My Splendid Isolation: Carlos Acosta – 'You'll find me gardening and dancing to Cuban funk'

The Cuban-born dancer and choreographer reveals how he is keeping boredom at bay while at home with his family

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Precious time: director of Birmingham Royal Ballet Carlos Acosta enjoys Fosse/Verdon and ‘silly moments’ with his children
Precious time: director of Birmingham Royal Ballet Carlos Acosta enjoys Fosse/Verdon and ‘silly moments’ with his children Credit: Clara Molden

What I am watching

I am watching the American miniseries Fosse/Verdon. I like the artistic and creative way it tells the story, and it gives such a fascinating insight into the complicated life of choreographer Bob Fosse and dancer Gwen Verdon. The personal circumstances that informed Fosse’s artistic decisions on both Cabaret and Chicago were so interesting, and it makes for really compelling viewing.

What I am listening to

My music tastes vary dramatically depending on my mood. I really like Billie Eilish, I find her voice very haunting, and it makes you sit down and really listen to her lyrics. I also like Leon Bridges, a cross between country and soul music that is quite rare – almost like a forgotten genre. If I want to dance around, I listen to Cimafunk, a Cuban band that’s really fun, and the guy is a showman a bit like Bruno Mars.

What I am reading

Between running two companies and home schooling my three children, I don’t get a lot of time to read these days. However, on my train journeys from home (in Somerset) to Birmingham, I’ve been reading Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography (I am Malala). Her life story is so inspiring; how she stood up for the educational rights of women, and the price she paid for that stand, which led to her becoming the youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner. I like how her father encouraged her journey. I can relate to that because I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for my own father.

The hobby I have taken up

I really enjoy the garden – now that we are at home so much it feels like a salvation. The kids can play and we can spend time as a family planting seeds and vegetables in the vegetable plot. Our current circumstances have made us realise that we never made time to stop and listen to the birds sing or notice the blossom on the trees. I encourage people to spend less time with their phones or watching the news and to spend more time in nature and with their families. It reminds you what really matters most.

What made me laugh recently

We were gathered in the living room as a family and one of my girls let out an enormous sneeze and farted at the same time. It was so loud, we all collapsed on the floor laughing. Silly moments like this are so important, and I think laughter can help us get through any adverse circumstances. To read, to listen to music, to spend time with family all helps us to reflect on how fragile life is.

As told to Mark Monahan