Ballet star Carlos Acosta has claimed the dance world may miss out on the next Rudolf Nureyev because of the cost of training.
Speaking at a panel discussion at Sadler’s Wells, Acosta said some dancers as talented as the acclaimed Russian performer would not be able to afford instruction, and added that dance education “should not have a cost or price”.
He said: “I think the government should do more to get free access to this. In London you might have more [access], but in the provinces you might not have this access in the first place.
“When you put a price on [access], then you divide into two camps those who can and those who cannot. In the camp of those who cannot I bet there is a lot of talent there, a lot of Nureyev… and we are missing out. And this is the thing. This is the problem.”
He went on to say that while diversity in dance is increasing, there are still not enough black dancers in lead roles like the princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.
“We all complain sometimes, ‘When is there going to be the next black Aurora?’, he said, “but there is not a lot of diversity right now.
“You see the landscape on stage changing, and I think this is very positive. But we still miss out on the black Aurora. And I think it all comes down to this free access for everybody.”
He continued: “I think we should demand at the highest level that these things should happen. It is a fight to take to the government.
“The more sources we have, the more material, the more bodies, the more talent we have…it will benefit the work.”
Acosta’s comments came in the same week Dance UK presented a manifesto to politicians, aiming to ensure dance plays a greater role in young people’s education.