Richard Alston by Hugo Glendinning
In October of 2018, Richard Alston Dance Company announced that its 2019-20 tour would be its last, though director Richard Alston stated that he would continue to seek opportunities to create new dances. Whatever the future holds, Alston is now at work on his last piece for the Richard Alston Dance Company, Shine On. Sections of the initial announcement and the recent update are included below.
In addition, Alston was “awarded a knighthood by Her Majesty the Queen for Services to Dance, Children and Young People as announced in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List.”
Richard Alston Dance Company to close in 2020
(London, 8 October 2018) – Richard Alston Dance Company has announced today that its final tour will take place in 2019-2020. Richard Alston has been creating dance for over 50 years and his company has been resident at The Place for the past 24 years. In that time, Alston has played a major role in the world of contemporary dance, developing a unique and distinct dance language and shaping the art form in this country…The company will tour for the last time in spring 2020 including a final Sadler’s Wells season.
Voices and Light Footsteps – Jenny Hayes and Joshua Harriette (Photo by Chris Nash)
In addition to the training and development of outstanding dance artists and pioneering makers, The Place will continue its commitment to new work and this includes touring and producing the next generation of successful young artists, so that they too can benefit from the expertise and investment of the organisation.
Statement from Richard Alston, director of Richard Alston Dance Company
“The Place has been my home for almost fifty years and I am nothing but grateful for the invaluable support and encouragement I have received over that time. Now change is very much in the air and inevitably it is the turn of others – I accept that. The Place must embrace change if it is to thrive and I wish these younger artists well. Now I have to try and find new opportunities to make dance because I am not ready to stop. I still have dances in me and I feel strongly that mature artists are an important part of the dance ecology. There are not many of us!”
Statement from Claire Connor, Chief Executive, The Place
“Richard has been a part of The Place since the very beginning – he was one of the first students of London Contemporary Dance School under the leadership of Robin Howard and Robert Cohan, our Founders. Like all great leaders, Richard Alston is a lifelong learner and our link to that tradition of innovation and pioneering in contemporary dance. His utter devotion to his craft, dancers and the artist’s voice permeate through everything we strive to do. Richard is part of the DNA of The Place and will remain a major influence for the next generation of artists who will undoubtedly follow his exemplary passion and workmanship.
Brahms Hungarian – Monique Jonas, Elly Braund, Melissa Braithwaite, Ellen Yilma (Photo by Chris Nash)
About Richard Alston Dance Company
Richard Alston Dance Company launched in November 1994 at The Place. It 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.
About The Place
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.
Detour by Martin Lawrance – Nicholas Shikkis, Jason Tucker and Elly Braund (Photo by Chris Nash)
Sir Richard Alston creates his final work for his company
Danced to Benjamin Britten’s song cycle On This Island performed live by soprano Katherine McIndoe and pianist Jason Ridgeway
UK premiere: Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh 1 & 2 November 2019
London premiere: Sadler’s Wells, 7 & 8 March 2020
(London, 19 September 2019) – Richard Alston, seen by many as the UK’s most musical choreographer, has chosen the music of Benjamin Britten, the composer he has choreographed to more than any other, to create the final work for his company. Shine On will have its UK premiere at Snape Maltings, the concert hall indelibly linked with Britten, this autumn before touring and coming into Sadler’s Wells, London next spring.
Alston is choreographing to On This Island, Britten’s 1937 song cycle, his first for voice and piano. It is set to five poems from WH Auden’s collection of the same name, two of which were dedicated to Britten himself. The poems are typically complex and virtuosic whilst Britten’s setting of them is unusually stark. It will be performed live by soprano Katherine McIndoe and pianist Jason Ridgway in Aldeburgh and London.
Mazur – (Early Cast) Liam Riddick and Jonathan Goddard (Photo by Tony Nandi)
Aldeburgh also sees the UK premiere of Voices and Light Footsteps (a name Alston liked so much he recycled it from a piece he made for Rambert in 1984). The piece is inspired by the sensuously expressive vocal madrigals and instrumental sinfonias of Claudio Monteverdi. The evening is completed by two works from 2019, Martin Lawrance’s Detour and Alston’s Brahms Hungarian.
Sadler’s Wells, in March 2020, will be Richard Alston Dance Company’s final ever performances. Shine On will be performed alongside Voice and Light Footsteps, Mazur and a new work by Martin Lawrance, A Far Cry.
Press Releases Via: Richard Alston Dance Company