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Unfortunately, most of us have, at some point in our lives, lost someone we loved. For Carlos Acosta, one of the most celebrated dancers of our time, this loss was particularly profound.

His beloved mother, Dulce María, was not only a cherished figure in his life but also the one who convinced him to pursue ballet, despite his initial dislike for it as a child. So, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Dulce María for being the guiding star in Carlos’s life.

Carlos Acosta and Laura Rodríguez

On Before, originally conceived in 2010 and now presented in Carlos’s revisited version, is a heartfelt tribute to his mother. Each of the nine contemporary pieces in the show have been meticulously choreographed by a dream team, including Will Tuckett, Yuri Yanowsky, Beatriz García, and Raúl Reinoso. The use of lighting and candles, expertly orchestrated by Chris Davey, adds a mesmerising touch to each piece.

Carlos Acosta is joined by the remarkable Laura Rodríguez, a Cuban dancer from Acosta Danza, and together, they deliver a performance that is nothing short of breath-taking. Their chemistry is palpable as they execute exquisite and theatrical movements. The music selection, ranging from Handel to Cuban contemporary composer Omar Puente, takes the audience on a journey through the highs and lows of love and mourning.

Towards the end of Part Two, a choir performs a live acapella rendition of Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium, transporting Laura Rodríguez (“brava” in every single way) to a place beyond human reach. The genius selection of music and lighting engages the audience in this minimalist, flawless, and emotionally moving production, in which the focus is affixed solely on Carlos and Laura.

With a continuing commitment to nurturing emerging talent, the ensemble cast at the Birmingham Hippodrome consists of local individuals, including both dance performers and participants. The chorus comprised of members from Ex Cathedra, led by Jeffrey Skidmore.

It’s truly remarkable to witness Carlos back on stage, expressing his deepest emotions through impeccable body language. Both Carlos and Laura push boundaries and delve into the complexities of doomed love, conveying how it both elevates and hurts. Does true acceptance ever endure? That question lingers, inviting each member of the audience to contemplate and draw their own conclusions.

This is the beauty of contemporary dance: If you connect with the show, the story becomes your own. A part of you comes up to the stage to join the performance, and it will live with you forever. It is, if I may say, like listening to your favourite song over the years: It will have a different meaning to you depending on the moment of your life in which you are at…

On Tuesday, 7th May, the production concludes its run in Birmingham before heading to the Buxton Opera House in July as part of the Buxton International Festival. For ticket information click here