About

Richard Alston Dance Company History

Since its founding in 1994, Richard Alston Dance Company has become an avidly followed contemporary dance company, performing the work of its Artistic Director Richard Alston and Associate Choreographer Martin Lawrance. Richard Alston Dance Company’s outstanding reputation on the British dance scene is now increasingly being matched overseas particularly in the US. In May 2004 the Company made its US debut with a week-long season at New York’s Joyce Theater. The Company returned to the US in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Richard Alston Dance Company continues to perform regularly in the US, at New York City Center as part of Fall For Dance Festival in 2011, 2013 and 2016, Peak Performances at Montclair State University, New Jersey in 2012, 2014 and 2017 and the Virginia Arts Festival in 2014, 2016 and 2017. Most recently, the Company returned to Virginia Arts Festival in Spring 2019 and is looking forward to returning to Peak Performances in Montclair in Spring 2020.

Other overseas tours have included China, South East Asia, Holland, Greece and Russia where the Company represented Britain at Moscow’s first International Festival of Contemporary Dance in 1999. The Company performed as part of the Schrittmacher Festival in Aachen, Germany in 2012, 2014 and 2016 and at Stadthalle Neuss in March 2017. In 2018 the Company performed at Open Stage Festival in Poland and DAP Festival in Italy. Most recently the Company visited Dampfzentrale in Bern in Autumn 2019.

In March 2020 Richard Alston Dance Company ceased activity in line with new priorities for touring, agreed between The Place and Arts Council England.


Richard Alston Biography 

Richard Alston choreographed his first work in 1968, as one of the twelve students of the newly formed London Contemporary Dance School. On leaving in 1972, he formed the UK’s first independent dance group Strider. In 1975 Alston went to New York to study at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio. On his return two years later, he worked throughout the UK and Europe as an independent choreographer and teacher.

In 1980 Alston became Resident Choreographer with Ballet Rambert and later was appointed Artistic Director, a position he held from 1986 to 1992. In his time there he created 25 dances for the company and was also commissioned to create work for the Royal Danish Ballet (Kingdom of Pagodas 1982) and the Royal Ballet (Midsummer 1983).

In 1992 Alston was invited to create a full evening of his own work, including Boulez’s Le Marteau Sans Maitre, for the Ballet Atlantique in France. He made another full evening for London Contemporary Dance Theatre at the 1994 Aldeburgh Festival going on to form his own company when he became Artistic Director of The Place in 1994. Over the past 25 years Alston has made over 50 dances for his own Company.

Commissions from other companies have included Ballet Theatre Munich (2006), Ballet Black (2008), Scottish Ballet (2009), New York Theatre Ballet (2011), Holland Dance Festival (2012) and Phoenix Dance Theatre (2013). This season sees Alston take up the position of Resident Choreographer with New York Theatre Ballet.

He was made an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy (in Dance) at Surrey University (1992), received an Honorary MA from University College Chichester (1993), made an Honorary Doctor of the Arts by the University of Kent (2015), an Honorary Doctor of the Arts by Kingston University (2016) and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (2017). Alston was made Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France (1995) and received the CBE in the New Year Honours list (2001). Alston received the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards (2008). He was presented with the Award for Excellence in International Dance by the International Theatre Institute (2012).​

Alston was Chair of Youth Dance England, a position he held from 2009 until March 2016 when he became U.Dance Champion and is a Trustee of the Dance Professionals Fund. Alston was knighted in the 2019 New Year Honours list.​​


Richard Alston Dance Company Repertoire

1994

  • MOVEMENTS FROM PETRUSHKA Stravinsky
  • LACHRYMAE Britten
  • SHADOW REALM Holt
  • SOMETHING IN THE CITY Man Jumping

1995

  • STARDUST Carmichael
  • RAINBOW BANDIT (revival) Amirkhanian

1996

  • BEYOND MEASURE Bach
  • ORPHEUS SINGING AND DREAMING Birtwistle
  • OKHO Xenakis
  • RUMOURS, VISIONS (re-titled ILLUMINATIONS in 2013) Britten

1997

  • BRISK SINGING Rameau
  • LIGHT FLOODING INTO DARKENED ROOMS Gaultier/Kondo

1998

  • RED RUN Goebbels
  • WALTZES IN DISORDER Brahms

1999

  • SLOW AIRS ALMOST ALL Mozart A SUDDEN EXIT Brahms
  • ROUGHCUT (revival) Reich

2000

  • THE SIGNAL OF A SHAKE Handel
  • TREMOR Shostakovich

2001

  • FEVER Monteverdi
  • STRANGE COMPANY Schumann
  • SODA LAKE (revival)
  • WATER MUSIC Handel

2002

  • TOUCH AND GO Piazzolla
  • STAMPEDE Mediaeval

2003

  • GREY ALLEGRO Scarlatti (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • OVERDRIVE Riley

2004

  • SHIMMER Ravel
  • GYPSY MIXTURE Electric Gypsyland
  • CHARGE Reich (chor. Martin Lawrance)

2005

  • SUCH LONGING Chopin
  • VOLUMINA Ligeti

2006

  • THE DEVIL IN THE DETAIL Joplin
  • ABOUT FACE Marais (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • PROVERB Reich

2007

  • FINGERPRINT Bach
  • BRINK Ayuo (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • NIGREDO Holt

2008

  • SHUFFLE IT RIGHT Carmichael
  • BODY & SOUL Schumann (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • BLOW OVER Glass
  • THE MEN IN MY LIFE Various

2009

  • SERENE BENEATH Stanchinsky
  • ALERT Molitor
  • TO DANCE AND SKYLARK Bach (chor. Martin Lawrance)

2010

  • OUT OF THE STRONG Prokofiev
  • LIE OF THE LAND Rorem (chor. Martin Lawrance)

2011

  • UNFINISHED BUSINESS Mozart
  • OTHER THAN I Couperin (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • IN MEMORY Hindemith (chor. Robert Cohan)

2012

  • A CEREMONY OF CAROLS Britten
  • ISTHMUS Kondo
  • MADCAP Wolfe (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • DARKNESSE VISIBLE Adès

2013

  • BUZZING ROUND THE HUNISUCCLE Kondo
  • HOLDERLIN FRAGMENTS Britten
  • PHAEDRA Britten

2014

  • REJOICE IN THE LAMB Britten
  • BURNING Liszt, Sonata (chor. Martin Lawrance)

2015

  • NOMADIC Shukar Collective (Richard Alston & Ajani Johnson-Goffe)
  • STRONGHOLD Wolfe (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • MAZUR Chopin

2016

  • AN ITALIAN IN MADRID* Scarlatti
  • TANGENT Piazzolla & Nisinman (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • DUTIFUL DUCKS (revival) Amirkhanian

2017

  • CARNAVAL Schumann CHACONY Purcell & Britten

2018

  • CUT AND RUN Gordon (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • MID CENTURY MODERN (music various)
  • BRAHMS HUNGARIAN Brahms

2019/20

  • DETOUR Miyoshi, Gordon (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • VOICES AND LIGHT FOOTSTEPS Monteverdi
  • A FAR CRY Elgar (chor. Martin Lawrance)
  • SHINE ON Britten

For a full list of Richard Alston creations and educational resources please visit the Richard Alston Chroeochronicle.