65-85 practitioners


HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Ella
  • Created on: 31-05-12 20:11

Richard Alston

Richard Alston combines the innovative and temporal expectations we have of 'contemporary' choreographers. His career epitomizes the changing aesthetics and politics that have shaped British dance since the 1960's.
As a student of the LSCD he was one of the first in Britain to benefit from a systematic training in modern dance.
The Breadth of training appealed most to Alston and choreography was his main interest.
He experimented with a range of techniques and structures and was regarded as the first rebel.
Originally, his decision to eschew the current 'contemporary dance' form was marked with theme rather than content. Alston chose to create works about dancing itself.
His emphasis on movement (motion not emotion) links with his choreography to the work of Balanchine, Cunningham and Ashton in his plotless ballets.
Alston became more experienced in developing the dance elements themselves as themes. His structures became more complex.
Alston uses repetition as a main structuring device. He attempts to aid perception and continuity by repeating key material.
To dance Alston's style, dancers must be co-ordinated and have the ability to move easily, slowly or at great speed. 
His interest in visual arts had begun even earlier. He studied art before dance.
He founded Strider, the first company formed by an ex LCDT memeber.
In 1982, he co-founded Second Stride with Spink and Davies. Different working associations strengthened Alston choreographically which, in the long term, was advantageous for the Rambert Company.
The years of Alston's directorship were the least distingushed choreographically.


1 of 16

Alston studied at LSCD from 1967.

He choreographed for LCDT between 1970 and 1972.

He choreographed for Strider between 1972 and 1975.

He studied with Cunningham in New York from the year 1975 until 1977. 

He was resident choreographer for Ballet Rambert between 1980 and 1986.

He was artistic director at Ballet Rambert between 1986 and 1992.

Founder of Richard Alston Dance Company.

2 of 16

Christopher Bruce maintains that his ballets are not essentially about movement but about ideas. They may not have an obvious story line and may be episodic in structure, but they generally include dramatic or emotive elements that make an immediate impact on the audience.
His pieces portray recognisable experiences and things that are open to a variety of interpretations. He prefers his audience to watch them with no preconcieved opinions. He also avoids programme notes and unexplanitory titles.
His concern is to create a dance, not a statement.
Bruce was trained in ballet, tap and acrobatics. He was accepted into the Rambert School.
He was exposed to narrative works and understanding the universal drama of Antony Tudor. Graham technique became part of his experience.
he danced the lead role in Pierrot Lunaire and was recognised as a great dancer.
Tetly encouraged Bruce in his first choreography 'Wings' in 1970.  
Bruce didnt copy other choreographers, he found encouragement from their creative range.
From the mid 1970's, Bruce became more confident in choosing scores for example ghost dances in 1984.  

3 of 16

He never puts epic work on stage, preferring to select themes that can be successfully conveyed in dance.
The subject matter of Bruce's work had attracted attention because it reflects his sensitive awareness of the larger social, political and ecological issues. He said 'I dont do things to get social messages across; these things just come naturally out of me.'
In less harrowing but nethertheless intense works such as intimite pages, the central, strong woman provides the emotional force for the work.
His creativeness is strongly autobiographical.
Settings for Bruces productions are uncluttered but apt, allowing space for movement.
His choreography combines elements of varied styles he has worked with, usually based on classical and contemporary dance. He also incorporates popular and folk dance into some pieces.
Much of his working life has been based at Rambert but he spent a decade as a freelance choreographer.
His production may have a serious message or be comic, but Bruce never loses awareness of the fact that he is working in a theatre.  

4 of 16

He studied at the Ballet Rambert School.

He joined Ballet Rambert in 1963, becoming a lead dancer in modern roles in 1966.

He became a choreographer for Ballet Rambert in 1969.

He was associate choreographer from 75 to 87 and associate director from 75 until 79.

5 of 16

He became responsible for the development of the Graham technique at LSCD and LCDT.
The distinct strain that Cohan developed - one in which the Graham contraction was less percussive and less overtly emotive, and movements in general appeared less anchored to the floor - was shaped through his classes and choreography.
He continued his link with the company indirectly, through teaching at the Graham School and, in 1959, by drawing on his colleges to set up Robert Cohan Dance Company, this increased his choreographic opportunities.
In 1966, Howard appointed Cohan Director of the Trust. By 1967, Graham's technique was familiar to British students, mainly through Howard's efforts.  
Cohan became director of LCDT for two decades.
Initially, Cohan combined his pioneering work in London with continued performances as a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company. He travelled back and forth for 2 years before opting for full-time commitment to the Contemporary Dance Trust.
Cell was created for the first season of performances at The Place in September 1969
Though Cohan modified Graham's technique, he continued many of her choreographic concerns. Many of his sets have incorporated striking, 3D sets.
In 1979, he initiated a series of residencies in the North of England. His aim was to increase access and audiences.  

6 of 16

He chose not to create climaxes to order. This would influence Forest, the work that emerged from LCDT's next series of residencies.
Where previously his works had been mainly episodic (for example Waterless Method and Cell) Forest introduced a more linear progression. Sections connected or overlapped in one continuous, onward flow, and although Cohan continued to juxtapose contrasting action in subsequent works.
Another policy he pursued during his dictatorship of LCDT concerned in-house choreographers.
His encouragement of new talent from within the company helped to produce two generations of contemporary choreographers. Cohan provided Alston with his first professional opportunities and, in 1974, he appointed 2 LCDT dancers (North and Davies) as his associate choreographers.  

7 of 16

Studied at Martha Graham School, New York.

Danced with the Martha Graham Company from 1946 to 1957.

Presented his first choreography in 1955.

Danced in Musicals after 1957.

Became co-director of Graham's company in 1962.

In 1966, he was invited to be artistic director of LSCD and director of the Trust in 1967.

He was chief choreographer at LCDT between 1969 and 1987. 

8 of 16

She was one of Britian's leading choreographers of modern dance. Her work encapsulates contemporary dilemma between meaning and abstraction, showing the modernist tradition of strong dance values while sharing in dances recent commitment to narrative. 
She experiments using the intimacy of small independent dance companies, Second Stride and Siobhan Davies Dance Company. 
While Davies resudes to join the issue-based, politically overt tradition of the younger generation of choreographers, with it's narrative-based structures she also demonstrates the impossibility of abstraction in dance. She always keeps her plots extremely simple.
Davies puts forward a regular, symmetrical, formal proposition through which to develop the story, the man and woman taking 'learned' movement ideas from one encounter onto the next.
Davies has developed sophisticated techniques of cross-referencing and weaving together material. 
The continuing tension between narrative and abstraction is clearly illuminated through Davies's developing of vocabulary and syntax over the years. Following the path of many other choreographers, her first task in her earliest piece was to find an alternative to the Graham-based language in which she was trained.  

9 of 16

At first she wanted her dance to establish its own rhythms based on breath- or body-timing rather than on musical phrasing or motor pulse. Once she felt more secure in her talents, though, she welcomed the challenge of other media. 
Davies's minimal design element in the 1970's distinguished her from most other LCDT choreographers. It was when she began to introduce narrative into her works that design became more prominent, and the costumes, less dancelike and more human.  

10 of 16

Siobhan Davies studied at LSCD between 1967 and 1971.

She was an apprentice dancer at LCDT from 1969.

She danced with Ballet for All in 1971.

She was associate choreographer for LCDT in 1974.

She was joint director of Second Stride between 1981 and 1986.

She was a resident choreographer for LCDT between 1983 and 1987.x

11 of 16

Robert North

He's and ecletic choreographer whose work sits happily in the repertory of both classical and contemporary companies. He is not a choreographer of great individuality, but one whose work appeals to a wide audience. In his shorter works, whether they have a narrative or not, the focus is on the choreography as a response to the music used.
He quickly rebelled against gimmicks on dance for their own sake, and derived little pleasure from post modern dance.
He spent 2 years at the Royal Ballet Upper School and also studied contemporary dance at the newly formed London Contemporaty Dance School, and appeared in London Contemporary Dance's first London season in 1967.
He was attracted to work with Ballet Rambert, where he was artistic director from 1981 to 1986, because of the dancers' strong classical training and because of the companies rich musical resources.
North's choreography draws on a range of styles, notably jazz and flamenco. His Lonely Town, Lonely Street (in 1980), once described as 'slick and fast and eminently watchable, is dedicated to his jazz teacher.
North's first major success was 'Troy Game', a work that secured in the repertory of numerous companies.

12 of 16

He was born in America but grew up in Britain.

He studied at the Royal Ballet School between 1965 and 1967.

He studied at London Contemporary Dance School from 1966 and later studied with Graham and Cunningham in the States.

He danced with London Contemporary Dance Group in 1967.

He danced with the Martha Graham Company between 1968 and 1969.

He danced in the London Contemporary Dance Theatre in 1969 and became associate choreographer in 1975.

He was also a guest choreographer at Ballet Rambert.

Co-artisic director for LCDT in 1981.

He was artistic director for Ballet Rambert.

13 of 16

Glen Tetley

His success is as natural to some as it is controversial or even outragous to others. In the US he was repeatedly charged with pointlessness and gratuitous sensuality. 
He was known for be able to revivfy classical companies in the 1960's with a judicious injection of modern dance.
Bridging the reacherous gap between classical and contemporary dance is difficult, and one of the keys to Tetley's success in the classical world is the cleanness and precision of his technique.
Graham taught him to open up and let the emotional quality take control of the movement. This resulted in a powerful mix in his own choreography which demands expressivness.
His style demands a fluid, expressive torso, which poses a great challenge for classically trained dancers.
Moreover, it is nearly always classically trained dancers he choreographs for.
His democracy, technical soundness and wide range of movement vocabulary are obvious in his pieces.
he said he had to learn everything 'to survive'. 
He was American. 

14 of 16

Martha Graham

In March 1954, Martha Grahams company performed in Britain for the first time.

In the US a show would only be performed once in each town because modern dance didn’t attract large audiences. 

Dancers in NY thought London was the most important place to be accepted. Grahams company opened at the Saville Theatre for a 2 week season. However, critics were very negative towards the ‘bare-foot dance’.

Robert Cohan said that they were devastated after being told that they had no technique and the dances were ugly, boring and stupid. 

One day there was an audience of just 30 people. However in this audience were a few people who would change the face of modern dance. One was Richard Buckle who praised Martha Grahams dance in the Observer.

15 of 16

Robin Howard

He wasn’t a dancer but a huge ballet fan,

It was almost completely because of his enthusiasm and generosity that persuaded Graham to return to London nine years later in 1963. 

He said he was bored of seeing the same ballets performed time after time. He said he was ‘completely bowled over’ by Grahams company. 

Upon hearing that Grahams tour was going to end in Germany in 1963 and not visit the UK he was disappointed and so arrange for them to perform in the Edinburgh Festival and then in London. 

As luck had it there was a number of people in key positions who wanted to help.

The season at Edinburgh was extremely successful and brilliant reviews meant that by the time the company arrived in London the season was almost sold out. 

A new, young audience was forming for this type of dance.

16 of 16


No comments have yet been made

Similar Dance resources:

See all Dance resources »