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Carlos Acosta on creativity in British society

In a Foreign Office film launched today, Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta talks about the UK’s artistic flair and why he chose to join the Royal Ballet in Britain.

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The film is one of the ‘See Britain through my eyes’ series featuring individuals from home and abroad talking about their experiences of modern Britain in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Carlos’s film is being released to coincide with his performance in Limen, Marguerite and Armand and Requiem with the Royal Ballet. Watch his short film below.


As a young boy, Carlos started dancing during his spare time at his father’s insistence. He came to prominence in the early 1990s and is considered to be one of the most influential male dancers of our time.

In the film, Carlos talks about his decision to join the Royal Ballet and describes the company as being like his family, from whom he has learned a lot. He discusses the Royal Ballet’s more avant-garde work, highlighting how this pushes creative boundaries. Comparing the company to Britain more widely, he says people in the UK are always seeking to come up with new ways of artistic expression. He attributes this creative flair to the multicultural nature of British society and the multitude of cultures and influences present.

Carlos believes the UK embraces talent wherever it comes from. He recalls the Royal Ballet tour of Cuba in 2010 and his elation at performing his work before his home crowd. The Royal Ballet specifically chose Havana as a destination, and Carlos pays tribute to the company’s generosity in subsidising this part of the tour to share its work with new audiences in Cuba.

Carlos was born in Havana in Cuba in 1973. He began dancing at the National Ballet School of Cuba when he was ten. In June 1991 he was awarded his diploma with maximum qualifications and a gold medal. He has danced with many companies including the English National Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba, Houston Ballet and American Ballet theatre. He has been a permanent member of the Royal Ballet since 1998 and in 2003 he was promoted to Principal Guest Artist.

Over the past few years Carlos has enjoyed numerous guest artist appearances in the United States, Russia the Netherlands, Chile, Argentina, Greece, Japan, Italy, Germany and France. He appeared as a main character in the Natalie Portman directed segment of the film ‘New York, I Love You’, and has won numerous awards ranging from the Gold Medal at the Prix de Lausanne (January 1990) to the Gold Medal at the Fourth Annual Competition of Ballet in Paris (November 1990). He created his own production Tocororo, based partly on his own life experiences as a young boy growing up in Cuba, and took it to the famous Sadler’s wells venue in London.

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Published 6 October 2011