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Richard Alston Dance Company

'Red Run', 'Soda Lake', 'Light Flooding Into Darkened Rooms', 'Touch and Go'

by Odile GB

March 20 , 2002 -- Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Founded in 1994, the Richard Alston Dance Company, Britain's largest independent contemporary dance company, returns to London with an energetic evenig of old and new works

The programme opens with "Red Run", a powerful, atmospheric work set to a score of 9 songs by Heiner Goebbels. The dancers seem to drift through a barren and hostile landscape in changing combinations. The piece is full of sudden mood changes that are brought to full effect by Charles Balfour's skillful lightning design.

"Soda Lake", an Alston classic choreographed in 1981 and inspired by Nigel Hall's sculpture of the same title, evokes the stillness and heat of the Nevada desert. There is something incredibly intense about the lone figure of a single dancer, Martin Lawrance, moving through his territory in complete and utter silence with nothing but Hall's sculpture for company. I am not very into dance without music but in this piece the minimalistic approach grabs your attention in a puzzling way.

"Light Flooding into Darkened Rooms" could not be more different. Dealing with the tender and delicate feelings of two individuals in an intimate encounter, the work is set to 17th century lute compositions by Denis Gaultier and a contemporary composition for mandolin by Jo Kando. Played live on stage by James Woodrow, the music and the highly expressive dancing of Patricia Hines and Jason Piper melt into an impessive whole. Combined with Balfour's marvelous lightning design, which for most of the piece looks just like sun light flooding through shutters into a darkened room, the intimacy of the created situation makes you almost feel like an intruder while watching

"Touch and Go", the last offering of the evening, explores the energy and the provocative excitement of Tango. Astor Piazzella's music, arranged and adapted by accordionist Roberto Daris, serves as the powerful backdrop for Alston's latest creation. The fast paced choreography with its impressive and exciting duets shows off the company to great effect and makes you want to jump up and join in. My only regret is that I have no knowledge of traditional Tango dancing that would enable me to evaluate the work from that angle. It was extremly enjoyable and got a well deserved ovation.

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