Roughcut (1990)

Created for
Rambert Dance Company
 
Music
Steve Reich
New York Counterpoint (1985) and Electric Counterpoint (1987)
 
Lighting
Charles Balfour
 
Premiere
7 December 1990
 
First performed by Richard Alston Dance Company
7 October 1999
 
Roughcut (1990) is a classic Alston piece now performed on a bare, opened out stage. When it was originally created for Rambert Dance Company, a set of metal pipes hung from the ceiling creating a changeable atmosphere that the company danced around.
 
Choreographed to minimalist composer Steve Reich’s Electric and New York Counterpoints, it is full of exhilarating movement, rhythmic playfulness and is a fantastic comparison piece for Overdrive (2003).
 

Speaking on BBC3's In Tune in February 2012, Alston said of Roughcut:
 

"There’s always that component [of wanting to instinctively move] to the music I choose. When I heard Electric Counterpoint, I thought ‘you can’t sit still to this’ and that gut reaction is the beginning of everything…it has to be there."

"Dance is quite an instinctive activity and I’m very taken with and obsessed with the spontaneity of dance…I want it to look always as if they’ve just heard the music and it makes them want to do ‘this’. So they’re flying around. It’s called Roughcut because it’s not particularly cleaned up and ordered; it springs along.  I think of that music as a kind of multi-layered trampoline, this wonderful lively bouncy surface that they can jump through and turn and leap- all the things that I like dancers to do."