Cut and RunChoreographer: Martin Lawrance

The fierce cut and jib of this work was evident from the first moment: music and movement battled for dominance, both rhythmic and rigorous. The choreography had a disjointed quality; the many pauses – some fleeting and others broad – prevented a sense of fluid motion. However this suited the music, which had pounding yet uneven rhythms and was often a cacophony of sound. The dancers rarely moved together; instead they seemed to fight, to exist alone, and to defy and reject each other. The level of technical command was impressive: each movement (or sudden stillness) was precise and controlled, and the dancers negotiated dizzying transitions between standing, lying, rolling and turning. (more…)


Richard Alston Dance Company returned to Oxford this week for one evening at the New Theatre. The programme opened with Martin Lawrance’s Cut and Run, to music by Michael Gordon and Damian LeGassick for ten dancers dressed in ‘urban wear’ with metallic decoration that glinted in the dim light. Starting and stopping, dodging and colliding, they broke out of the purple patch of illumination that seemed at first to confine them, and spread across the darkened stage. An interval of silence, then the lights changed to orange, adding a fresh sense of urgency to their frantic race, until the work concluded, with the dancers once more bathed in a purple glow. (more…)

The ever musical Richard Alston Dance Company returns to Oxford with a full programme of new and established works packed full of energy and contrasts, featuring a brand new piece by Associate Choreographer Martin Lawrance alongside two by Richard Alston.

In Cut and Run Lawrance takes his inspiration from contrasting music by two contemporary classical composers, Damian Legassick and Michael Gordon, from the Icebreaker album Terminal Velocity. The fast frenetic rhythms of the music with cool sombre undertones, take the dancers into a world of shadows and swift dodges.  The costumes for Cut and Run have been designed by Filipino fashion designer Jeffery Rogador with whom Lawrance collaborated whilst working with Ballet Manila last year. They have an urban edge and a colour palette of black, silver and gold which the lighting designer Zeynep Kepekli will make shimmer on stage with her beautiful use of light.

The programme also includes Carnaval by Alston, performed to Robert Schumann’s music of the same name, played live by outstanding pianist Faith Leadbetter.  Costumes are by BAFTA Award winning designer Fotini Dimou.

Finally a great Alston favourite, Gypsy Mixture, newly revived for the first time in a decade, set to tracks from Electric Gypsyland – a 21st century take on traditional Balkan folk music. Exhilarating dancing to the infectious music of Romanian and Macedonian gypsy bands will lift your spirits and quicken your pulse.

“Sometimes dance fills the eyes with tears, changes our breathing or makes us laugh — but why? The dancers aren’t depicting emotion, yet we find ourselves powerfully moved… the dancers of the Richard Alston Dance Company… caused a gamut of emotion, just by taking us to the heart of dance itself.”
Alistair Macaulay, The New York Times, February 2017.

Performance:  Tuesday 20th February, 7.30pm

Venue:  New Theatre, George Street, Oxford OX1 2AG

Tickets:  £11.90 – £25.90 plus £2.85 transaction fee

Available online here or call 0844 871 3020


World renowned Richard Alston Dance Company return to Oxford Playhouse with a brand new programme of critically acclaimed work. This triple bill features work inspired by some of the world’s greatest composers, as well as an appearance by BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015 grand finalist Vidya Patel.

With nearly 50 years choreographing dance, Richard Alston is one of the most influential artists in modern dance. Known for his instinctive musicality, he is renowned for working closely with the music he uses, seeking to use it as both a partner to the dancers, as well as stimulus for the creation of the choreographic work. This triple bill is a thrilling example, with dances inspired by composers from Italy, Argentina and Britain.

In Tangent, Associate Choreographer Martin Lawrance explores the vivid accents and attack of tango. Four couples glide through the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by tango master Piazzolla. Chacony, Alston’s newest dance, is inspired by Britten’s tribute to Purcell’s Chaconne. The dance celebrates the richness and nobility of Purcell, reaching into darker places before reaffirming hope for humanity. Alston’s An Italian in Madrid is influenced by the sonatas of Scarlatti, a baroque composer hugely influenced by Spanish guitar music.

Performances:  Friday 12th & Saturday 13th May, 7.30pm

Venue:  Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LW

Tickets:  £11.50 – £22 (discounts available)

Call the Ticket Office on 01865 305305 or book online here


Described by the Times as a “choreographer for whom every dance is a love affair with his chosen music”, Richard Alston brings his acclaimed company back to Oxford’s Playhouse with a stunning mixed bill.  Alston’s superbly skilled choreography combines three pieces of music by Benjamin Britten and three very different poets.  Rejoice in the Lamb is danced to Britten’s joyous setting of the fervent words of Christopher Smart. Hölderlin Fragments is inspired by Friedrich Hölderlin’s enigmatic lyrics, and Illuminations paints a vivid picture of the wild young genius and misfit Arthur Rimbaud.

In addition to the trio of Britten pieces, the bill is completed by Associate Choreographer Martin Lawrance’s latest piece, Burning, which is as passionate and turbulent as its music, the Dante Sonata of Franz Liszt, played live on stage. (more…)


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…)


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…)