Carlos Acosta's path to becoming a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet has undoubtedly been an unconventional one. Growing up in poverty on the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, his great grandfather was a slave and he is the 11th child of a truck driver. Sitting down opposite Sir Michael Parkinson, he confesses that he found ballet boring at first, preferring the more popular sports of football and baseball.
But after trying his hand at breakdancing, his father sent him to ballet school, hoping it would prevent him from a life of petty crime. He explains that it is because of this tough childhood that he has never taken his fame and success for granted.
By the age of 16, Acosta had taken the bold step of furthering his ballet career abroad and in 1990 he won the coveted Prix de Lausanne in Italy, already developing the intricacies of a great performance. "The thing about dance and ballet," he says, "it is an art that is all about storytelling... It's not just about the jumping and the leaping."