Silent No More, Richard Alston Dance Company Makes American Debut at Joyce Theater May 11–16
Triple Bill of New York Premieres, Music Ranges from Rameau to Riley to Ravel
Though the buzz has been sizzling across England, for American audiences Richard Alston Dance Company remains one of the island’s most secret treasures. Come May 11–16, however, when the London-based troupe makes its American debut at The Joyce Theater: Hold your ears, New York!
“Shimmer,” “Brisk Singing” and “Overdrive”–this triple hitter, radiant with Alston’s prodigious musical imagination, recently brought Sadler’s Wells’ audiences to their feet and British critics rushing to their dictionaries for the most ecstatic adjectives.
“Shimmer,” Alston’s latest dance, is set to a series of Ravel piano pieces that alternately harken the dazzle of sunlight and the elegiac melancholy that Alston subtly invests in his emotionally-charged choreography. Givenchy’s chief designer Julien Macdonald’s intricately bejeweled costumes throw off a glittery light imbuing the dancing with an airy poetry. The music will be played live by Jason Ridgway. The work is dedicated to the memory of Alston’s friend Bryan Robertson, the English broadcaster and arts writer.
Charged by the ever-increasing build of Terry Riley’s minimalist score (“Keyboard Study #1”), “Overdrive” speeds along with a gathering dynamic force, creating layer upon rhythmic layer of dancing. Costumes are by Jeanne Spaziani and the lighting by Charles Balfour. The work premiered in 2003.
Brimming with sensual joy, “Brisk Singing” is choreographed to selections from Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 1764 opera “Les Boreades.” Rameau was at his time considered “le dieu de la danse,” having a similar inspiration in his day as Stravinsky continues to have on contemporary choreographers. In this baroque score, Alston finds an edgy lyricism with which he endows his own glowing choreography. The dance received its first performance in 1997. The costumes are by Jeanne Spaziani and the lighting by Charles Balfour.
The evening curtain for Richard Alston Dance Company at The Joyce Theater is at 8pm, Tuesday through Saturday. There will also be a 2pm matinee Sunday afternoon. Please note: there will be no performance on Sunday evening.
Where To Go
Tickets are $38 and are available at the box office, by calling JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800 or online at www.joyce.org. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street.
Richard Alston choreographed his first work in 1968 while a student at the London School of Contemporary Dance. He went on to choreograph for London Contemporary Dance Theatre before leaving to form England’s first independent dance company, Strider, in 1972. He spent 1975–77 in New York City, studying at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio, before returning to England as an independent choreographer and teacher.
In 1980, Alston was appointed Resident Choreographer at Ballet Rambert, becoming the company’s Artistic Director from 1986–1992. While with Rambert, he created 25 works for the company in addition to choreographing commissioned works for the Royal Danish Ballet (1982) and the Royal Ballet (1983), as well as creating “Soda Lake” (1981) and “Dutiful Ducks” (1982), two solo works for Michael Clark. Alston returned to Rambert in 2001 to choreograph “Unrest” as part of Rambert’s 70th anniversary.
Alston created a full evening of his own work in 1992 for the Ballet Atlantique in La Rochelle, France and another full evening for London Contemporary Dance Theatre at the 1994 Aldeburgh Festival. After becoming Artistic Director at The Place in London, Alston founded his own company, launching Richard Alston Dance Company in November 1994. Since then, Alston has created over 23 works for his company, which now numbers 11 dancers.
The recipient of a number of awards, including an honorary doctorate from Surrey University in 1992 and an honorary MA from University College Chichester in 2003, Alston was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of his work in France and in 2001 was made a Commander of the British Empire in the New Year honors list.
Earlier this year, Richard Alston Dance Company’s tour included a season at London’s Sadler’s Wells (February 25–28); Glasgow, Scotland (March 6); Manchester, England (March 9); Norwich, England (March 26–27); and Liverpool, England (April 15–16).
Following its Joyce Theater engagement, the Company will perform in Milton Keynes, England (October 19–20); High Wycombe, England (October 22–23); Malvern, England (November 4–5); Brecon, Wales (November 12); Edinburgh, Scotland (November 16); and Blackpool, England (November 26–27). The Company will return to Sadler’s Wells in February 2005.
Richard Alston Dance Company's Joyce Theater season is sponsored by Bloomberg.
Richard Alston Dance Company gratefully acknowledges assistance from Arts Council England, the British Council, London Contemporary Dance School and the Anglo-American Dance Foundation.