Acosta Danza: Evolution (3 stars)

Acosta Danza: Evolution

Quadruple bill of uneven quality, despite the dazzling efforts of the performers

Evolution, a quadruple-bill from Cuba's Acosta Danza, sees a company of exhilarating skill trying to do a few things too many.

Satori, choreographed by Raúl Reinoso, is a perplexing opener. A reflection on Zen Buddhism, the title of the piece refers to a moment of illumination, but the hoped-for enlightenment never quite arrives. There is craft and ingenuity in both performance and staging, but through the tricks and tropes thrown into this quest for knowledge, true meaning is lost.

In contrast, Paysage, soudain la nuit is endearingly straightforward in concept. Pontus Lidberg's rumba-influenced exploration of youth and Cuban culture, through dawns and twilights, takes a wistful view of what it is to be young. Like the crops of the field they dance in, the dancers rise to greet the sun, close in on themselves through the night, and in-between they skip around each other and begin to discover themselves. It lacks the edge and urgency of youth, but the airy exuberance of the movement is hard to resist.

Faun, Sidi Larbi Charkaoui's reinterpretation of Nijinsky, has no shortage of urgency. Reworked as a duet between the faun and a lone nymph, it's the choreographic highlight of the evening – bold and carnal, daring in its divergence from the original. It plays with the power dynamics between faun and nymph and is performed with captivating poise and drama as the two flow through each other.

Rooster, by Christopher Bruce, closes the quartet and is an opportunity to see Carlos Acosta himself back on stage. His command and grace are unequalled and the company take to the chicken strut with glee, but despite the wit with which the choreography skewers the preening male ego, Rooster feels outmoded, considered against the modern discussion of 'boys will be boys' toxic masculinity.

Reviewed at Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Acosta Danza

Performance of new and existing works by ballet superstar Carlos Acosta's award-winning Cuban dance company.

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