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This morning's links include a long and detailed review by Claire Seymour of the Alston company's programme at Snape Maltings on Saturday. I saw the same programme the night before, which included the first performance of Shine On, the latest addition to Alston's probably unequalled list of dances to the music of Benjamin Britten - I say 'the latest' rather than 'the last' in the hope that this isn't the end: the last poem in the piece ends  '... the loss as major, And final, final' but I would sooner believe Alston's own very brief speech at the end - "I LOVE this place. I will not say  goodbye".

 

Anyway. I liked Shine On a lot, despite my own very strong preference for a tenor voice in this music (no disrespect at all to the soprano. Katherine McIndoe). I did wish though that Alston had found rather  more depth in the Nocturne ('Now through night's caressing grip') - for me it's one of the most beautiful pieces Britten ever wrote and I was hoping for a stronger response.

 

The programme ended happily with Brahms Hungarian, which I hadn't seen before - and if you are a ballet-goer I defy you to sit through it without once thinking "Dances at a Hungarian Gathering" - and very nice too.

 

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When I see contemporary dance I often think, "why would anyone pay to see this?"; but last night's programme in Woking was sheer pleasure from start to finish.

 

The programme opened with Red Run (from 1999), followed by a new piece for 35 dancers from the Rambert School (thrilling to see them all onstage for the finale) then after the first interval Voices and Light Footsteps - a supremely musical response to Monteverdi's music. 

 

I don't think I stopped smiling once during the Brahms Hungarian which closed the programme: terrific dancers, wonderful music performed by an on-stage pianist, beautiful dresses, and above all lovely choreography unashamedly tinged with ballet (cabrioles! entrechats!).

 

It's the first time I've seen the company and I wish I'd got round to it sooner. If you have the chance, go!

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A good word for Alston's choreography might be "creamy" ...  luscious and more-ish, and different in different contexts but always recognisably itself. We have seen the company as often as we could over the years and they have very rarely disappointed. Woking's programme was gorgeous, and we shall miss them enormously when it all has to stop next spring.

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  • 3 months later...

I saw the penultimate Richard Alston Dance Company show yesterday afternoon (no thanks to the chaos on the West Coast mainline!), and it was absolutely wonderful.  It's so sad that basically for no fault of his own he's having to wind up the company and I just hope his works continue to be seen in some form.  I thought that the last work in the programme, Voices and Light Footsteps,set to the music of Monteverdi, could easily find a place at Covent Garden.  To me he is the most classical of contemporary dance choreographers (apparently he was much influenced by Ashton) as well as the most musical, and this work demonstrated both those facets in abundance.

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48 minutes ago, ChrisG said:

I saw the penultimate Richard Alston Dance Company show yesterday afternoon 

 

Thank you for posting this. I wish I could have seen his work live, but I realise I just can't see everything. And your description makes me feel a little as if I had. 

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On 04/11/2019 at 18:28, Jane S said:

 

 

Anyway. I liked Shine On a lot, despite my own very strong preference for a tenor voice in this music (no disrespect at all to the soprano. Katherine McIndoe). I did wish though that Alston had found rather  more depth in the Nocturne ('Now through night's caressing grip') - for me it's one of the most beautiful pieces Britten ever wrote and I was hoping for a stronger response.

 

 

 

 

I see from Jenny Gilbert's review (Arts Desk) that by the end of the tour the Nocturne section was danced by two men rather than the man and woman who did the premiere - that was what I'd been expecting to see and by the sound of it, the new casting gave the piece a  stronger emotional hit - wish I'd been able to see it.

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