“YULI, THE CARLOS ACOSTA STORY” - ART OF DANCING FOREVER
Art is an everlasting spirit, never leaving us alone if we have it in our blood, deep down our soul. Colours, movements, sounds, words are in the artists’ daily life, always in his/her dreams and they ask for being chased incessantly, wherever our talent leads us to. Do we have to follow this way? Do we owe to our talent, do we have to go after it?
“Yuli”, the film directed by Iciar Bollain, raises these questions in our minds. The film is about the Afro-Cuban ballet Carlos Acosto, the first black Romeo. Carlos acts in the film as himself, as the adult Carlos. The film is based on his autobiography “No Way Home”. It was directed and shown at San Sebastian International Film Festival in 2018. Acosta was a nominee at 2019 Goya Awards. Acosta is the director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. He danced at English National Ballet, Houston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
Yuli is the name his father calls him according to their earlier West-African beliefs. His grandmother was a slave, his father did not know anything about his father and he was beaten a lot by his mother. Yuli’s parents were divorced, but they continued to live in the same house because of financial difficulties. His father was aware of his dancing talent, he also thought that he got his talent from him. He was very insistent on his becoming a dancer. However, Yuli wanted to be a footballer because he thought becoming a dancer was effeminate. There was a lot of physical harassment at home, unfortunately. He had no other choice, but to start the dancing school. His talent was sparkling of course. His teacher always supported him throughout his career. The film is carried on by flashbacks and this makes the story much more interesting. Success followed success and his father’s dreams of his becoming a great black dancer, accepted and admired by the whole world came true. The dancing scenes are terrific and the film is an unforgettable cinema experience, especially for ballet lovers.
Art is an everlasting spirit, never leaving us alone if we have it in our blood, deep down our soul. Colours, movements, sounds, words are in the artists’ daily life, always in his/her dreams and they ask for being chased incessantly, wherever our talent leads us to.
What did Carlos actually want in his depths, what was his utmost dream? He wanted to lead an ordinary life, not the life of a sparkling ballet-dancer. When he came to Cuba to visit his family and his friends, he was unbelievably happy. But the situation of the Cuban people was very bad, people wanted to immigrate to the U.S.A. , Europe. One of his friends said that all he had was his own life and he was ready to risk it. People were working very hard for very long hours, but they still could not earn their daily bread. Whatever happened, people from all ages were coming together, singing and dancing. It was so fascinating, as if flashes of rainbow colours for him. London was safe, but dull, a bleak city, surrounded by the colour grey in his eyes. But in Cuba, disaster lurked in streets, all those colours were clouded by the basic needs of human beings, daily worries, the most necessary things for life.
Although he thought London was no home for him, in the end dancing, wherever he lived in, became the place his heart belonged to. As it is indicated in the film, “it is the story of a dancer who did not want to be a dancer.” He followed his talent, trying to fulfil his talent’s demands and he managed it, is still managing it. Becoming a black Romeo, against all kinds of prejudices we might have in our subconscious and being applauded by the whole world is so precious, not only for him, but mostly for all of us, breaking one more chain in our enslavement of notions stated by others.