Review: Richard Alston Dance Company - Wimbledon Theatre

Performance: 9 February 2013
Reviewed by Laura Dodge - Monday 11 February 2013

Richard Alston Dance Company 'Madcap'.  Photo: Tony Nandi

Many of London’s dance enthusiasts and crtics migrated to Wimbledon for the eagerly-anticipated premiere of Richard Alston’s new work on Saturday. Entitled Buzzing Round the Hunisuccle , it received enthusiastic applause but was, for me, the weakest of the three pieces in this short, but wonderfully sweet, triple bill.

Using a typical Alston contemporary dance vocabulary, dancers responded to the rhythmically-complex and frequently confrontational percussive sounds of Japanese composer Jo Kondo’s accompanying score. With three sections of distinct flavours, it was in the first and last that choreography seemed most in tune with its accompaniment. Movements here reflected Kondo’s intricate and uncompromising rhythms with Alston’s trademark precision. But the calmer central segment didn’t have the choreographer’s usual affinity with its music, the sinister-sounding Hunnisuccle.

Opening work, The Devil in the Detail , was a vibrant combination of Scott Joplin’s ragtime music and Alston’s effervescent choreography. With movements literally echoing the score (high notes represented by jumps and reaches), all dancers were able to shine but it was Nancy Nerantzi who stood out most with her breezy and effortless exuberance. Onstage musician, Jason Ridgway, also gave a tremendous performance, matching the dancers’ vibrance and energy with his piano-playing.

Martin Lawrance’s Madcap closed the evening with animalistic and weighty choreography. Dancers scuttled, crawled and rolled about the stage with their heavy breathing serving only to enhance Julia Wolfe’s aggressive-sounding score. Again, the whole company was on top form, but Nathan Goodman’s remarkable strength and powerful body throws made him the one to watch in this final piece.

Richard Alston Dance Company are touring to 26 towns and cities around the UK until 23 May.
Dates and venues

Laura Dodge writes for a number of publications including Dancing Times, and English National Ballet’s Dance is the Word blog. She has an MA in Ballet Studies and also teaches dance to children in central London.

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