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An overview of Richard Alston's dance style, choreographic process and analysis of his 2003 work 'Overdrive'

lucy elsmore

on 7 January 2013

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Transcript of Copy of RICHARD ALSTON 'OVERDRIVE'

Style Cunningham Technique:
This is seen in the use of curves, tilts, and twists of the torso. Ballet:
This is seen in the use
of jumps,intricate footwork,
turns, batterie and use of
crossed leg lines. Release Techniques:
This is seen in the use of
fall and recovery,
relaxed upper body
and giving in to gravity. CHOREOGRAPHIC STYLE & METHODS Direct Correlation to Aural Accompaniment:
"See the music, hear the dancing" (G.Balanchine) Use of counterpoint:
groups of dancers moving through each other dancing different motifs Movement for movements sake: there is often no narrative to his works. Not Harsh:
his work is harmonious and in balance. Even in vigorous dances there is a sense of effortlessness. Complex use of structure:
Alston's work uses duets, trios and groups intertwined together. The form is balanced and structured to do this. Alston creates movement phrases and then structures them using rhythms, relationships and spatial patterns. Work: Overdrive
Date: 2003
Choreographer: Richard Alston
Music: Terry Riley Keyboard
Study #1
Dancers: 5 Men
6 Women Costumes:
3 ladies in red halter top and trousers
3 ladies in red-grey halter top and grey trousers
5 men in grey vest and grey trousers SECTION 1 ACTIONS Tilts - the body weight is off balance.

Arms extended in straight lines.

Turns - in an upright position

Jumps - these travel in space, rather than being static.

relaxed and natural use of the arms.

Leg kicks and batterie - mostly in parallel positions.

Coupe - one foot 'cuts' infront of the other. SPACE No use of downstage, movement is centre and upstage.

Precise straight pathways.

No use of floorwork. DYNAMICS Continuous, Fluid, smooth
Light, Fleeting
Bobbing, bounce, rebound RELATIONSHIPS The whole section is
danced in unison Music:
An automated recording of keyborad studies by Terry Riley.
There is a steady 9/8 meter - although the phrasing changes regularly. How does this section link
to the starting point? Starting Point:
The music was the starting point for this piece. Exploring energy and rhythm Overdrive is part of a series of works exploring music as a starting point - Raninbow Bandit (1977), Strong Language (1987), Roughcut (1990) The movement has no story.
The movement highlights moments in the music.
The movement is continuous. SECTION 11 ACTIONS SPACE DYNAMICS RELATIONSHIPS A duet between 1 lady in red and a man in grey. Duet - M/F.
Contact - lifts, leans, counter balances and pushs.
Man always lifts woman.
Counterpoint - both dance different solos at the same time.

How is this different to the section 1 duet? Leans, Tilts, twists, curves and arches of the torso.
Extended arms and legs.
Natural arms - relaxed, falling at the side.
Leg kicks in a range of directions.

Why are these key movement features of Overdrive? Downward focus is used at the start of the section.
Duet uses the whole dance space.
Circular pathways.

How is this different to the section 1 duet? Continuous and fluid flow.
Fall and recovery (bounce and rebound).
Light and effortless.
Fast and intrictate phrases.

Why are these key movement features of Overdrive? LINKS TO THE STARTING POINT What features of this section show the starting point/stimulus? How does this section show characteristics of Alston's work? Use of counterpoint - complex form and structure.
Short phrases linked together.
The movement does not tell a story or show a theme. Movement phrases follow the pattern of the music.
Movements increase in complexity to mirror the music.
The movements are energetic.
There is a natural connection between the rhythm of the music and the rhythm of the dancers. SECTION 15 & 16 LADIES IN RED LADIES IN RED/GREY MEN IN GREY LINKS TO THE STARTING POINT •Dancers gradually join in with the motif
•Dance in unison with each other
•Push red ladies to initiate movement
•Dancers mirror read lady elbow raise gesture
•Follow red ladies from USL –CS
•Join in unison with grey men
•Curve over the backs of the men and make contact to initiate movement.
•Movements compliment the group nearest them – either RL or GM
•Join with red ladies and grey men to repeat motif from section 1
•Motif tempo increases with each repetition.
•Dancers leave the stage one at a time
•Dancers all leave SR •Dance in unison with each other
•Movements initiated by blenders
•Cut through the other groups of dancers
•Arms lead the movements
•Sharp staccato motif
•Lots of swift quick steps
•Travelling on a diagonal pathway USL-DSR-USL-CS
•Join with grey men and blenders in whole group unison – motif from section 1
•Motif tempo increase with each repetition
•Dancers leave stage R one at a time. •Cumulative canon to gather dancers in.
•Static shapes that change approx. 4counts
•Dance in unison with each other
•Use small personal space
•V shape arms
•Arms – one extended, one bra barre
•Gradually becoming more fluid with phrasing linking the static shapes together
•Movement is initiated by blenders
•Join with red ladies and blenders in whole group unison – motif from section 1
•Motif tempo increases when repeated.
•Finish with reverse cumulative canon (dancers gradually disappear)
•Dancers leave stage R
•Duet from the start finish the dance Whole Group Section Including whole group Unison
Full transcript