Richard Alston (choreographer)
Life and career
He trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance, and then choreographed for the London Contemporary Dance Theatre before forming the UK’s first independent dance company, Strider, in 1972. In 1976 later he went to New York to study at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio and in 1980 he was appointed resident choreographer with Ballet Rambert, serving as the company’s artistic director from 1986 to 1992. In 1981 Alston's dance company 'stride' merged with choreographer Siobhan Davies' company Siobhan Davies and Dancers to form 'second stride' During that time he created 25 works for Rambert as well as the Royal Danish Ballet (1982), the Royal Ballet (1983), and two solo works for Michael Clark (Soda Lake and Dutiful Ducks). He returned to Rambert in 2001, creating Unrest for the company’s 70th anniversary.
A revival of his Dangerous Liaisons (1985) was toured by Scottish Ballet in 2003. In 1994 Alston took up the post of artistic director at The Place and formed The Richard Alston Dance Company; since then he has made over 20 pieces for the company.
Alston was made an honorary Doctor of Philosophy (Dance) at the University of Surrey in 1992 and in 2003 he received an honorary MA from University College Chichester. In 1995 he was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of his work in France. In January 2001 he was awarded the CBE.
Richard Alston Dance Company
Alston's own company was launched in 1994 to great critical acclaim and is now one of the UK’s most celebrated contemporary dance companies. It offers a unique combination of the innovative and the entertaining in the work of its artistic director, Richard Alston, who, in 1998, celebrated 30 years of dance making. An experienced and mature artist, whose talent has had the time and space to develop and deepen, Alston is internationally recognised as a master of his craft.
Music plays a vital part in the company’s identity and Alston’s passion for a huge range of composers is illustrated by his use of music by Brahms, Britten, Hoagy Carmichael, Handel, Monteverdi, Ástor Piazzolla, Schumann, Shostakovich and Stravinsky.
In 2002 the BBC commissioned Richard Alston to choreograph excerpts of The Rite of Spring for their Masterworks series, directed by Jonathan Haswell. In autumn 2003 Martin Lawrance’s Grey Allegro was introduced into the repertoire – the first time another choreographer’s work has been performed by the company. In May 2004 the Company made its New York debut with a week of performances at the Joyce Theater. Richard did many dance pieces concerning love, hate, anger etc.
- "Birthdays". The Guardian (Guardian News & Media). 30 Oct 2014. p. 39.
- Macaulay, Alastair (15 May 2011). "An Accomplished Premiere, Served Along With Other Flourishes". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Official website The Place