‘It’s very hard to choreograph and dance at the same time – especially a three-act ballet! I learned from Don Quixote that we need time, but it’s a work in progress,’ Carlos told presenter Alan Titchmarsh of amending works right up to (and even after) the curtain rising. ‘Even Kenneth MacMillan, when he created Manon, would see it from the front and say “that’s not working” or “it’s a little slow”. It’s then adjusted until finally you get the definitive version.’
‘I studied every production of Don Quixote that had been made, with a critical eye. I tried to see what works, what was lacking and what I could bring. These classic ballets, they have been created so long ago and what was funny then may not be funny now. It needs to be made accessible so people have a strong connection.’
Carlos also spoke of growing up in an impoverished district of Havana, the youngest of eleven children: ‘My father fought for every penny so if you asked him for something you had to beg. I was always restless and liked football and baseball, I’d been expelled from school and I saw the National Ballet of Cuba perform. They had such powerful leaps and I thought ‘Wow! This is wonderful – I want to lift women with one hand!’.
Other topics covered at the Insight included his views on younger dancers, fame and discipline; his love for Kenneth MacMillan’s ballets such as Manon and Romeo and Juliet; and how he believes ballet can stay relevant. (see full information at Royal Opera House's website)