Acosta Advanced Training Hub

The only FREE pre-professional programme in the UK

The Acosta Advanced Training Hub (AATH) 2024-2025 edition is a prestigious year-long ballet and contemporary dance pre-professional programme meticulously crafted to bridge the gap between training and a professional dance career. Tailored for up to ten (10) exceptional pre-professional dancers/students, AATH provides an unparalleled opportunity to enhance their dance network, refine technical skills, seize performance opportunities, and prepare for auditions with unwavering dedication.

Our aim at the AATH is to elevate aspiring dancers to new heights by providing them with a fully immersive development opportunity. We’re proud to announce that we’ve adopted the renowned methods and curriculum from the Acosta Danza Academy in Havana, Cuba, spearheaded by the legendary Carlos Acosta.


Applications for the AATH Sept 24 – Jul 25 are now CLOSED

Course Length

AATH 2nd Edition will run from  September 2024 to July 2025


Course Fees

Suggested Donation/Application Fee £25

While we have an application fee of £25 to cover administrative costs, we also invite students who are accepted into the programme to support our charitable mission with an additional voluntary donation of £245 for us to continue our work of creating a dancer in every home.


March 2025 date TBC

A Solid Cuban Curriculum

Carlos Acosta’s curriculum is the central pillar of our training hub, offering a unique and unparalleled approach to dance training. Through a combination of Cuban dance and ballet culture, our programme focuses on developing strong technique, versatility, and performance skills.

As a Cuban-born dancer, Carlos Acosta brings a unique blend of Cuban dance and ballet culture to the Acosta Advanced Training Hub curriculum. Our comprehensive training program encompasses contemporary classes, ballet techniques, Cuban folklore, supplementary pointe work sessions, coaching, conditioning, pas de deux (PDD) classes, mentoring, and repertoire from Acosta Danza and other esteemed guest choreographers. This multifaceted approach aims to cultivate students’ technical prowess, artistic expression, versatility and create a pathway for future job opportunities.

Our Purpose

Our mission is to empower the community through dance, fostering a vibrant dance sector that thrives alongside the ever-changing global dance landscape. We aim to ignite a deep passion for the transformative power of dance, inspiring individuals to embrace its potential and actively participate in its growth.

Why choose AATH?

Our pre-professional programme offers a comprehensive curriculum that encompasses four essential pillars: Performance, Audition Preparation, Mentoring & Apprenticeship, and the fourth pillar is personalized workshops conducted by renowned choreographers, providing unique insights into their artistic work and creating a vital all-important network for their professional careers.

These pillars are enriched by collaborations with renowned choreographers and guest teachers currently active in the industry, establishing a dynamic network that nurtures the growth and future professional careers of aspiring dancers.

Entry into the Acosta Advanced Training Hub is through an application and workshop-based audition process; please only apply if you will be 18 years of age at the start of the course. The programme is FREE of charge (T&C apply) and is part of the Foundation’s cause of creating a dancer in every home. The course aims to provide experience and insight into dance training at a vocational level and support students interested in focusing equally on ballet and contemporary techniques. Dancers will be taught by experienced teachers and dance artists from the Acosta team and working, teaching and performing in the UK.


Ludovic Ondiviela

AATH+18 Artistic Lead

Bio coming soon

Yaday Ponce

Cuban curriculum & Teacher

Yaday Ponce, a talented dancer and teacher, embarked on her dance journey at the Vocational Art School ``Alfonso Perez Isaac`` in Matanzas, her hometown, in 1990. There, she honed her skills in classial ballet and contemporary dance. After three years of study at the National School of Dance in Havana, she graduated in 1998 as a dancer and teacher, specializing in Modern and Folkloric Dance. She joined the esteemed cast of Contemporary Dance of Cuba, led by maestro Miguel Iglesias, where she excelled as a first dancer and also worked as a Maitre.

Between 2009 and 2014, Yaday pursued her studies at the University of Arts (ISA), earning a degree in dance with a focus on Contemporary Dance. Throughout her career, she has received training in classical and modern techniques from renowned masters such as Isidro Rolando, Manolo Vazquez, MatsEk, Ana Laguna, Keneth Kvamström, Juan Kruz, Itzik Galili, and Pedro Ruiz.

Yaday Ponce's talent has been showcased in various festivals worldwide, including Movements and Festwochen der Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany; Festival of New Dance, Balance, Italy; Festival Szeged, Hungary; the II Dance Biennial of Venice; the Dance Biennial in Martinique; and the International Ballet Festival of Havana. She has graced prominent stages such as Sadler's Wells in Great Britain, La Fenice in Italy, and the National Auditorium in Mexico. Yaday has shared the stage with esteemed figures in the international dance scene, including Carlos Acosta, Hernan Cornejo, Rasta Thomas, and Jose Manuel Carreno. Her talents have also extended to the realm of film, television, and advertisements.

In addition to her performing career, Yaday has devoted herself to teaching. She has conducted classes and workshops on Modern Technique and provided artistic guidance to various groups and institutions, including the National Dance Company of Venezuela, University of The Arts Tish School in the United States, and Group Piel Canela in Cuba. She has also participated in methodological meetings in Cuban art schools and served as a jury member in examinations and evaluations across the country.

Yaday Ponce has received numerous awards and recognitions both individually and as part of the Contemporary Dance of Cuba. Some of her accolades include the Ramiro Guerra Award for feminine interpretation from the Hermanos Saiz Association, Recognition for her invaluable contribution to Contemporary Dance of Cuba, Recognition from the Hermanos Saiz Association, Moon Award for the staging of Carmina Burana in Mexico, and the Lukas Prize for best production on UK stages at the Latin UK Awards.

Since 2016, Yaday has been working as Artistic Director & teacher of Modern Dance and Maitre in the renowned Acosta Dance Company under the direction of Carlos Acosta. Her professional repertoire boasts an impressive collection of choreographies, including Genesis for a carnival by Narciso Medina, Yerma by Roberto Blanco, Folía and Compass by Jan Linkens, Crystal Cave by Lidice Nunez, and Tocororo, Cuban fable by Carlos Acosta, among others. She has performed on stages across England, Portugal, Austria, Venezuela, Spain, the United States, Italy, and China, captivating audiences with her exceptional talent and artistry.

Javier Torres

Managing & Creative Director

Javier Torres, hailing from Cuba, is widely recognized as one of the finest Cuban dancers of his generation. With a deep passion for dance and a keen understanding of its business aspects, Javier has stablished himself as an exceptional artist. Over his two-decade-long career, he has demonstrated his expertise in the performing arts industry, evolving from an acclaimed professional dancer to an executive cultural manager.

Javier possesses a wealth of skills and knowledge in research, dance education, dance leadership, communication, and business strategy. He currently serves as Vice-Chair with Serendipity-UK and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Additionally, he is a member of the International Dance Council (CID-UNESCO). These roles reflect his commitment to furthering dance and cultural initiatives on a global scale.

Academically, Javier holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Business Management and Leadership Practices from The Open University in the UK. He has also earned a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Cumbria, further enhancing his ability to navigate the complexities of the dance industry. His adaptive nature and professional competence make him well-suited to excel in the demanding world of dance.

Javier's education in dance began at the Elementary Ballet School ``Alejo Carpentier`` in Havana, Cuba. He then continued his training at the National Ballet School Fernando Alonso, where he graduated with honors as a ballet dancer and ballet teacher. This solid foundation laid the groundwork for his subsequent achievements.

In terms of administrative and executive experiences, Javier has held several noteworthy positions. He currently serves as the Managing Director of the Acosta Dance Foundation and Acosta Dance Centre in the UK. Prior to this, he was the Executive Director of OG ART & PRODUCTIONS and the Executive Director of Dance Open America, an international dance competition. Additionally, he has worked in artists representation with We Dance Agency and as a Business Operations Manager with the Sansha Group across multiple countries.

Javier's career as a dancer began in 2000 when he joined the Ballet Nacional de Cuba under the artistic-technical guidance of Alicia Alonso. Throughout his tenure, he had the privilege of working closely with esteemed ballet coaches and mentors. He was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2004 and eventually became a Premier Dancer in 2009. Javier's performances with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba have taken him to numerous countries across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He has also graced the stage as a Guest Star in international galas and festivals, showcasing his talent and artistry.

In 2010, Javier joined the Northern Ballet under the artistic guidance of David Nixon OBE. As a Premier Dancer, he has played leading roles in various productions, including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Ondine, Beauty & the Beast, Hamlet, Madame Butterfly, Wuthering Heights, Peter Pan, Cleopatra, and more. His repertoire extends to classical, contemporary, and neoclassical works, demonstrating his versatility and technical prowess.

Throughout his career, Javier has garnered numerous awards, honors, and citations. He has received mentions in the Honour Book of the Havana Grand Theatre for his exceptional performances. He was also recognized with the Cuban Artists and Writers Union Villanueva Prize and received the ``Constructores de la Danza`` award for his contributions to the culture of Ceara in Brazil. In the UK, he has been nominated for prestigious awards such as the Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer and the One Dance UK Dance Personality of the Year. Notably, he has won the One Dance UK People's Choice Awards multiple times, solidifying his standing as a beloved and celebrated dancer.

Javier Torres is a proud member of One Dance UK, the International Dance Council CID,

Miguel Altunaga

Guest Teacher/Choreographer

Miguel Altunaga trained at the National School of Art, which led to 6 years of performing as a principal dancer for the National Contemporary Dance Company. He joined Rambert in 2007 and has served inworks by Gary Stewart, Christopher Bruce, Itzik Galili, and many others. In 2021 he joined the Hofesh Shechter Company for the Double Murder tour. He has worked with the Akram Khan Company. As a choreographer and movement director, Miguel has created works for Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Rambert, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Simply Red, Carlos Acosta and Acosta Danza. The Royal Ballet commissioned him to create Dark Eye for the Deloitte Ignite Festival in 2014 and for Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2021. Miguel won the Cuban Best Male Solo Award in 2002, and in 2003 was chosen by Carlos Acosta to perform in Tocororo, which toured internationally from 2003 to 2007. In 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, he was nominated for Outstanding Male Performance and Best Dancer by the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards UK.... READ MORE

Estela Merlos

Contemporary teacher

Born in Barcelona, and of Spanish-Filipino heritage, Estela trained at Escola de Dansa Madó and Central School of Ballet in London. Upon graduating in 2004 she danced with Cannes Jeune Ballet RosellaHightower and IT Dansa, before joining Rambert (2008 - 2014). Throughout this time she performed repertoire by acclaimed choreographers such as Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato, Christopher Bruce, Carolyn Carlson, Itzik Galili, and contributed to the creation of new works by Alexander Ekman, Rafael Bonachela, Javier de Frutos, Marguerite Donlon, among notable others.

Since 2014 she has worked on projects across dance, film, theatre and opera, collaborating as a performer, rehearsal director and assistant choreographer with artists and organisations including Shobana Jeyasingh, Marcos Morau | La Veronal, Boris Charmatz, Didy Veldman, Russel Maliphant, Opera National du Rhin, New Movement Collective, Miguel Altunaga, Avatâra Ayuso. In April 2019 she was invited by the Merce Cunningham Trust to perform in the worldwide presentation Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event in celebration of Cunningham's 100th birthday at the Barbican Theatre.

As a choreographer she has received commissions to present her own work across a variety of theatres, public spaces and online platforms across the UK and Spain.

Estela has delivered a wide range of classes, workshops and one-to-one sessions for professionals, vocational and pre-vocational students and community members across Europe, China and South Africa. As a certified teacher of the Feldenkrais Method ®, her ongoing research is rooted in promoting awareness through movement to cultivate health and sustainable practice in the dance sector and in the wider community. Estela currently teaches at The Royal Ballet School and has been third year core contemporary tutor at English National Ballet School since 2022.

Laura Rodriguez

Guest Ballet teacher

Born in Ciego de Avila in 2002, she began her dance studies in the Art School “Luis Casas Romero” in the city of Camagüey. Five years later, she continued at the Academy of Arts “Vicentina de l Torre” in the same town. During her student years, she appeared in two editions of the International Ballet Competition for Students held in Havana, where she won the gold medal. Upon graduation, she joined the Ballet of Camagüey. In this company, she achieved the rank of Principal Dancer. Her repertoire consists of the main characters of historical ballets as Grand Pas de Quatre, Swan Lake, La fille mal gardée, Paquita, the pas de trois of The Fairy Dolls, Don Quixote, the second act of the ballet Giselleand The Dying Swan of Michel Fokine. She has danced in Cuban choreographer ballets like Vivaldi by Jose Antonio Chavez, Majísimo by Jorge Garcia, Avalanche by Osvaldo Beiro, Forms for concern by Menia Martinez and Nisi Dominus by Jorge Lefebre, including more contemporary works such as the Pilgrims duet by Gonzalo Galguera.

In 2015 she became part of Acosta Danza. She danced Carlos’ Tocororo Suite and Carmen. With Carlos as a partner, Laura also premiered in Cuba the female lead role of Don Quixote (scenes) in the Acosta version. She has also danced Mil años después, choreography by Saburo Teshigawara; Belles Lettres by Justin Peck; Rooster by Christopher Bruce; Paysage soudain, La nuit, by Pontus Lidberg; Imponderable and Alrededor no hay nada, by Goyo Montero; Mundo interpretado, by Juliano Nunes; Soledad, by Rafael Bonachela; Babbel 2.0, by María Rovira; Soledad, by Rafael Bonachela; Portal, by Juanjo Arqués; Avium, by Ely Regina Hernández; Anadromous and Satori, by Raúl Reinoso; Twelve, by Jorge Crecis; Rodríguez participated in Carlos Acosta’s show “A Classical Farawell” in United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Hong Kong, performing the pas de deux Diana and Acteón and the ballet Majísimo with Carlos Acosta; as well as the love duet between Carmen and Escamillo in Carlos Acosta´s version of Carmen. As a member of Acosta Danza, she participated in the film Yuli, a film about the life of Carlos Acosta, directed by Icíar Bollaín. In 2021, Laura accompanied Carlos Acosta in the show On Before in the United Kingdom. She is a ballet pedagogue and teacher and dancer with Acosta Danza.

Luanda Pau

Guest Teacher

Meet your teacher Luanda Pau: From Cuba, Luanda comes from a legendary dance family in Havana. Her mum Rosa Baquero was the artistic director and choreographer of the famous Cabaret “Parisien & ropicana de Cuba“, and her dad is the legendary Afro-Cuban dance Maestro Domingo Pau.

Before starting her dance career, Luanda was in athletics. In 1991 she began her studies at the National School of Arts, where she remained untl 1994. Later she entered the renowned National Folkloric Ballet of Cuba (NFBC), where she danced as a soloist and principal dancer. She is a master in the role of Oya and Yemayá. She was also a solo dancer in the cabaret show at the Casino de Montecarlo in Monaco.

She graduated with a bachelor’s in cultural activities and sports & education and has an extensive history working with children and adults as an independent dance teacher.

Start an Application

Acosta Advanced Training Hub (AATH) 2024-2025
Thank you for your interest in the Carlos Acosta Advanced Training Hub+18. We appreciate your dedication to the art form and wish you the best of luck with your application. For any inquiries or further assistance, please contact the Acosta Dance Foundation at [email protected]
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We appreciate your interest in applying to the Acosta Advanced Training Hub (AATH). This form section provides you with an opportunity to share your motivations, professional experiences (if any), and career goals that have led you to pursue this unique training and performance programme. Please upload a written statement (250) words max explaining why you are applying to the AATH. Consider the following points to guide your response: Motivation Experiences Career Goals Please ensure that your statement is concise, and clear, and reflects your genuine passion for dance and commitment to furthering your artistic development. File Types: DOC and PDF.
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I agree to the Acosta Advanced Training Hub Application/Audition fee and Terms & Conditions
Terms and Conditions for the Acosta Advanced Training Hub (AATH) Eligibility: a. The Acosta Advanced Training Hub is open to dancers aged 16+ who have successfully partly or fully completed their vocational training. a.aa The programme will run from September 2024 until July 2025. b. Applicants must demonstrate a strong passion for ballet and contemporary dance and show potential for a professional dance career. Application Process: a. Entry into the AATH is subject to an application and workshop-based audition process. b. All applications must be submitted within the specified deadline. c. The Acosta Dance Foundation reserves the right to accept or reject any application at its discretion without providing a reason. Programme Structure: a. The AATH consists of two distinct programmes: Audition Preparation and Performance. Curriculum and Training: a. The AATH curriculum is meticulously designed, drawing inspiration from Carlos Acosta's Cuban dance and ballet culture. b. Students will receive comprehensive training in classical and contemporary techniques, including ballet, Cuban folklore, pointe work, coaching, conditioning, improvisation, and repertoire from Acosta Danza. c. The programme aims to enhance students' technical abilities, artistic expression, and versatility in dance. Venue and Facilities: a. The AATH will be conducted at the Acosta Dance Centre, located in Woolwich Works, Royal Arsenal, London. b. The Centre boasts state-of-the-art dance studios, providing an ideal learning environment for participants. Fees and Expenses: a. The Acosta Advanced Training Hub is a tuition-free programme offered by the Acosta Dance Foundation. While we have an application and audition fee of £25 to cover administrative costs, we also invite you to support our charitable mission with an additional voluntary donation of £245 in order for us to be able to keep our work of creating a dancer in every home. b. Participants are solely responsible for their own accommodation, travel, and personal expenses. Commitment and Attendance: a. Students accepted into the AATH are expecteto commit to the duration of the programme fullyme. b. Regular attendance and active participation in all classes, workshops, and performances are mandatory. Code of Conduct: a. Students are required to adhere to a professional code of conduct, including punctuality, respect for instructors and fellow participants, and the cultivation of a positive and supportive learning environment. Media Release: a. The Acosta Dance Foundation reserves the right to use photographs, videos, and other media materials captured during the AATH for promotional and educational purposes. Changes and Cancellations: a. The Acosta Dance Foundation reserves the right to make changes to the programme schedule, curriculum, or teaching staff if necessary. b. In the event of unforeseen circumstances or insufficient enrollment, the Foundation reserves the right to cancel or postpone the AATH, with appropriate notification provided to participants.

Consider supporting the AATH

If you share our passion for nurturing the next generation of dancers, we wholeheartedly welcome you to be a part of our mission to create a dancer in every home. By supporting the Acosta Advanced Training Hub programme, you can make a significant difference in the development of future dancers.

One way to support us is by giving a student the opportunity to thrive. Your contribution will directly contribute to the success of this program, which incurs an approximate cost of £66,750 per year for the Acosta Dance Foundation (ADF). By investing in a student’s training, you will play a crucial role in shaping their future and empowering them to reach their full potential.


Who is eligible for the AATH course? + -

Any vocationally trained aspiring dancer aged 16 at the start of the course.

Will the AATH guarantee me a job? + -

The Acosta Advanced Training Hub is a platform designed to offer high-quality training and pre-professional development opportunities in the field of dance. It provides an enriching and challenging environment for participants to enhance their skills and knowledge. However, it’s important to note that participation in the Acosta Advanced Training Hub does not guarantee or imply job placement. The program’s focus is on education and development, and any future professional opportunities will be based on individual merit and performance.

What do I need to prepare for the auditions if I am shortlisted? + -

Nothing at all – just bring the best version of you on the day and try not to be too nervous.

How do I apply? + -

Please go to our website form above on this page.

How much does it costs? + -

£25 Donation/Application Fee

While we have an application fee of £25 to cover administrative costs, we also invite students who are accepted into the programme to support our charitable mission with an additional voluntary donation of £245 for us to continue our work of creating a dancer in every home.

What will I study? + -

The AATH program covers a comprehensive range of aspects necessary for a professional career in both classical and contemporary dance. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in ballet classes, contemporary dance training, partnering work (PDD), pointework, Cuban Folklore, creative workshops, virtuosity training, audition and performance skills development, mentoring, apprenticeships, collaborations with guest choreographers, and various other valuable opportunities. We aim to provide a well-rounded training experience that equips participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to enhance their employment prospects in the dance industry.

Will I earn a certificate after completion of the AATH course? + -

We will present to you a graduation certificate stating you have completed the course.

Will I be admitted to Acosta Dance Company Acosta Danza after completion of the AATH course? + -

While this course covers various elements connected to the work of Carlos Acosta in Acosta Danza, it is crucial to emphasize that participation is contingent upon auditions and aims to offer an equitable opportunity to all applicants. We are dedicated to maintaining a transparent selection process that welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds. It is important to note that successful completion of this course does not guarantee direct entry into Acosta Danza.

Will I be sponsored for the accommodation and travel expense if I travel to UK to attend the auditions and AATH course? + -

Although the foundation has made a substantial financial commitment to cover most of the costs associated with this course, it is important to note that participants will be responsible for their accommodation, travel expenses, and daily transportation to the Acosta Dance Centre for training. We encourage prospective participants to ensure they have the necessary resources to cover these expenses before applying.

Can I attend the Audition online as I will be abroad at that time? + -

Yes. We can accept video auditions from those international participants who can’t attend in person.

When and how will I be informed if I will be selected for the AATH course after the auditions? + -
By 1st March 2024, the AATH team will send you an email notifying you of the results of your audition. We understand that waiting for the outcome can be an anxious time, but rest assured that we will work diligently to review all auditions and provide timely feedback.
Can I audition for this course if I am a professional dancer? + -
The quick answer is YES.
What's the course length and when will be the next intake? + -

For our inaugural AATH program, the course will run for six months from January to July 2024. Subsequently, the next intake will take place from September 2024 to July 2025. It’s important to note that a new application and audition process will be implemented for the 2024-2025 course. We encourage interested individuals to stay updated and look out for announcements regarding the application and audition details for the upcoming course.

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