It was exciting to see a programme on Saturday that included Richard Alston’s Lachrymae and Illuminations in Benjamin Britten’s centenary year.  The company opened with The Devil in the Detail, to Scott Joplin’s music (piano accompaniment by Faith Leadbetter, the only “live” music in the programme).  Kenneth Macmillan’s Elite Syncopations is a hard act to follow, but Nancy Nerantzi led this gentler dance work with charm and grace, bringing out the delightful sense of fun in the choreography, which ripples through the music like a stream of water.  The only problem is the score, which although pleasure to listen to, doesn’t seem to go anywhere (and so neither can the dance). (more…)

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The Richard Alston Dance Company brings a triple bill to the Oxford Playhouse that shows the typical musicality of its founder’s work. The diversity of the evening’s composers prompts a corresponding diversity in the dance, seen in the opening two pieces, Alston’s own, and the third, that of his associate Martin Lawrance.

Buzzing Round the Hunnisuccle is set to three works by contemporary composer Jo Kondo. There is an austerity, an unemotional quality in them that the dance matches very well. The dancers’ bodies form one shape after another, sculptural, athletic seeming poses with arms widely extended. (more…)

In the programme, Richard Alston quotes Balanchine’s statement “see the music, hear the dance”, and the music that he invites us to “see” in this triple bill is typically diverse:  Jo Kondo for Buzzing Round the Hunnisuccle; Mozart and Ferruccio Busoni for Unfinished Business, and finally Julia Wolfe for Martin Lawrance’s work Madcap.

I saw this programme twice, once from the Stalls and once from the Circle, and each was a completely different experience.  (more…)