It was an earlier start than usual on the morning of 12th February! I’m used to 8am wake up calls, a slow start and a 9.30am lecture… a 7am wake up call and a 8am train to Manchester wasn’t as painful as I expected it to be and unbelievably worth it!
Laura, Charlie and myself met at Manchester Piccadilly ready to board the extremely cosy and super speedy Virgin train to London Euston. Even though, I have been to London as a tourist numerous times, I have never travelled there via train therefore this was a new experience for me. Joint with the idea of visiting a real life dance company meant it was safe to say I was incredibly excited!
We spent the train journey discussing the unknown, what we thought we would gain from the visit and what we hoped to learn. We also spoke about our interests whilst researching more about Richard Alston, his company and The Place. I attempted to recall as much knowledge from my A-level dancing days, I studied Richard Alston and his Soda Lake rendition, I hoped my understanding of his choreography and style would come in handy at some point during the day.
Upon arrival at London Euston, we set out with Charlie’s map and our excellent directional skills were proven when we made it to The Place in less than 5 minutes, arriving with perfect timing! I was still impressed that I could and was, just popping to London for the day!
Jack Wright and Katherine Rothman came to meet us in the reception and they spoke us through our visit to the company (whilst we sat comfortably on a stretching area, I felt very at home!). Jack is the marketing officer at Richard Alston’s Dance Company; examples of his work include organising the tour, the venues involved with RADC’s tour, the social media accounts for the company (Twitter and Facebook) and any other form of promotion e.g. working with The Lowry Youth Dance Ambassadors! Jack spoke to us about our aims and objectives for the visit – we told him about our blog, the interview we wished to film and post online and the amount of conversation we hoped to create amongst young people about the company and their tour. Katherine is the ‘Essential Alston’ programme leader; ‘Essential Alston’ is the education and extensive outreach programme that offers workshops, resources and talks with the aim to share what the company does with others and enable them to learn about Richard Alston Dance Company. Katherine organises and promotes this programme; she takes bookings and is the point of call for any information regarding ‘Essential Alston’.
It then reached rehearsal time! I was incredibly excited to witness first hand the rehearsal process of a professional company and in particular, a company that I had studied. During the rehearsal we were lucky enough to enjoy conversation with Richard Alston and another choreographer within the company, Martin Lawrance, who has choreographed the work ‘Madcap’ in this year’s season. We even got to experience Richard Alston doing what he does best as he brought another of his visions to life through an alteration of movement paths, I was extremely impressed and gained a huge amount from the opportunity! I will definitely, 100%, without a doubt, be going to see the company’s performance of the works; Shimmer, Madcap and Devil in the Detail at The Lowry on 19th March. The works are incredibly varied and each takes on a different mood/atmosphere, they all have different paces and evoke different emotions from their audience. The company’s dance technique advocates their hard work and commitment to their practice, their incredible performance skills prove their determination to achieve perfection through continuous rehearsal and dedication; it is one not to be missed!
After the rehearsal we interviewed two of the dancers, Liam Riddick and Nancy Nerantzi. Liam attended the London School of Contemporary Dance that is located within the same building as the company, The Place. Richard Alston described how he saw Liam in a class during his first year and appreciated his style and his suitability for the company. Richard spoke about how important the dancers style and how they interpret movement is because he simply describes the movements he has choreographed and how the dancers execute them determines how they look and in turn, the end result of the piece. Liam graduated from LSCD in 2010 and auditioned for Richard Alston’s company where he became an apprentice straight away; he continued this for a year and has been a full time dancer for the company for two years since. Nancy is originally from Greece, she studied at The Place in 2007 for a year before doing various different things, she was an apprentice at The National Dance Company of Wales for a year, she then did some work with a company in Geneva before moving back to Greece to continue work with a company there. This is where she worked with Richard Alston and he suggested for her to audition for his company and now she is in her second year with Richard Alston’s company.
We asked the two dancers a variety of questions; here is the interview video!
I left The Place feeling extremely privileged to have been able to attend the infamous building and in particular, the department that houses Richard Alston’s Dance Company. I really appreciated how open everyone at the company was and the insight they allowed us have into the organisation. Devil in the Detail, Shimmer and Madcap are professional works that are NOT to be missed! The company executes these performances with sheer perfection and extremely impressive choreography.
Don’t forget to get your tickets before they sell out – Tuesday 19th March, The Lowry.
**Under 26 offer – £5 tickets for anyone under 26! **
**Call the box office on 0843 208 6000 to claim**