Norwich dance audiences have a last chance to see the renowned Richard Alston Dance Company present two evenings of its unique and distinct contemporary dance as it takes a last bow following its UK tour in the New Year.

Performing on the Norwich Theatre Royal stage for the last time on February 7 & 8, the company which first visited the city in March 1999, will close in April with a tour titled Alston Final Edition.

Over the past 50 years, Sir Richard Alston has played a major role in the world of contemporary dance, shaping the art form in the UK. He has put together a celebration of his company’s creativity, presenting a richly diverse mix of dance and music with some brand-new dances along with key works revived from the company’s history. 

Red Run Elly Braund. Photo Chris Nash

In Norwich, the company will be dancing Red Run , A Far Cry, Mazur, Shine On  and Voices and Light Footsteps.

Richard said: “This tour is the last for my Dance Company and it’s a chance for me to say a huge thank you to the marvellously loyal audiences who have come to see us year after year. We are so so lucky to have had such terrific support and I personally cannot thank you enough.”  

Voices and Light Footsteps is one of Alston’s new creations for the company. The dance was inspired by the sensuously expressive vocal madrigals and instrumental sinfonias of Claudio Monteverdi, a genius of the Italian Baroque.

A Far Cry is associate choreographer Martin Lawrance’s newest creation, set to Edward Elgar’s impassioned Introduction and Allegro, with costumes by Jeffrey Rogador and lighting by Zeynep Kepekli. 

Mazur is a duet for two friends to the music of Chopin. The composer’s Mazurkas are an intense outpouring of longing for his beloved homeland. Created in 2014 for two former company dancers, Mazur was specially revived for the current cast.

Red Run from 1998 is a signature Alston classic set to a brooding atmospheric score by Heiner Goebbels. It holds the RADC record of over 90 performances all over the world.

Finally, Shine On is the last work Richard Alston has created for his company of 25 years. Danced to Benjamin Britten’s 1937 song cycle On This Island, and set to five poems by WH Auden, it will be performed live by soprano Katherine McIndoe and pianist Jason Ridgway. Shine On was co-commissioned by DanceEast and Snape Maltings, supported by the Tezmae Charitable Trust. It enjoyed  its world premiere at Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, in November.

The Final Edition tour covers nine venues across the UK as well as a visit to the Dampfzentrale Bern in Switzerland, followed by an At Home Season at the company’s London base The Place. 

Richard Alston studied fine art and theatre design at Croydon College of Art in 1965, before becoming one of the very first students at the newly established London Contemporary Dance School in 1968. He went to New York in 1975 to study with Merce Cunningham at the Cunningham Studios, during this time he met composer John Cage.

Richard was Artistic Director of Ballet Rambert from 1986-1992 and Artistic Director of The Place 1994-2018. The Richard Alston Dance Company was launched in November 1994 at The Place.

Richard Alston was awarded a knighthood for services to dance in 2018. Richard Alston’s last work for his company, Shine On, has been co-commissioned by DanceEast and Snape Maltings and generously supported by the Tezmae Charitable Trust

Richard Alston Dance Company launched in November 1994 to great acclaim, Richard Alston Dance Company is one of the UK’s leading choreographer-led companies, for which its founder Artistic Director Richard Alston has created over 45 dance-works. Richard Alston is also Artistic Director of The Place, London’s leading centre for contemporary dance, where the company is based.  Richard Alston Dance Company focuses on Alston’s new choreography but combines this with the re-creation of seminal past works from Alston’s career. Music plays a vital part in the company’s identity and since its inception Alston has made work to the music of a diverse range of composers. www.richardalstondance.com

The Place is a creative powerhouse for dance development that is leading the way in dance training, creation and performance. It is the home for new dance. Artists from all over the world come to push creative boundaries, to experiment and to perform outstanding new work for audiences who expect to be surprised, inspired and delighted. The Place is home to London Contemporary Dance School, Richard Alston Dance Company, a 280 seat theatre, an extensive range of classes, courses and participatory opportunities for adults and young people and professional development programmes for artists. www.theplace.org.uk 

Read previous Norwich Eye reviews of Richard Alston dance here: http://norwicheye.co.uk/whats-on/norwich-eye-reviews-richard-alston-dance/ and http://norwicheye.co.uk/whats-on/an-italian-in-madrid-tangent-and-chacony-richard-alston-dance-reviewed/

Listing:
Richard Alston Dance: Alston Final Edition, Friday 7 & Saturday 8 February, 2020, 7.30pm. Tickets £10-£23.50. Discounts for Friends, Under 25s and Groups. For more info or to BOOK ONLINE www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk