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  1. ITV News Correspondent Elaine Willcox

Carlos Acosta wows ballet fans with his sexy Cuban beat

One of the world's most famous dancers is bringing his own Cuban beat to the boards of the North West.

After retiring from the Royal ballet, Carlos Acosta has created his own company Acosta Danza to showcase young talent.

He chose The Lowry Theatre in Salford to debut the show during his first UK tour.

He's been telling Elaine Willcox how his father had forced him in to ballet to burn off energy and get free school meals and he hated it.

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Ballet star brings new shows to Salford

International dance star Carlos Acosta is launching a brand new company, and is bringing his energetic shows to the North West.

Based in Havana, the company, called Acosta Danza, is made up of the best dancers Cuba has to offer, trained in both ballet and contemporary dance styles.

Acosta was born in Havana in 1973, the eleventh child in an impoverished family. His father Pedro Acosta, a truck driver enrolled him into dance school to instil some discipline and provide his son with a free lunch each day.

He went on to join some of the world's most prestigious ballet companies, including the National Ballet of Cuba, the Houston Ballet and the English National Ballet and the Royal Ballet.

Credit: Yuris Norido/The Lowry

The company's UK tour includes performances at the Lowry, Salford Quays with Acosta himself scheduled to make a guest appearance.

Carlos Acosta Credit: pa

Acosta Danza is produced as part of The Movement, a dance producing partnership between Birmingham Hippodrome, The Lowry and Sadler’s Wells.

Supported by Arts Council England, The Movement aims to nurture talent and bring large scale dance productions to even wider audiences.

Mersey Gateway to open with a bang

Credit: Mersey Gateway

The new Mersey Gateway bridge is set to open to traffic this weekend. The £600 million toll bridge has taken three and a half years to build.

Vehicles will finally be able to use the six-lane crossing between Runcorn and Widnes just after midnight tonight.

There'll be a firework display over the bridge this evening at 8.30pm to mark the opening.

The project covers more than 9km of road improvements across Halton, including the bridge and a series of major new junctions running through Runcorn and Widnes.

Patrick's gruelling 3 day challenge

A young man with cerebral palsy is taking on this weekend's Manchester Half Marathon. Patrick Barden, who's 24, is hoping to complete five miles today and Saturday. He expects to do the final three miles on race day crossing the finishing line with thousands of others.

Patrick Barden is looking to complete the run in 3 days Credit: xtra mile events

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