Richard Alston CBE is to step aside in November as Artistic Director of leading contemporary dance organisation The Place in London, UK. Alston, who has held the position since 1994 will be seventy in late October and wishes to concentrate his energy on leading Richard Alston Dance Company towards its 25th anniversary in 2020.
Alston says ‘I never imagined that at this age I would still be the Artistic Director of The Place. The Place is a pioneering institution driving forward innovation in dance, it feels fitting that as I turn 70 I should step aside. As Artistic Director of The Place I have enjoyed my links with London Contemporary Dance School and its students and I am particularly pleased to continue this relationship.
I remain Artistic Director of the Richard Alston Dance Company and this autumn we will be touring again with a wonderful set of dancers and a new commission for Edinburgh Festival Theatre to start the tour off. I firmly believe that The Place has a very bright future and under the leadership of Clare Connor, our new Chief Executive and Interim Principal of London Contemporary Dance School, and I am absolutely confident that The Place’s future is in the best of hands.’
Born in Sussex in 1948, Richard was educated at Eton where he discovered his passion for music. He then studied fine art and theatre design at Croydon College of Art in 1965, before becoming one of the very first students at the newly established London Contemporary Dance School in 1967. The Place has always supported artists who want to take their own independent course, amongst the first was Richard Alston. Twenty two years later in 1994 Alston returned to The Place as Artistic Director and formed the resident Richard Alston Dance Company.
Most widely known for his highly musical choreographic output over the last 50 years, Alston has played an essential part in developing dance talent across the nation. Through his guidance over the last 25 years, The Place has developed initiatives that inspire young people, taking them on a journey from their first experience of dance to becoming professional dance makers. Alston has been a passionate supporter of lifelong learning and the educational potential of dance. His choreography has been an essential part of the GCSE and A-Level dance curriculum for many years.
‘Alston has been an outstanding Artistic Director, who has contributed indelibly to the nation’s enjoyment of dance. He has inspired countless generations of dancers, choreographers and audiences with enormous generosity and an exceptional ability to bring joy through the expression of music in movement. At The Place he has been instrumental in delivering our ethos of supporting dance development through having professionals learning alongside students, the public and young people who might be taking their first steps in dance. Alston will continue to be a key member of The Place leading our resident dance company and teaching at London Contemporary Dance School.’ Clare Connor, Chief Executive of The Place and Interim Principal London Contemporary Dance School.