This is a trailer for Carlos Acosta in a ballet version of Spartacus. I dare you to watch it without concentrating on his penis.
Acosta was performing at The Lowry tonight as part of Manchester International Festival, and since the Press Team volunteer shifts are the cushtiest going, I waltzed on in there and saw the first half, having had extremely limited experience of ballet in the past. I saw Matthew Bourne’s adaptation of Edward Scissorhands a few years ago, but only little bits of that were proper ballet, and I once did work experience in Dorothy Perkins with a girl who went on to some prestigious dance academy somewhere or other. She had a stupidly long neck.
So, as a ballet novice, I remain constantly astounded that a semi-naked woman wrapping her thighs around the face of a man in tights is considered highbrow entertainment instead of niche porn, but there was no denying that the athleticism required for ballet is pretty fucking serious. Carlos Acosta was so muscular and so toned that his arse had turned a funny shape. His buttocks are conical, no word of a lie.
For the first part of tonight’s show they had designed this angular curtainy thing to look like a dance studio, with barres along two ‘walls’. Acosta and his lady-friend were dancing as if they were looking at themselves in the big long mirror (ie, the audience - If this was an A-level Theatre Studies essay I would now write some very insightful theories about the use of the fourth wall as a reflection of the artists’ narcissism etc etc yawn yawn) and I tell you, she had the longest legs I have ever seen in my life. When she did that walking on points thing that ballerinas do I actually felt my toenails ache in sympathy.
But then we had this rubbish scene change that was actually the most rubbish scene change I have ever seen in my life. They just put the curtain down for about fifteen minutes while the orchestra played variations on a train travelling urgently through the night. This must happen in ballet all the time though, because no-one around me seemed the least bit bothered. They all just sat and waited in the dark for him to come back on again, which he did, eventually, this time with a girl who looked like she’d been built out of dental floss on Blue Peter. She’ll have forgotten what it’s like to menstruate. Then they did jerky frantic niche porn instead of the graceful stuff from the first dance, and I found myself wondering how she stopped her lyrca body suit from riding up her arse crack.
Then there was a bit in some red pajamas that was done to a pretty amazing cello solo, but the choreographer had put a load of forward rolls in to get some laughs. I wanted them to bring the girl with the long legs back on again because she moved like she was just a wispy bit of something caught in a breeze.
I left at the interval, mostly because I was knackered, but partly because I learned that ballet just makes me wonder if the dancers are shagging.