The story

Carlos Acosta is the ballet dancer who breaks all the rules. Perhaps the most famous dancer of his generation, his is a career that wasn't meant to be -- a tough kid from the backstreets of Havana who was forced to study ballet and became a reluctant star.

His combination of talent, dedication and charisma have made him principal guest artist with the Paris Ballet, the Russian Ballet and the Royal Ballet in London. Acosta is that rarest of things -- a ballet dancer who has pirouetted into the public consciousness.

But success has its price. His career has taken him away from his beloved Cuba and Acosta's story is one of displacement and a sense of longing for his family and homeland. "My heart is in Havana," he told CNN. "When I'm there I can get close to the life that I don't have anymore because of my career."

Acosta was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1973. The youngest of 11 children, his early passions were football and breakdancing, but in a country with a proud ballet tradition, his lorry-driver father decided that the discipline of ballet school would keep young Carlos out of trouble, hoping that dance might one day provide his son with a way out of poverty.

Watch Carlos Acosta take CNN on a tour of Havana. Read full article »

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