HAVANA (Reuters) - Global ballet star Carlos Acosta returns to his Cuban roots when his new dance company takes to the stage next month.
Since retiring last year from London's Royal Ballet where he was principal guest artist, the 42-year-old has gone back to his native Havana to found Acosta Danza.
"My country made it possible for me to become a ballet dancer and I want to pass that on too," Acosta told a news conference on Thursday. "That is where the idea for my company, to found the school, came from - to establish a platform, to create this pathway, but not just for Cuba, for the world."
Having trained at the National Ballet School of Cuba, Acosta went on to perform with many of the world's leading ballet companies.
He has been likened to the late ballet legend Rudolf Nureyev and earned numerous accolades in his career, including an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance at Britain's top theater honors.
Acosta joined the Royal Ballet in 1998 and he danced in "Carmen" for his swan song performance last year.
"My heart is always in Cuba. I could have opened my company in England and they would have given me everything," he said.
"But with everything we want, we want this to better everything in every way, that artists create new possibilities for themselves, new productions and I want to try to do that."
Acosta Danza will make its debut at Havana's newly refurbished Alicia Alonso Great Theatre on April 8, performing a range of contemporary works.
Reporting by Reuters Television in Havana; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Mark Heinrich