As my introduction to the Richard Alston Dance Company, ‘An Italian in Madrid’, ‘Tangent’ and ‘Chacony’ were performances that confidently provided proof of the ongoing conversation between music, dance and colour.
From the pairing of James Muller and Monique Jonas to the captivating manoeuvres of Vidya Patel and Ihsaan de Banya, music and movement were transformed into poetry. The spine’s arch became a verse, as did the gentle motion of a wrist. With the words ‘music,’ ‘dance’ and ‘colour’ on the page, it’s impossible not to replay the details of costume, the effect of body language and the choreography’s ability to tell a tale of intimacy.
Very soon after the first performance I felt completely involved with and surrounded by the energy generated by the dancers, which varied between tempo and transitioned with the lights. There were movements so fluid that the performances had incredibly innate elements to them. Talent was used as part of a chorus, with a partner and also solo. In ‘An Italian in Madrid,’ for instance, a dance set to Domenico Scarlatti’s sonatas, scenes using variations of canon worked incredibly well with Fotini Dimou’s costume design, where the proxemics of the dancers often mimicked an artist’s paint palette. Monique Jonas, performing in a brilliant red dress amongst her captivating co-dancers, who were dressed in autumnal hues, was also a great example of how Alston’s company succeed in using several aspects of art to strengthen and polish the impact of a performance.
Although variations in colour had a specific effect, when one tone was drawn across all performers, burgundy for example, the beauty of skin and the cast members’ physical presence added to the focus of movement and the human form, especially in the light.
Live piano played by Jason Ridgway and the dancers’ relationship with the music also fascinated me. Execution and interdependence were evident, and in relation to the interaction between movement and poetry, I wouldn’t be surprised if from an eagle’s view the dancers became illustrators unravelling crotchets and quavers with their direction across the stage. The piano headlined countless other audible gems, including the rustling of the costumes’ fabrics and the pressure of the performers’ bare feet on the stage’s surface.
Overall I think Alston’s company are fantastic at offering interpretive translations for physical and non physical forms. The thought process inspired by a contemporary performance was handed to me by the words of my friend, who whispered to me during an intense scene, ‘I feel like they’re having a deep conversation or an argument.’ I smiled and nodded, for in all honesty I wasn’t too sure, but I think there is beauty to be found in that personal experience! Nevertheless, the dedication was captivating and I found myself wanting to find out more about the dancers. I thank Richard Alston Dance Company for investing time into exploring several incredible muses.
Richard Alston Dance Company will be Performing at Norwich Theatre Royal 10-11 Feb