New BBC Radio 4 Show Focuses On Carlos Acosta Foundation

A new BBC Radio 4 show, which aired in Feburary 2014, focused on Carlos Acosta and his mission to transform Vittorio Garatti's Ballet School in Havana into an international dance centre, the work that forms the first major project being undertaken by the Carlos Acosta Foundation.

The show was called Will Carlos Acosta Get to the Pointe and aired in two episodes, on Thu 6 Feb and Thu 13 Feb. You can find out more about the show at bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03twsrb. Here's the blurb from the BBC website:

The celebrated ballet star, Carlos Acosta, is preparing to take on one of his most demanding roles - to save the crumbling ruins of an abandoned ballet school in Cuba.

Vittorio Garatti's Ballet School in Havana is an extraordinary labyrinth of corridors, graceful arches and majestic domes and has been described as one of the most remarkable buildings of the 20th century. But after its construction the sensuous structures became viewed as indulgent and elitist and the buildings were abandoned and fell into disrepair.

Carlos Acosta has a dream to revive the school and transform it into an international centre for dance and the Arts. His plans have provoked ethical divisions with the original architect, and the restoration project is being seen as a touchstone for how modern Cuba feels about itself and its artistic history. In, Will Carlos Acosta Get to the Pointe, the ballet star travels back to his native country to reveal why this project is so close to his own heart.


Official Press Release

Last night saw the official launch of the Carlos Acosta International Dance Foundation at a fund-raising gala dinner at the Royal Opera House,Covent Garden, hosted by Sir David Tang.

The Carlos Acosta International Dance Foundation aims to create a legacy of dance for future generations through the creation of Carlos Acosta Arts Centres around the world. The centres will be places where choreographers and dancers can come to express talents which might not otherwise be seen, where they will be taught and encouraged to push boundaries. By attracting some of the world’s most talented performers, the centres will raise both the awareness and quality of dance to new levels. In order to achieve this vision, the Foundation has approached the architect Lord Foster to develop a concept to refurbish and restore the Cuban School of  Ballet, which forms part of the Schools of Art complex in Havana built in the 1960s and 1970s.

Significant as one of the very few architectural works to date from the period immediately following the Cuban Revolution, the school buildings were constructed entirely from local materials, using local skills. This project will continue that tradition. The existing buildings will be restored and new interventions carefully articulated to differentiate between the two chapters in the life of the school. It will be a special venue, beyond the typical tourist itinerary of old Havana– a new artistic and architectural destination that will open up a different, important aspect of Cuban history.

Carlos Acosta said:

‘I want to provide a platform and focus for young people to explore hidden talents, develop their skills and help them make positive choices in life. The Carlos Acosta Centre for Dance will be a place where they can realise their dreams. In turn, it will provide a world stage for these talents to be seen and enjoyed by all.’

Lord Foster said:

‘I am pleased to be able to help Carlos Acosta in his ambitious project to transform the lives of young people in Cuba by harnessing the power of dance. The Carlos Acosta Centre for Dance will complete the legacy of the Art Schools campus in Havana to inspire future generations of performers. Our approach has been to first establish the feasibility study of restoring the school buildings by Vittorio Garatti, with their extraordinarily beautiful Catalan vaults and domes.'

Sir David Tang said:

‘This whole project requires the support of a great cross-section of people from across the world, not only in terms of funding, but also in that spirit of making a difference to so many of those, especially of the younger generation, who would not otherwise have had the chance of clutching that straw of difference in their lives. I hope to be able to play a part in lending my full support to this project, for this is a project not only for Cuba, but for the world.’


Last night’s launch of the Carlos Acosta International Dance Foundation was a resounding success

Several hundred guests attended last night’s dazzling event at the Royal Opera House to launch the fundraising programme of the Foundation. Guests were witness to a spectacular dance performance by Carlos, accompanied by the amazingly talented Roberta Marquez, who is also a principal at the Royal Ballet. Carlos and Roberta danced: the breath-taking pas de deux from Diana & Acteon followed by Carlos giving a superb performance of the more contemporary, Memoria. The Paul Hamyln Hall was a magnificent venue to showcase the project and to give guests a very intimate evening of dance. Guests were also able to view the model of the site for the first Carlos Acosta Dance Centre and be inspired by the possibilities that this unique project holds.

Sir David Tang says: "Carlos, who danced like a god last night, is the reason why we must do what we can to help all those who look up to that artistry and uplifting spirit of dance. It offers an extra dimension in life that makes the world go round."

Rupert Rohan says: “We are immensely grateful to our host Sir David Tang and all those who gave up their evening last night to support the launch of our Foundation. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I hope that it gave everyone a greater insight into what we are hoping to achieve and the task that lies ahead.”