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uwws: richard alston dance company starts here on thursday

By Rosie Gaynor
Richard Alston Dance Company
photo courtesy UW World Series

I’m looking forward to getting a glimpse of this modern company from Britain on Thursday at the UW World Series.

Here’s a link to a recent article by Alastair Macaulay in the NYT. Don’t be dismayed by his qualifiers; it’s often his m.o.

And a link to the UW World Series page, where there’s a video clip of the company.

And the UW World Series’ press release, verbatim:

“Britain’s Best: Richard Alston Dance Company
Presented by the UW World Series

Thursday-Saturday, January 21-23, 2010 at 8:00 PM
Meany Hall on the UW Campus
Tickets: $39; $20 for students

Founded in 1994, the Richard Alston Dance Company has grown into one of Britain’s most avidly-followed contemporary companies. Its founder and namesake Richard Alston has been creating compelling dance pieces for more than 40 years and his approach is frequently and favorably compared to that of Balanchine and Cunningham. For its UW World Series appearance, the Company will perform a mix of new and seminal past works by this world-renowned master of modern dance.

The Richard Alston Dance Company will perform at Meany Hall Thursday-Saturday, January 21-23, 2010 at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $39 ($36 for subscribers and $20 for students). Tickets may be purchased by phone at 206-543-4880, online at or in person at the UW Arts Ticket Office. Meany Hall is located on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington. To learn more about this event, visit

Main Auditorium, 7:10 PM
Ticket-holders are invited to come early to learn more about Richard Alston and the Company at a free, informal talk in the main auditorium. The talk begins at 7:10 PM and lasts about 30 minutes.

For more information about the visiting dance ensembles in the UW World Series 2009-10 season and the programs they are performing, please visit

Richard Alston Dance Company has grown into the UK’s most avidly followed contemporary company. The Company offers a unique combination of the innovative and the entertaining in the work of its Artistic Director Richard Alston.

Richard Alston Dance Company’s strong reputation on the British dance scene is now increasingly being matched overseas. In May 2004, the Company made its United States debut with a week-long season at New York’s leading theatre for dance, the Joyce Theater. In 2006, 2007, 2009, and now in 2010, the Company has returned to the U.S. to perform in New York, Chicago, Dallas, California, Nashville, Portland, Seattle, and Nebraska. A selection of U.S. reviews can be seen on the Company’s website ( Other recent tours have included performances in Russia, where the Company represented Britain at Moscow’s first International Festival of Contemporary Dance, as well as in China, Holland, Germany, South East Asia, and Greece.

In 2006, the Company performed the closing piece of the Sadler’s Wells gala marking the retirement of Dance Umbrella’s founding Artistic Director Val Bourne. In 2007, the Company was nominated for two South Bank Show awards.

In building its repertoire, Richard Alston Dance Company focuses on Alston’s new choreography but combines this with the re-creation of seminal past works from Alston’s career. Music plays a vital part in the Company’s identity and since its inception Alston has used the work of a diverse range of composers including Brahms, Britten, Hoagy Carmichael, Astor Piazzolla, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Shostakovich and Stravinsky, to name just a few.

Richard Alston choreographed his first work as one of the original students at the London School of Contemporary Dance. He went on to choreograph for London Contemporary Dance Theatre before forming Britain’s first independent dance company, Strider, in 1972. In 1975, he left for New York to study at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio and upon his return two years later, Alston worked throughout the U.K. and Europe as an independent choreographer and teacher.”

In 1980, Alston was appointed resident choreographer with Ballet Rambert and served as the company’s artistic Director from 1986 to 1992. He created 25 works for Rambert in addition to being commissioned to create works for the Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Ballet. In 2009 he choreographed Carmen for the Scottish Ballet.

In 1992, Alston was invited to create a full evening of his own work for the Ballet Atlantique based in La Rochelle, France. He made another full evening of dances works for London Contemporary Dance Theatre for the 1994 Aldeburqh Festival, and from there, it was therefore a logical next step to to form his own company, which he did when he took up the post of artistic director of The Place in 1994. The Richard Alston Dance Company was launched at The Place in November of that same year. Over the past 16 years, Alston has created more than 30 pieces for his company.

Alston was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Dance at Surrey University in 1992, and in 2003 he received an honorary M.A. from University College Chichester. In 1995, he was named Chevalier dans I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of his work in France. In 2001, he received the CBE in the New Year Honours list. More recently, he was appointed Chair of Youth Dance England in 2009.

Purchase tickets: Call 206-543-4880 (TTD 206-616-8574). Or order online at Tickets also may be purchased in person at the UW Arts Ticket Office, located at 4001 University Way NE. Or fax your order to the Ticket Office at 206-685-4141. Tickets are subject to availability. Artists, dates, programs, and prices are subject to change.

Student and senior discounts: Students with valid student IDs may purchase $20 advance student tickets to any UW World Series event, subject to availability. Half-price, cash-only rush tickets are available to students and seniors (age 60 and up) 30 minutes before curtain at the Meany Hall Box Office, also subject to availability.

Location and parking: Meany Hall is located on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington, on 15th Avenue NE between NE 40th and 41st Streets. Parking for Meany Hall is available in the Central Parking Garage (entrance at 15th Avenue and 41st Street). On-street metered parking is also available.

Special needs: The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education, and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at least 10 days in advance of the event you are attending: 206-543-6450 (voice), 206-543-6452 (TTY), 206-685-7264 (fax), or

Special thanks: Thanks to Seattle Weekly for its promotional support of this UW World Series dance event.”