Artistry of dance that says so much

Richard Alston Dance Company @ the Theatre Royal, Norwich. By Christopher Smith.

Richard Alston Dance Company @ the Theatre Royal, Norwich

By Christopher Smith

Lithe and elegant, athletic and energetic but never hectic, responsive to every musical stimulus and always working as a team yet without a hint of regimentation, the 10 dancers in Richard Alston's Company create a splendid evening of absorbing artistry that has poise without pose, emotion without sentimentality.

Music is the basis, with a modern accent in “Red Run”, with a live string trio to add immediacy to adagios and fugues by Mozart in “Slow Airs Almost All”, and with the sturdy vigour of movements from Handel's organ concertos in “The Signal of a Shake”.

Charles Balfour's exemplary taste in control of lighting tone and direction makes a major contribution too.

On arriving, the audience is confronted with the dark cavern of the open stage. In a trice it is transformed, only to be changed again and again with subtle variations in colour.

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Stepping stones of light across the floor and a final deftly-imagined touch that in productions leave maximum space free for inventive choreography which is all the better for avoiding facile gender stereotypes.

Grouping and regrouping time and again in different formations, the dancers weave patterns in movement and trace silhouettes in moments of stillness with limbs extended.

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