17 Jan 2023
Carlos Acosta learned to dance in Cuba, his native country. While studying at the National Ballet School of Havana, he participated in the Prix de Lausanne in 1990 where he was awarded a Gold Medal. Although this distinction no longer exists today, it marked for him and many others a talent that was judged “almost out of competition” 1. Since his consecration in Lausanne, his career has literally taken off, as an international artist with the Royal Ballet but also as a guest artist with prestigious companies such as the American Ballet Theatre, the Houston Ballet and the English National Ballet. After guesting also with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, he became its Artistic Director since 2020. We had the chance to ask him some questions before his arrival in Lausanne…
What do you think of the evolution of dance over the last 50 years?
I think the dancers themselves have evolved the most. The standard has increased dramatically, and what a dancer’s body is now capable of doing is amazing. In classical ballet, the steps may be the same but they are executed differently and there is more of a desire for today’s dancers to keep up with a certain standard and perhaps even go beyond those expectations. I love how contemporary dance has also encompassed so many different styles; the possibilities are limitless and exciting, and the dancers always need to be ready to learn new techniques.
In your opinion, what is the place of a competition like the Prix de Lausanne in the world of dance today?
I feel like this competition really signified the beginning of my career as a dancer personally, and I know other young dancers will feel same. It is a chance to be seen by directors and to show what you are capable of in the ballet world, and it’s just a beautiful tradition.
What do you think is the most valuable message to give to young dancers today?
To always keep reaching for the stars and to be disciplined with yourself. Many young dancers get lost in the world of social media which is just a distorted reality. Being able to do endless fouettés does not make you an artist, so never stop improving and working on your artistry.
1« 50 starry years », Jean Pierre Pastori, 2022