In addition, this triple bill includes more recent choreography in the form of Alston’s Carnaval, a beautifully staged take on the relationship between Robert Schumann and his wife Clara (Elly Braund). The evening opens with Martin Lawrance’s more physical work, Cut and Run, a brief but energetic piece brimming with urgency and centred on the pacy interplay of two main couples.
Carnaval is a classical work set to Schumann’s score of the same name, played on stage by pianist Jason Ridgway, who makes light work of the piece’s turbulent energy.
Schumann is played by both Liam Riddick and Nicholas Bodych who represent his dual persona. Riddick is slick, and moves smoothly, exuding a majestic aura. By comparison Bodych is spritely and unpredictable.
The beauty and musicality of Alston’s choreography makes an evening with this company more than worth the ticket price. The head-to-toe precision of the dancers and the ease of the lifts between the tranquil, floating waltzes make for beguiling viewing, also enhanced by Fontini Dimou’s wafting fairytale costumes.
Braund’s Clara is sensitively danced, appearing timid and wary of Schumann’s more unpredictable side (Bodych) as she is pushed and pulled into a series of charged lifts and jumps, while Riddick seeks to restore the balance with his serene and calming presence.
And so to Alston’s selection box of choreography from the past five decades. On opening night at Sadler’s Wells, Alston himself took to the stage to provide some helpful background.
The only remainder of Alston’s very first work, Transit (1968) is the cover image on the programme, and that’s why this journey starts with the 70s.
Rainbow Bandit (1977) was the result of two years of study in New York. It's a technical masterclass, showcasing the company dancers at their precise and articulate best. The choreography is demanding yet danced with an impressively fluidity.
Following the great success of An Italian in Madrid, Vidya Patel returns with a new solo, Syrinx, representing the present day Alston era. Patel is a wonderfully composed, controlled dancer and suits Debussy’s sedate flute solo. The gentle rhythm of the flute and Patel’s smooth, fast Kathak footwork match each other especially well. Alston has made fine use of her talents.
The undeniable highlight of the evening is Dutiful Ducks (1982), a powerhouse of a solo, originally created for a very young Michael Clark, now danced by Liam Riddick. It’s three minutes of pure dance magic with Riddick bouncing off the stuttering rhythms of the spoken word accompaniment by Charles Amirkhanian.
The celebratory tone is maintained in the final extract of The Signal and a Shake (2000), danced by the full company in jazzy silver costumes. It looks to the future, with Alston noting its exuberance and joy is what keeps him going. ‘That’s why I’m still at it,’ he reflects, as he approaches his 70th birthday later this year.
|What||Richard Alston Dance, Mid Century Modern Review|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
23 Mar 18 – 24 Mar 18, 19:30 Dur.: 2 hours including two intervals
|Website||Click here to book via Sadler's Well website|