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 Post subject: Richard Alston Dance Company 2005-6
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:18 am 
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Fever/Such Longing/Volumina
By Thom Dibden for The Stage

There is a mesmerising quality to Fever, the opening ballet of Richard Alston’s autumn tour. Monteverdi’s madrigals are not so much feverish as lulling and Alston’s languid sense of movement does nothing to moderate the mood. Nor, indeed, does Elizabeth Baker’s sensual, satin costumes, which, under Charles Balfour’s autumnal lighting scheme, add to the sense of swirling leaves and a delicate meditation.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 11:04 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
The Richard Alston Dance Company debuts in Seattle as part of the University of Washington World Dance series at Meany Hall, January 19-21, 2005. The program is "Fever," "Shimmer" and "Gypsy Mixture." There will be pre-performance discussions beginning at 7:15 p.m. Performances begin at 8:00 p.m.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:58 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Seattle press reviews of the Thursday, January 19, 2006 performance at Meany Hall.

Alice Kaderlan in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (scroll down past the Seattle Symphony Mozart review):

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Brangien Davis in the Seattle Times:

Seattle Times


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:36 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
Compositionally Challenged
Richard Alston Dance Company
University of Washington World Series
Meany Hall Theatre, UW Campus
Seattle, Washington
Friday, 20 January 2006

by Dean Speer

I had heard of the Richard Alston Dance Company solely by its good reputation but had never seen them myself, and so was particularly looking forward to their debut visit to the Northwest.

The good news is that it’s clear the eponymous dancemaker is serious about his craft. The company is made up of beautiful dancers and it was refreshing to be able to enjoy classic modern/contemporary dance.

The bad news is that, like so many choreographers, Mr. Alston needs to further study, employ and deploy classic compositional tools of the trade. My main compositional complaint would be that he employs unison too much of the time. When he does use the entire ensemble of dancers, it’s almost without exception having them move as a unit, doing the same thing, same side, same timing, same emphasis, same speed, same level, same...well, you get it. Unison should be used sparingly and only for a concluding effect.

My other complaint would be dynamics. His pacing is all too even. His choreographic mentor is reported to be Merce Cunningham -- Cunningham’s work is all about dynamics, while Alston seems to have missed this lesson. Part of the reason the first two pieces felt too similar to each other is pacing: both moved at the same pace – movement phrases at approximately the same rate of speed. This had the effect of dulling our otherwise eager eyes. I’d have to see them again, but I’m pretty sure that if I were to aurally cut out the music, we’d be seeing Alston having his dancers move in square phrases of four – and all seemed so evenly measured. He needs to break up his phrases and the way in which these are developed and to contrast or “go against” the music sometimes – to add “tension” to his visuals.

Another challenge – to the audience – was with programing. The first two pieces – “Fever” and “Shimmer” – were too similar in palette and look to really show off and contrast against each other. It would have been better to have had the closer, “Gypsy Mixture,” in the middle. “Shimmer” did have live music – a pianist – for its Ravel score of solo piano works. Hooray!

One of the principal reasons “Gypsy Mixture” came across as so much more kinetic and lively was not just the music but that Mr. Alston was inspired to have his dancers move in more rhythmically interesting ways with more contrasts. The music itself probably provided the goal posts for him to follow.

The other good news is that he’s an inventive choreographer who comes up with interesting phrases and motifs. I would also encourage him to get over his Merce Cunningham background/influence and really to try to find his own voice. While he did have many things that appeared original, there were times I felt like I was watching a moving copy of a copy of an image. This was also reflected in how the dancers moved. Cunningham dancers but with an English accent.

A company of lovely dancers with choreography whose total does not equal of sum of its parts.

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Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:36 pm 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
British Eden
Pack the word postmodern away temporarily and relish harmony
by DEBORAH JOWITT for the Village Voice

In print, the British choreographer graciously acknowledges his main influences: Frederick Ashton and Merce Cunningham. He is not, however, much like either of them in terms of style. Like Cunningham, he shuns narrative and keeps his dancers barefoot. In the fluid reach and sweep of his phrases, he is, like Ashton, romantic.

published: February 16, 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:37 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
The Music That Makes Them Dance Is Monteverdi
by JENNIFER DUNNING for the New York Times

Richard Alston is a man with a mission. That mission, to judge by the Richard Alston Dance Company's performance on Tuesday night at the Joyce Theater, is to continue quietly exploring what interests him about dance. Music is one interest, and if his "Fever" looked and sounded a mite lugubrious for the program opener it was, well, that was just too bad. After all, "Gypsy Mixture" was still to come, with its wonderful clackety anarchic score. And in between, Mr. Alston's intimate "Such Longing" would give his dancers a chance to show off their expert dancing and individual presences.

published: February 16, 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:14 am 
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Quote:
Richard Alston Dance Company
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

Richard Alston is not a fashionable choreographer, he doesn't grapple with any hot issues beyond the constantly evolving challenge of fitting together music and dance. Yet in a programme of new work that encompasses the eerie, thunderous drama of Gyorgy Ligeti's Volumina at one extreme, and Scott Joplin's piano rags at the other, Alston proves that the mainstream is a pretty interesting place to be

published: March 30, 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 4:13 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Fleeting moments of emotion
by SARAH CROMPTON for the Daily Telegraph

His dancers follow the Spanish-flavoured strains of Marin Marais's Suite d'un goût étranger, their movements adhering to the music with extreme accuracy so that they seem to become the physical embodiment of the sound. There's a repeated motif where a raised arm twists through the air, like a string emitting a note.

What's impressive is the variety Lawrance packs into this slight frame. The work opens with a writhing, weight-shifting solo for the magnificent Jonathan Goddard and closes with Francesca Romo - glorious in each of the evening's pieces - alone on the stage.

published: March 31, 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:30 am 
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Quote:
Richard Alston Dance, Sadler’s Wells, London
by CLEMENT CRISP for the Financial Times

Volumina is not an “easy” piece but it is strong and uncompromising, and highly watchable. Alston’s newest piece, The Devil in the Detail, was having its first performance, and is a lollipop.

published: March 30, 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 7:34 am 
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Quote:
Richard Alston
by DONALD HUTERA for the Times

György Ligeti’s organ-based score (actually three pieces) is an aural onslaught, its echoing roars and intensifying note-clusters suggesting a blast into outer space. The seven dancers tear up the empty stage, bare limbs slicing the air in Peter Todd’s strange, slightly fuzzy two-toned costumes. Their cold, controlled fury is undercut by Charles Balfour’s moody lighting that mixes lunar white with washes of blue-green.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 9:46 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
From ragtime to riches
A magical Peter and the Wolf can’t rival Richard Alston’s delicious Devil.
by DAVID DOUGILL for the Sunday Times

Lawrance, Alston’s senior dancer, premiered his own first commission for the company, About-Face, to baroque music for bass viol by Marin Marais. ... This is confident choreography, though I could have done with less of the casual walking on and off in the irritating manner of William Forsythe.

published: April 9, 2006
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