Dance review: Richard Alston Dance Company, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Picture: Cate Gillon

Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Picture: Cate Gillon

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ALSTON regulars may have felt a little cheated when they saw the line-up for the company’s Edinburgh date this year.

Richard Alston Dance Company

Edinburgh Festival Theatre

****

Just one of the three works performed was new and unseen. Yet if ever there was a shining example of a piece maturing with time, it’s Martin Lawrance’s Burning. This passionate homage to the romantic life of composer Franz Liszt was hot stuff when we saw it in Edinburgh last September – now it’s at boiling point.

Watching Liam Riddick dance has long been one of life’s good things, but his performance in this – alongside an equally compelling Nancy Nerantzi – is pure joy. Riddick plays Liszt, Nerantzi the young married countess who captured his heart, and together with Lawrance’s quickfire choreography and Jason Ridgway’s live piano, they make magic.

Alston’s own Brisk Singing also bears repeat viewing. The man himself calls it a ‘‘joyful response” to the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau, and it would be impossible to disagree. The work is filled with light leaps, both of the legs and heart, as dancers scamper across the stage turning notes into joyous movement.

In fact, if anything, it was the new work which disappointed slightly. Co-choreographed by Alston and former streetdancer Ajani Johnson-Goffe, Nomadic features ten dancers giving loose-limbed life to the sounds of Romanian group, Shukar Collective.

It’s hard to know who did what here, but the choreography and music speak different languages until the final section, when the movement and sound finally slot into a groove that fits like a glove.

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