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Carlos Acosta: 1973—: Dancer

Surprised By Success

In 1998 Acosta joined the Royal Ballet permanently, after an emotional farewell performance in Houston. He toured Japan and China with the Royal Ballet, appeared in Brazil, and still danced with the National Ballet of Cuba on occasion. The source of financial support for his family back in Cuba, Acosta once bought himself a new German luxury automobile—but realized that it cost more than his parents' Havana home and traded it in for a used one. He remains grateful that his father pushed him so hard, as he told Putnam in the Dance interview, "He means everything to me." Acosta declared, "He never gave up on me."

In June of 2002 Acosta delighted New York City audiences with an appearance with the American Ballet Theater in a run of Le Corsaire. He has started to write his autobiography, and will premiere a new dance project, Tocororo (A Cuban Tale) in London in the summer of 2003. "It's about a woman who separates two gangs, and tells them that we don't learn from the past if we make war," Acosta explained to the New York Times's Kisselgoff. "Tocororo is the national Cuban bird, and the music has drums and salsa: Cuban rhythms." He remains an ardent salsa dancer himself, and still owns the first trophy he ever won—at age nine, for break-dancing. "I never thought I was going to get this far," Acosta told the Houston Chronicle's Glentzer. "If somebody had told me, 'Five years from now, you'll be doing this or that,' I would have said, 'Nah.' Everything happened so fast." Modestly, he dismissed comparisons to the other great male dancers before him, but did concede in the Houston Chronicle article that with "Baryshnikov and all the biggest stars … it's not about one thing," Glentzer quoted him as saying. "It's about everything…. When I think of Baryshnikov, I don't think how many pirouettes he can do or how high he jumps. It's the charisma: how he does it. You really have to enjoy dancing. Every time I perform, I have fun."



Newsmakers 1997, Issue 4, Gale, 1997.


Back Stage, June 14, 2002, p. 11.

Dance, March 1998, p. 92; June 1999, p. 78; September 2001, p. 14.

Houston Chronicle, September 6, 1998, p. 15; September 5, 1999, p. 11.

Independent (London, England), December 26, 1998, p. 8.

New York Times, June 13, 2002, p. E1; June 19, 2002, p. E5.

People, March 31, 1997, p. 85.

Time International, August 13, 2001, p. 59.

WWD, May 31, 2002, p. 4.

—Carol Brennan

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: (Hugo) Alvar (Henrik) Aalto (1898–1976) Biography to Miguel Angel Asturias (1899–1974) BiographyCarlos Acosta: 1973—: Dancer Biography - Had Early Troubles With Ballet Image, Rose To Fame In Ballet World, Surprised By Success