Cultural Life: Richard Alston, Choreographer
San Francisco Ballet was recently at Sadler's Wells – the company brought nine newly commissioned ballets, which is unusual and exciting in itself. Outstanding were two seductively lyrical ballets by the British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, which gave a real sense that the dancers enjoyed working with him. In Wheeldon's Ghosts, Sofiane Sylve had a magnetic presence on stage, besides which she's a really beautiful dancer.
I've just read Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections. It's a hilariously funny book but also moving in its depiction of the agony of dealing with Alzheimer's disease. I'm also fascinated at the moment by Richard Weston's book, 100 Ideas That Changed Architecture. There are over 200 pictures and they're stunning.
I listen a lot to classical piano pieces; two pianists I particularly love are the brilliant Geza Anda, and the more idiosyncratic Christian Zacharias.
Designed To Win at the Design Museum showed how much inventive thinking has gone into enabling the human body to move ever faster. It ranges from the surreal helmets worn by track cyclists to the minimal trunks of Tom Daley.
'Richard Alston Dance Company' will tour the UK from February 2013 (www.theplace.org.uk-radc).
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