A dancer's day

If they are not on tour, Richard Alston Dance Company rehearse in Studio 8 at The Place Monday to Friday from August to late June. 

11:00-12:30 Class

The day begins with morning class. The Company alternate between contemporary and ballet classes. These are taught by Richard Alston, the Rehearsal Director and regular or guest teachers.
The class gives dancers a chance to work on any corrections to their technique and gauge how their bodies feel. Experienced dancers know their bodies very well and can pay attention to muscles that may need to be warmed up more thoroughly.  If a dancer is injured, they will see the company physiotherapist and will be given rehabilitative exercises to work on.


12:30-12:45 Break


12:45-14:00 Rehearsals

The dancers are always striving to strengthen their performances and because the company tours several pieces of repertoire that can change from venue to venue, regular rehearsals of the pieces they are currently performing are important. There may be cast changes to consider or corrections from a recent performance. Repetition of certain phrases of movement, or in fact, an entire piece, also helps the company feel secure in their delivery once on stage.  Because Alston’s choreography is so specific to his chosen music, the company regularly discusses how they are interpreting the phrasing and timing which is particularly important when performing in unison.

14:00-15:00 Lunch

Dancers use a lot of energy throughout the day and need a proper break to re-fuel with a healthy meal. They often eat in the Green Room, which is their break room or sometimes go to a local cafe. For more information on eating healthily, download our Healthy Dancer resource.

15:00-16:30 Rehearsals

The dancers go back into the studio. On some days they use the entire allocated time to rehearse one piece, while at other times the Rehearsal Director may split the time up to work with only one or two dancers or on shorter pieces.

While the company’s main base is Studio 8, or the Robert Cohan Studio, they often share studio space with London Contemporary Dance School and so two rehearsals can be going on at the same time. Sometimes Richard Alston is in one rehearsal while the Rehearsal Director is in the other. At other times the dancers in one studio are working on their own learning repertoire, making use of videos from past performances.


16:30-16:45 Break


16:45-18:15 Rehearsals

Occasionally, if not all the dancers are needed, some will finish earlier than others. They often use this time to have a long stretch, do some strengthening exercises or grab a space on one of the stretching zones at The Place to practice small details of the movement they have been working on during the day, exploring the dynamics and improving through repetition.
Like earlier rehearsals in the day, this session can be used to rehearse one large group piece, or be broken up into smaller sessions to rehearse several different groups. By the end of the day, a dancer may have finally worked out why a specific step is so tricky, a group may have agreed on timings for a section of a piece and Richard Alston may have finished a new section to a new work. Each day is a little bit different but it’s always productive and always hard work.