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No Way Home: A Cuban Dancer's Story.

No Way Home: A Cuban Dancer's Story

Carlos Acosta. London: HarperPress, 2007. 336 pages. Illustrated. 20 [pounds sterling]. (Not available in the U.S.; order through www.amazon.co.uk.)

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In this autobiography, Carlos Acosta, one of the world's greatest male dancers, offers a frank and vivid account of his life journey. From break dancing in the streets of Cuba to performing in the opera houses of the world, he tells his story simply and honestly, with details that tug at the heartstrings. When he was 9, his mother had a stroke, and later his sister, suffering from schizophrenia, tried to commit suicide. He writes of his unremitting loneliness, his feelings of self-loathing after stealing from fellow students, and the constant awareness of his dark skin.

When he starts dancing with international ballet companies, he is amazed by the facilities, the attitudes of fellow dancers, and especially the number of zeros on his Houston Ballet contract when he was used to earning 138 pesos (about a dollar) a month at Ballet Nacional de Cuba. His sense of humor is evident throughout. He describes himself as looking like the Pink Panther in his Spectre de la Rose costume.

The overriding focus of the book is his great love of family--despite his father's haranguing and regular physical beatings. In recognizing his son's talent, Pedro Acosta was the dominant force in coercing the boy to both train and continue his career, not allowing him to scuttle home when things got tough--hence the title. Despite this past relationship, Acosta dedicates the book to his father.

No Way Home is an intimate and revealing account of Acosta's life--so far. He bares his soul but never boasts of his amazing talent, and although he has conquered audiences the world over, he remains a humble Cuban boy at heart.

--Margaret Willis
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Author:Willis, Margaret
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Feb 1, 2008
Words:306
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