Despite his status, Richard Alston has had some of his thunder stolen in recent years by a younger generation of dance makers. Many favor the crowd-pulling dance-theatre combination of text and story-telling as well as music and dance, while Alston sticks with the choreography of pure-dance creations.
His seamless, intricate style was in evidence in his four-part mixed bill at The Place, where Alston’s troupe makes its home and where Alston himself is Artistic Director.
Crowning the programme was Alert, an untypical Alston work for four dancers which showed how we listen and how we respond, not just to voices, but to other kinds of sounds such as finger clicking and even human breath. In lesser hands this could get dull and dry, yet Alston made it light and funny, with insights into how we both chase meaning and avoid being bossed around.
What you notice about Alston is the scale and detail and exuberance of his output, as in Blow Over, which he choreographed to celebrate his sixtieth birthday in 2008. Also on the programme was a tango-themed piece by one-time Alston dancer Martin Lawrence that proved a clever, sensuous take on the Argentine dance form.