THE cream of Cuba’s young dance talent is heading for Bradford in Acosta Danza, the contemporary dance company founded by ballet superstar Carlos Acosta.

Carlos and co present bold new show Evolution, showcasing international choreographers.

Mario Sergio Elías (26) and twins Leticia and Alejandro Silva (30) grew up in Havana, where dance and music are the beating heart. “People are always dancing in the street. You can go anywhere in Havana and there is music,” says Mario.

They fell for dance early, but it wasn’t easy for Mario and Alejandro. “Dance wasn’t the profession my father wanted for me,” says Mario. “But with the help of my teachers, he was persuaded.”

Adds Leticia: “My father didn’t like Alejandro having ballet classes because of the taboo in Cuba. He came round to it as we got him more involved.”

It was a different story for Carlos Acosta. Growing up in a poor district of Havana, he dreamed of being a football player but his father sent him to ballet school to keep him off the streets. Initially reluctant, Carlos showed talent and became a Royal Ballet principal. Today he’s one of the biggest names in dance - his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing last autumn was a series highlight - and he created Acosta Danza to promote young talent. “I had this idea to create a company which didn’t look like any other company out there,” he says.

In 2017 he opened the Carlos Acosta Dance Academy in Havana, offering classes for disadvantaged youngsters from Brazil, Spain and Colombia. “We train them early, with the Acosta Danza signature,” says Carlos, who mixes up the Cuban dance scene with classical and contemporary.

Twins Leticia and Alejandro made the leap from classical dance. “Joining the company changed my life,” says Alejandro. “I am challenged all the time because each piece is so different. Carlos is a passionate artist and director, he creates a real energy. It feels like a family.”

Adds Mario: “What’s amazing about Acosta Danza is the opportunity to not only work with teachers from around the world but to work with Carlos, one of the best dancers of our time. He showed you can dance any style; dream big, work hard and you will make it.”

Says Leticia: “Dancing classically is amazing but you learn the steps then perform the big ballets. With this, you’re part of the creation. When I joined the company I woke up as a dancer - it’s not only a change in body, it’s a change in mind.”

Evolution presents four pieces: an intimate, playful mix of Swedish and Cuban styles by hip-hop influenced Pontus Lidberg; a duet by one of the world’s most in-demand dance makers; a Spanish solo and crowdpleaser Rooster, ‘a big party to the Rolling Stones’. “The best thing about this show is you see how we evolve as dancers in every piece,” says Alejandro. “It isn’t folklore or classical - it’s the best mix of styles.”

* Acosta Danza is at the Alhambra on March 13 and 14. Call (01274) 432000.