Sir Richard Alston, Knighted in the 2019 Honours choreographed his first work in 1968. He went on to choreograph for Robert Cohan’s London Contemporary Dance Theatre before forming Britain’s first independent dance company, Strider, in 1972. In 1975 he came to New York to study for two years. His teachers included Merce Cunningham, Carolyn Brown, Viola Farber, Valda Setterfield, Gus Solomons Jr. and Alfredo Corvino.
On his return to Europe he worked internationally as choreographer and teacher. In 1980 he was appointed Resident Choreographer of Ballet Rambert, becoming the company’s Artistic Director from 1986-1992. During his time there he created 25 works for Rambert, besides being commissioned to create works for the Royal Danish Ballet (Dances from the Kingdom of Pagodas, 1982) and the Royal Ballet (Midsummer, 1983). As Artistic Director of Rambert, he commissioned work from Merce Cunningham (Touchbase, 1991); Lucinda Childs (Four Elements, 1988, designed by the painter Jennifer Bartlett); and David Gordon (Mates, 1987). In the repertoire also were Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies, Merce Cunningham’s Septet and Doubles, Trisha Brown’s Opal Loop, and Frederick Ashton’s Capriol Suite.
In 1994 he formed his own company, where he took up the post of Artistic Director of The Place until 2018. Over the past 24 years, Alston has made over 37 pieces for his company which closed in 2020. He made his first commissioned work for New York Theatre Ballet, A Rugged Flourish, in 2011 and his second The Seasons in 2018. He has also remounted Light Flooding into Darkened Rooms and Such Longing for NYTB.