Richard Alston Dance Company: An Italian in Madrid review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘exhilarating’
The latest programme from Richard Alston Dance Company is a strong combination of new work and classic Alston repertoire.
Stronghold, by associate choreographer Martin Lawrence, is stylistically Alston, but the rapidity of the steps and the attack of the dancers in their kicks and leaps is dynamically modern. Upstage, the company stand in line, watching, waiting. Groups, solos and duets break ranks and run forward, flying through space with strong, powerful movement. It’s exciting, fast and punchy, a statement that this long-standing company can still hold its own today.
Alston’s latest work, An Italian in Madrid, is based around the sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti, an Italian who found himself in Spain at the insistence of his pupil, Maria Barbara, bride to a Spanish prince. Played on stage by pianist Jason Ridgway, the sonatas’ trilling, rhythmical patterns are reflected in the skipping steps of Alston’s choreography. The work has an innocent, cheerful feel and features Vidya Patel, finalist of 2015’s BBC young dancer. The soft, gestural movements of her Kathak dance lie in contrast to the vibrant movement of the company, yet, as Patel dances with her prospective prince (Liam Riddick), their elegant, poised movement melts together in a shared, classical language.
Alston’s Mazur, a duet between two friends reminiscing over a beloved but lost homeland, accompanies these works. A sensitive, sophisticated piece, it captures the melancholy beauty of Chopin’s Mazurkas. Although a masculine competitiveness underlies the dancers’ alternating solos, their quiet showmanship simply lends to the old-fashioned charm of this piece.
Brisk Singing also makes a lively return, bursting into life with its quick steps, fleeting lines and agile jumps, the dancers seemingly suspended in the air.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.