When Did Carlos Acosta Join the Royal Ballet?


In 1998, the Cuban-born dancer Carlos Acosta joined the Royal Ballet in London. His appointment marked a major breakthrough for Cuban ballet, as he was the first Cuban dancer to be invited to join one of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies.

Acosta had already achieved renown in Cuba prior to joining the Royal Ballet. He was born in Havana and trained at the Alicia Alonso Dance Academy, where he quickly showed great promise. By 1998, Acosta had won gold medals at several international competitions and was a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Cuba.

The invitation from the Royal Ballet was an unexpected honor for Acosta, who was only 24 when he accepted the position. He had been invited to audition by Anthony Dowell, then artistic director of the company and a former star of The Royal Ballet himself. Acosta performed an excerpt from “Swan Lake” that impressed Dowell so much that he immediately offered him a soloist contract with the company.

When Acosta arrived in London, he had some difficulty adapting to his new environment. He felt out of place among his more experienced peers and lacked confidence in his ability to fit in with such an elite group of dancers. However, with perseverance and dedication, he gained acceptance among his colleagues and soon became one of The Royal Ballet’s best-loved dancers.

Acosta quickly established himself as one of The Royal Ballet’s leading dancers and performed many leading roles throughout his tenure there. He also danced extensively with other companies around Europe and acted as guest artist for some major international companies such as American Ballet Theatre and La Scala Ballet Company in Milan.

In 2006, after eight years with The Royal Ballet, Acosta retired from dance to focus on other interests such as choreography and writing books about his life story for children and adults alike. Since then he has returned to performing occasionally but has concentrated mainly on producing work for stage or screen productions around Europe or Latin America.

In summing up his career with The Royal Ballet, it is clear that Carlos Acosta made a significant contribution to both British ballet history and Cuban culture during his time there. His appointment marked a landmark moment not only for him but also for other Cuban artists who have since followed in his footsteps by joining top ballet companies around the world.


Carlos Acosta joined The Royal Ballet in 1998 at just 24 years old, becoming both the first Cuban dancer invited by this prestigious company and marking a major breakthrough moment for Cuban ballet history.