Carlos Acosta to run Birmingham Royal Ballet

Former Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta is to succeed David Bintley as artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, the company has announced.

The 45-year-old Cuban, who retired as a dancer in 2015, will take over in January 2020.

He said it was “a tremendous honour and privilege” to have been appointed to run one of the country’s leading classical ballet companies. “My ambition” he said “is to build on its classical traditions, to expand its repertoire and to reach out to new and more diverse audiences. I want to define what it is to be a world-leading classical ballet company in the 21st century”.

The appointment comes as a surprise to the dance world. Born in poverty in Havana, Acosta was the youngest of 11 children of a lorry driver and was sent by his parents to the National Ballet School of Cuba to keep him out of trouble,. From there he launched one of the most extraordinary careers in dance which brought him to the Royal Ballet in 1998 via English National Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba, Houston Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre. Made a CBE in 2014, he is married to the English writer and former model Charlotte Holland and they have three children.

When Acosta retired from the Royal Ballet he returned to Havana where he started his own company, Acosta Danza, and a dance academy which opened in 2017.

“We have secured the greatest male dancer of his generation to be our new director” said Sir David Normington, BRB’s chairman. “I know he will bring us his legendary artistry, energy and charisma and enable us to connect with new audiences, particularly in Birmingham.

“It is a statement to the whole dance world that, building on David Bintley’s great legacy, Birmingham Royal Ballet intends to remain a major force for classical ballet in the UK and beyond.”

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