If you're not one of her lucky students, you can read about her perspective in her memoir, Dancing Through It: My Journey in Ballet. And, just last year, she also spoke to Pointe about how dancers can foster confidence.

Carlos Acosta (August/September 2002)

Then: The international ballet star had loads of fans at The Royal Ballet, but Big Apple audiences were also getting acquainted with him since he'd recently appeared as a guest with ABT.

Now: He's busy leading his own company, Acosta Danza, in his native Cuba.

Paloma Herrera (December 2002/January 2003)

Then: The Argentinian dancer was wowing New York audiences as a principal at ABT.

Now: Earlier this month, Herrera became artistic director of Teatro Colón's ballet company in Buenos Aires. We can't wait to see what she does in her new position.

Ethan Stiefel (February/March 2003)

Then: Though he launched his professional career with NYCB, Stiefel was an ABT principal by the time he appeared on our cover.

Now: Stiefel had a short stint as artistic director of Royal New Zealand Ballet from 2011 to 2014, but now, he's focusing on choreographing. His first major choreographic commission will premiere in May at The Washington Ballet.

For more news on all things ballet, don't miss a single issue.

News
Leticia Oliveira and Carl Coomer. Photo by Steven Visneau, Courtesy Texas Ballet Theater.

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.

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Viral Videos

Former Royal Ballet principals Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta are notably one of the best couples to perform together. In this clip of Manon, it's clear that Rojo and Acosta have an unadulterated chemistry, even with the pas de deux's technically exhaustive demands.

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For this #MotivationMonday, we mined the “Reverence" section of Pointe's back issues. Read on for inspiration from some of your favorite dancers. This years-old advice is timeless!

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