(b Stoughton, 30 Oct. 1948)
British dancer, choreographer, and director. He gave up art college to study dance, entering the London School of Contemporary Dance in 1967. In 1970 he joined London Contemporary Dance Theatre and in the same year began to create works for the company. In 1972 he formed Strider, a small independent group performing works by him and other company members, and in 1975 he left for New York to study with Cunningham, returning to London in 1977 to form his own company. In 1980 he was made associate choreographer of Ballet Rambert and in 1982 he was co-founder of Second Stride, though he withdrew after two seasons. In 1986 he became Rambert's artistic director, and was responsible for changing the company's name to Rambert Dance Company and for shifting the repertoire from dramatic to more abstract dance, bringing in works from Cunningham, T. Brown, and Childs, as well as his own new creations. He left in 1993 and a year later formed the Richard Alston Dance Company based at The Place. Alston's early style reflected the influence of Cunningham in its clarity of line and fascination with pure dance, but it has also absorbed elements of English lyricism, notably the Ashton tradition, and in contrast to Cunningham has consistently drawn its inspiration from music. Much of the repertory has been set to contemporary scores, including Wildlife (mus. Nigel Osborne, des. Richard Smith, 1984), Soda Lake (des. Nigel Hall, 1981), Pulcinella (mus. Stravinsky, des. Howard Hodgkin, 1987), Hymnos (mus. Peter Maxwell Davies, 1988), Bach Measures (mus. Harrison Birtwistle, 1996), Red Run (mus. Heiner Goebbels, 1998), and Nigredo (mus. Simon Holt, 2007) although Alston has also set works to classical composers, including Mozart, Dealing with Shadows (1990), Rameau, Brisk Singing (1997), and Ravel, Shimmer (2003). He has additionally created works for companies including Ballet Atlantique, the Royal Ballet, Ballet Theatre Munich, and Scottish Ballet, for whom Alston created Carmen (mus. Shchedrin-Bizet) in 2009.
http://www.theplace.org.uk Website for the Place Theatre, with link to Alston's company