Dance review: Richard Alston Dance Co, Edinburgh

Richard Alston Dance Co: Alston's choreography is, as always, flawless
Richard Alston Dance Co: Alston's choreography is, as always, flawless
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Sometimes it all comes down to programming. Richard Alston is one of the founding fathers of British contemporary dance.

So when an evening doesn’t quite pack the punch you know it should, you have to cast around for a reason. Half his company have only just joined, so it would be easy to suggest a lack of cohesion.

Richard Alston Dance Co - Edinburgh Festival Theatre

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But actually, the company is in rude health, dancing together beautifully. Alston’s choreography is, as always, flawless. Precise, crafted, and fusing movement and music together like Siamese twins. Likewise the work of his protégée, Martin Lawrance.

There are, however, only so many subtle, understated works a mixed bill can handle, and the first three pieces – Lawrance’s Brink and Alston’s Holderlin Fragments and Lachrymae – were all cut from an enjoyable, but very similar cloth.

The final piece, a resurrection of Alston’s 1994 work, Illuminations, took us in a newdirection. Inspired by the passionate, but troubled, relationship between poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, this was Alston at his finest.

Dynamic ensemble work, genuinely moving partnering and an intelligent solo from Liam Riddick, who excelled in the role of feisty young Rimbaud.

There had been no shortage of clever choreography earlier in the evening, but somehow it wasn’t until Illuminations that Alston grabbed us by the ears, eyes and hearts and said “look at this”.