#TBT: Alessandra Ferri and Carlos Acosta in "Manon" (2000)

June 23, 2021

It seems hard to believe, but the last time that Alessandra Ferri and Carlos Acosta performed together was more than 20 years ago. At the Havana International Ballet Festival in 2000, Ferri, who was then a principal with American Ballet Theatre, and Acosta, a Royal Ballet star, danced the bedroom pas de deux from Manon, but they never got to grace the stage together again.

When Acosta became the director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2020, shortly before the pandemic struck the UK, he announced to great excitement that his first season would include a world premiere duet for him and Ferri. While the initial performance was postponed, BRB confirmed last week that Acosta and Ferri’s reunion will be part of the company’s triple bill in London this October. To celebrate the pair’s upcoming return to the stage, we’re revisiting this video from 2000 of the duo in Manon.

As partners, Ferri and Acosta balance one another beautifully; her effortless suppleness contrasts and complements his soft, but commanding strength. Their duet starts out with flirtations and teasing, but it soon transforms into something more profound. As the music becomes sweet and melodic at 2:10, Acosta rises up from the knee to lift Ferri into a gorgeous balance perched delicately on his shoulder. They unfurl into a passionate kiss, and from there the pas de deux begins to swirl with pirouettes and promenades. Acosta sweeps Ferri up into a press lift as she plumbs the depth of her cambré. In the final seconds, she slides to the floor and Acosta pulls her into an embrace. As the lights rise, they’re greeted by a full minute of loving applause! Happy #ThrowbackThursday!