Having been introduced to dancing at the age of 17 through reeling at school, Richard Alston has become a rather prestigious artist in the world of dance. Combining his years of experience and international dance traditions – ranging from English Baroque to Indian influences – Alston has created a hypnotic show which grips the viewer with every jump, flick and dip. This show in particular also displays the striking contemporary dance choreography of Martin Lawrence, whose featured show ‘Stronghold’ has received rightfully gushing reviews.
The first two performances, ‘An Italian in Madrid’ and ‘Mazur’, are choreographed by Alston and both produce a diverse and traditional experience for the audience. The women’s costumes were lacy, flowing, colourful and ultimately perfect for the dances performed in them. The men’s costumes were much tighter fitting, though the aforementioned flowing hems of the women’s often dancing beside them also accentuated their own movements.
The first performances began with a duet between the commendable Ihsaan De Banya and Jennifer Hayes. As they moved seamlessly, and almost silently, across the stage the audience was introduced to the intimate and technically perfect collection of performances to follow. These two are later joined on stage by the rest of the cast, who all interact exquisitely in every performance.
The second performance, ‘Mazur’, was a gorgeous duet between Nicholas Bodych and the acclaimed Liam Riddick, who performed main roles beautifully throughout the show. While this duet seemed to be less engaging to the audience, it was still impeccably performed and was a relaxing contrast to the impact of the performance to follow, ‘Stronghold’.
The last two performances, and arguably the most stunning, at least for a contemporary audience, were ‘Stronghold’ and ‘Tangent’. Both of these performances drew from more current traditions in both the costume design and the choreography itself.
‘Stronghold’ was an aggressive contrast to Alston’s preceding work and was presented on a bare, industrial stage setting. The sensual, deep and rhythmic sounds of double basses during this performance were also a lovely juxtaposition to the solo, live piano featured on stage for the others. The audience were clearly unanimously enchanted by the performance with its raw, energetic atmosphere.
‘Tangent’, the last piece, was more traditional but still consisted of some more Latin influences, as well as jazzy motifs and glissandos in the piano score.
This was a beautiful show, demonstrating a range of dance traditions through a astoundingly talented cast. As a man who was introduced to dance through reeling, Alston says “we love it here in Edinburgh” and celebrated the “mixed audiences” the city has to offer. His show certainly offers this in abundance.
Richard Alston at the Festival Theatre – Run ended
Photo credit: Postdlf