Richard Alston Dance Company

This article is from 2009.

Richard Alston Dance Company

It’s not often that Richard Alston embraces a narrative, but when he does, you know you’re in for something special – as witnessed by his excellent Carmen with Scottish Ballet earlier this year. Now, to celebrate the centenary of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Alston has taken on Petrushka.

‘From time to time I’ve taken images very clearly from music,’ says Alston. ‘And that’s what I’ve done with Petrushka. I would call it semi-narrative – there’s certainly something going on.’ Rather than stage the whole tragic tale, Alston has taken piano pieces from Stravinsky’s original score and created a poignant three-part mini drama. He’s also fused the character of Petrushka with the dancer who created the role, the equally tragic Vaslav Nijinsky.

‘The central piece has Petrushka alone in his cell, as a contemporary figure, not a puppet,’ explains Alston. ‘He’s Nijinsky using the movement he remembers from Petrushka and fraught with anguish. And the outer movements are very joyful and positive, with carnival people in Russian tunics – but Petrushka can’t relate to them and in the end he pushes him away.’

Joining Movements From Petrushka on this crowd-pleasing bill are Martin Lawrance’s fast-paced To Dance and Skylark, and a revival of Alston’s exhilarating Overdrive. What does Alston hope to give people when he programmes an evening of dance? ‘The simple answer would be pleasure,’ he says. ‘Dance gives me pleasure, I find it very uplifting. And that’s a very important and basic thing for me to share with an audience.’

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue 10 Nov

Richard Alston Dance Company

A mixed programme of works by Alston and his Associate Choreographer, Martin Lawrance. The modern tango of Tangent is set to music by Astor Piazzolla, whilst the dramatic Stronghold has a score by Julia Wolfe. Mazur is danced to live Chopin mazurkas and An Italian In Madrid is inspired by the sonatas of Scarlatti.

Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Fri 22 Sep

£20.50–£23.50 / 0131 529 6000

New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Tue 3 Oct

£16.90–£24.90 / 0844 871 7645

Theatre Royal, Brighton

Tue 10 Oct

£16.90–£24.90 / 0870 060 6650

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