Richard Alston Dance Company

Norwich Theatre Royal

Norwich Theatre Royal

Richard Alston is one of those names you will know. You might associate him with Ballet Rambert, or with the early experimental work he created for this country's first independent dance company, Strider.

Then again, you might know him from the Royal Ballet. His career has taken him in many directions, but individuality of style stamps everything he does.

For him, there is no question of a concept imposed on music, as with the work of German contemporary John Neumeier, for instance, a choreographer with superficial similarities in style. Alston's work starts with living, breathing and being the music.


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And what's really exciting about the work is the sense of improvisation within quite a rigid framework. Each performer appears to be living dangerously with the material: it's as if this choreographer has the knack of opening up a space for the performer to find his or her true individuality.

The first piece, Volumina, Ligeti's dynamic, howling, nowhere music with its synthesisers and shattering sounds gives birth to a vision of a constantly shifting landscape.

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The stage picture was a sensual journey, in which brittle bodies like sticks rattled across the stage.

Part two brought us Chopin at his most romantic. A single piano on a dimly lit stage which rippled with desire.

Part three went wild in a gipsy mixture which fell back and forwards from street beats to boho. This was a riot of colour and exuberance, and showed off the company's talent for the quirky unexpected and the dancer's joke.

What a night of risk and adventure.

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