Richard Alston Dance Company
This article is from 2008.
Music has always played a huge part in Richard Alston’s work, but these days he’s having fun with lyrics, too. Last year’s Shuffle It Right introduced dance audiences to the witty words of late American jazz singer, Hoagy Carmichael.
‘Hoagy was an amazing singer who used rhythm in a very light way,’ says Alston. ‘It’s like listening to Fred Astaire dance. The lyrics are sometimes nonsensical and very dry, but they’re really about the rhythm and I tried to capture that detail in the choreography.’ A bona fide crowd-pleaser, Shuffle It Right is back in Scotland for a second outing, along with Martin Lawrance’s deeply atmospheric Body & Soul, set to an emotive song cycle by Schumann.
Closing the triple-bill will be Alston’s brand new disco-tinged work, Blow Over. For a choreographer best known for using classical or jazz works, the piece marks something of a departure for Alston. Set to Philip Glass’ Songs From Liquid Days, featuring lyrics by Paul Simon and Suzanne Vega, Alston describes the music as ‘Studio 54 eat your heart out’.
When you’ve been choreographing dance for over 30 years like Alston, finding a new approach can’t be easy. But time and again, Alston comes up with the goods – how does he manage it? ‘Well, there’s no point in just doing the same thing,’ he says. ‘Blow Over is a very different piece for me, but I wouldn’t do it for the sake of it. And if people say I’ve done something fresh then I’m absolutely delighted.’
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue 11 Nov