Richard Alston's "Utterly exhilarating" (Sunday Times) Overdrive is back for the 2014/15 season.
"The power alliance between dance and music does, as promised, go into overdrive" Guardian
Choreography Richard Alston
Music Terry Riley Keyboard Study #1
Lighting Charles Balfour
Costumes Jeanne Spaziani
Overdrive is one of a series of pieces I made responding to the excitement and energy of pure rhythm. Rainbow Bandit (1977), Strong Language (1987) and Roughcut (1990) were all such pieces, riding swiftly along on a great tide of repeated rhythms. The rhythms in Overdrive are indeed quite relentless, and the dancers need to count them exactly, leaping from one melodic fragment to another.
Guiding us through the music are three women in red. They first appear gliding seamlessly through the space on their own. Later they repeat the same dance weaving in counter point to the five men, and eventually, right near the end of the piece, in double counterpoint to the men and the three other dancers. Each red woman also has a duet with one of the men, so they provide a sort of punctuation through the maze of complex layers of music.
It's challenging music, I admit, quite purist in its persistent progress, but I find it really exhilarating and that's what Overdrive tries to convey; if the dancers fly, then together we've hopefully made that work.
- Richard Alston
Music by kind permission of MDG. Pianist Steffen Schleiermacher. www.mdg.de
First performed by Richard Alston Dance Company at Royal & Derngate, Northampton on 3 October 2003.