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 Post subject: Re: Richard Alston Dance Company 2002 and 2003
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2002 6:51 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Many thanks Emily for this posting. We can all be guilty of prejudices and it is good to have them shattered. I remember my Mother asking me to take her to an evening of Russian folk dance and I went not expecting too much. In the event it was one of the better dance nights of that year.

Do tell uas about other performances or masterclass events that you see.


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 Post subject: Re: Richard Alston Dance Company 2002 and 2003
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2002 7:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2002 11:01 pm
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Location: England
This is totally off topic in that it is not about Alston, but it is once again about me having my prejudices shattered!!! Seems to happen a lot!! Anyway, during the summer I attended a Musical Theatre course at Mountview, a drama school in London. As part of the course we had a masterclass session, and it was with one of the cast members of Bombay Dreams. I was very scathing of Bombay Dreams, as were we all, as all I had seen/heard of it was Shakalaka Baby, which is not really the sort of song which would attract me to a show. Anyway, we weren't really looking forward to this masterclass but we had to do it, and in the end we really enjoyed it, it was just so mcuh fun. We had a short technique class and then learnt one of the dances in the show. By the end of it everyones opinions had done a 180, and we all wanted to go and see the show!!! I never got to see the show, and I am afraid that I have once more become slightly scathing of it, as I have read more reviews and heard more peoples opinions, although I haven't forgotten how much fun that masterclass was. And this post has made me think about how bad it is of me to be this prejudiced, and has made me think maybe I should make the effort and go to see it!! And another thing I have ben even worse about it the new musical of Romeo and Juliet, it has just recieved such bad reviews it is hard to take it seriosuly, and I do want to go to see that but I wanted to go for a laugh, not becuase I was expecting quality musical theatre. So thankyou for making me think, I need to do it more often!!! ;)

If this is too off topic then please delete or edit it as appropriate

<small>[ 11-30-2002, 20:44: Message edited by: Emily1986 ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Richard Alston Dance Company 2002 and 2003
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2002 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 158
Alston shows all the right moves
By THOM DIBDIN for The Scotsman **** (out of 5)

THE Richard Alston Dance Company returned to the Festival Theatre last night with a programme that charmed and delighted, but didn’t ever set the stage alight.

Of the three dances on offer, the opener, Stampede, was the most visually exciting. Using a soundtrack of mediaeval Italian dances, played as they would have been in the 14th century, Alston takes formal, courtly moves and plays with them until they become long and graceful phrases of dance.

The ten-strong company seemed to wind in and around the music, keeping pace with it as it changed gears and accelerated into surprisingly spirited and syncopated tunes and rhythms.

Even though Alston spent 12 years with the precise Rambert Dance Company, the choreography here is much more loose. It allows individual dancers a spontaneity within its moves. Instead of inch-perfect unison work, each dancer brings their own character to the whole piece.

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 Post subject: Re: Richard Alston Dance Company 2002 and 2003
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2003 4:18 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in The Sunday Herald.

Quote:
Alston, the elder statesman of British contemporary dance, is about as close to classicism as it's possible to get with modern dance -- all clean, straight lines, elegant composition and ardent musicality. This works both for and against him, as witnessed in this triple-bill where two of the three pieces border on dull.

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 Post subject: Re: Richard Alston Dance Company 2002 and 2003
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 8:03 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 107
Location: London, England
Richard Alston Dance Company
Gardner Arts Centre, Brighton
18/03/03

Stampede - Slow Airs,Almost All - Rumours, Visions

I don’t think it’s intentional, but in Richard Alston’s duets, the dancing couples often seem to make the shape of a swooping bird with outstretched wings. Just have a look at the publicity photos. Alston isn’t one for rudimentary symbolism, but it’s a fitting image nonetheless. The choreography does express a kind of soaring freedom; the dancers’ thrown-open lines and easy leaps are each like taking a deep, life affirming breath.

No more so than in ‘Stampede’, set to a set of Moorish-influenced medieval Italian dances. Dancing through duets and ensemble sections, the company move with great ease. These are the movements a dancer’s body falls into naturally, there’s no constriction or confinement. They are swept along by the momentum of the music in one rolling motion. The steps and shapes are familiar but the choreographer continually comes up with new combinations and unexpected ways of seamlessly turning one movement into another.

In ‘Stampede’ the dancers’ peasant-style costumes nod to the origins of the music, keeping a folk feel to the proceedings. In ‘Slow Airs, Almost All’ (to Mozart’s arrangements of Bach fugues for string trio) we are clearly contemporary, in modern dress and a more conversational dance style, in keeping with the dialogue of the three string instruments onstage. The momentum persists, despite the slower tempo, each dancer in an ongoing unfurling of steps. It’s when the pulse accelerates however that our hearts race too, turning pleasant diversion into energetic excitement. And it’s in the quick counterpoint section that the dancers prove their unflappable musicality. It may feel like joyful abandon but each gesture is completely controlled.

Alston’s is a chameleon-like language – it changes colour depending on the musical context. The programme closes with ‘Rumours, Visions’, an interpretation of Benjamin Britten’s sublime ‘Les Illuminations’ (which was in turn based on the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud). Alston is rarely concerned with character, but here are the workings of Rimbaud’s mind laid bare, here is real drama. The movements are recognisably Alston’s but they embody totally different meanings, infused with the torment and painful beauty of Britten’s music (particularly the soul-stirring tenor voice).

The precocious young poet Rimbaud had a short and turbulent life, tormented by wild visions and strange dreams and obsessively in love with the older poet Paul Verlaine. Alston brings out the poet’s inner demons, personifying his skittering, racing thoughts, spinning around the stage. This piece has the most contrasting dynamics between intense confusions and the sparse more thoughtful sections, like the moving duet between Rimbaud and his lover, incidentally, so much more tender than any male/female duet we’ve seen.

Martin Lawrence, Alston’s star dancer, reprises his role as the poet and throughout the programme brings more weight to his performance than usual, something we’ve been willing for a while. The company are as assured and enchanting as ever – though not always completely in unison – and will no doubt continue their high flying.


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 Post subject: Re: Richard Alston Dance Company 2002 and 2003
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2003 11:50 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<img src="http://www.dancing-times.co.uk/Pics/dancingtimes/200306/front.jpg" alt="" />

Tour de Cyprus
By Lydia Polzer for The Dancing Times

Richard Alston Dance Company’s last stop on their tour this season was a lovely island in the Mediterranean. The British Council Cyprus invited the company to the 6th European Dance Festival, which is only one of many efforts as of late to further dance in Greek Cyprus, which next year will be part of the EU, and the local dance community has potential for a bright future.

Maybe Christopher Columbus felt a bit like this when he got to the shores of a continent he couldn’t have been sure existed, and found a whole new world complete with human civilisation. With no prior knowledge of the Cyprus dance community, every day spent on the island revealed a new aspect of and growing enthusiasm for a whole new dance world complete with RAD exams.

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 Post subject: Re: Richard Alston Dance Company 2002 and 2003
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2003 4:20 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
A choreographer set to go into Overdrive
By Janet Christie for The Scotland on Sunday

WHISKY, hip-hop and Cilla Black are not subjects you expect to be close to the heart of Richard Alston, one of Britain’s foremost choreographers, whose trademark is setting contemporary dance to classical music.

The 55-year-old is sometimes regarded as an aesthete whose eponymous dance company, which is in Edinburgh this week, excels at precise, emotionally restrained, lyrical movement. But there’s more to him than meets the eye.

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 Post subject: Re: Richard Alston Dance Company 2002 and 2003
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2003 7:19 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review from the Herald.

Quote:
Musicality is the watchword, the key to everything Richard Alston's company does, even when, as in this programme, the dancers are following another choreographer's steps and intentions.
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And The Scotsman

Quote:
DANCE fans received a real treat at the Festival Theatre last night, as Richard Alston’s Dance Company finished its autumn tour in impressive style.

This was an evening of fluid forms and gracious moves which drew its ideas from both the courtly dances of the 18th century and contemporary styles. Rather than being an overblown banquet of ballet, it was a dinner prepared with finesse by a Michelin starred chef.
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<small>[ 03 December 2003, 08:22 AM: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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