Dance review: Acosta Danza, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

A mirror image of beaming smiles closed Acosta Danza’s second visit to Edinburgh. It was hard to know who looked happier – the 11 Cuban dancers clearly touched by the whoops and hollers or the audience who had just been blown away by a closing number that’s the dictionary definition of feelgood.

Acosta Danza

Acosta Danza, Edinburgh Festival Theatre **** 

A legend at the Royal Ballet, Carlos Acosta is now driving his own company with one hand and getting ready to steer Birmingham Royal Ballet with the other. His vision for both is hugely different – for him Acosta Danza should be quintessentially Cuban.

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The opening piece, Satori, by company dancer Raúl Reinoso, has echoes of several European choreographers but for a debut ensemble piece it’s bold, ambitious and hints at greater things to come.

Pontus Lidberg’s Paysage, Soudain, la nuit has a light and breezy, pastoral spring in its step, steeping the stage in Cuban sunshine. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Faun, a re-working of Nijinsky’s L’après midi d’un faune, gifts us the remarkable pairing of dancers Zeleidy Crespo and Carlos Luis Blanco. Full of sensuality and bite, their languid, muscular bodies fuse like molten metal then kick out capoeira-style.

But back to that closing number. Christopher Bruce’s Rooster has been a jewel in Rambert’s crown for years and, it transpires, Acosta Danza wears the sharp suits equally well. Acosta himself joins the dancers for Rooster’s joyful vignettes set to The Rolling Stones and, leaping and strutting, he’s as mesmerising as ever. Kelly Apter