Review: Richard Alston Dance Company In Wimbledon

A dance performance adding new dimensions to music

There are lots of great things about dance, and one of them is the power it has to bring music to life, interpreting it in new ways, adding new dimensions. Which is what you get from Richard Alston's dance company and his team of beautiful, athletic and enormously talented young people.  

At New Wimbledon Theatre they danced to three different pieces of music: Nomadic, Burning and An Italian in Madrid, each one completely different enabling them to demonstrate a  range of emotions along with physical skills.

The dances are glorious flights of fancy. Two, Burning and An Italian in Madrid are  loosely based on true stories of their composers, while Nomadic is the dance of gypsies. Burning, which is set to Franz Liszt's Dante Sonata is about Liszt and his lover the Countess Marie D'Agoult  who had to fight off his many female fans to  win her man.  This was choreographed by Martin Lawrance.

The other biographical dance, choreographed by Richard Alston, tells the story of Domenico Scarlatti who left his native Naples with his pupil the Princess Maria Barbara when she moved to Spain. Here they dance to Scarlatti's Keyboard Sonatas. The key to this is not so much the story as the music and the influence the Spanish rhythms had on Scarlatti's music, giving it a greater vibrancy and excitement.

In both of these they were accompanied by pianist Jason Ridgway.

In Nomadic they dance to recorded music tracks from the hauntingly beautiful Urban Gypsy by the Shukar Collective, choreographed by Richard Alston and Ajani Johnson-Goffe .  Gypsies are people who live on the outskirts of society and have to keep moving.  It's dramatic This very dramatic  routine expressing the triumph of the human spirit over dispair

The only quarrel I have with this is the Burning, it's the shortest piece at only 15 minutes and it seemed rushed. It's passionate, bubbling with jealousy and lust but the hurried pace didn't give it the opportunity for this to be really appreciated.

By Penny Flood

May 17, 2016

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An Italian in Madrid - Liam Riddick and Vidya Patel. Photo by Jane Hobson