After an open competition and extensive international search, the Birmingham Royal Ballet is delighted to announce that Carlos Acosta CBE has been appointed as their new Director.
The appointment follows the news that current Director David Bintley CBE is to step down in July 2019, at the end of the company’s current season.
Acosta will take up his appointment in January 2020, and will work alongside the company’s Chief Executive, Caroline Miller OBE, who was appointed on a permanent basis just Christmas.
Born in Havana, the youngest of eleven children, Acosta trained at the National Ballet School of Havana in Cuba, winning several awards, including the prestigious Prix de Lausanne at the age of 16, before dancing professionally with some of the world’s most prestigious dance companies. He was a Principal with the Royal Ballet for 17 years, during which time he danced all the iconic classical, and many contemporary, roles.
Since retiring from the Royal Ballet in 2016, Carlos founded his Cuban dance company, Acosta Danza, and established a dance company in Havana, which opened its doors to its first students in September 2017. His 2007 autobiography ‘No Way Home‘ told the extraordinary story of his progress from the poorest of beginnings in Cuba to world ballet star, and became a UK bestseller.
His many awards include an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance, a Prix Benois de la Danse, an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards and the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award from The Royal Academy of Dance in recognition of his standing as one of the most influential figures in dance today. His athleticism, the sheer joy of dancing as well as his tremendous ability to convey emotion, inspired a generation of dancers across the globe. His very touching story and the obstacles he has overcome speak for themselves. Carlos’s extraordinary contribution to dance continues to this day and was recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List in 2014 when he was awarded a CBE.
Regarding his appointment, Carlos Acosta CBE said, “It is a tremendous honour and privilege to have been appointed to lead Birmingham Royal Ballet. I am a great admirer of its heritage and of what David Bintley has done to establish it as one of the country’s leading classical ballet companies, following on from the wonderful foundations laid down by Sir Peter Wright. My ambition 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.”
Chair of Birmingham Royal Ballet Sir David Normington GCB, said: “This is a great moment for Birmingham Royal Ballet. We have secured the greatest male dancer of his generation to be our new Director. 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.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Carlos Acosta CBE as the new Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, with his wealth of experience and knowledge from the international world of dance. Birmingham Royal Ballet is an exceptional company, with an international reputation for the artistic quality of its work, and as Carlos takes to the helm, we’d like to pay tribute to the commitment, contribution and charisma of David Bintley, who leaves behind him an extraordinary legacy. We look forward to seeing Carlos build on this legacy, and to the company continuing to delight audiences with their array of classical and ground-breaking ballets.”
Enjoying a thirty-year career in dance, with many of the world’s leading ballet companies, Carlos Acosta CBE is considered, not only the greatest male dancer of his generation, but one of the greatest dancers of all time.