Choreography: Richard Alston
Music: Steve Reich, Proverb
Music by arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes
Lighting: Kate Elliott
Costumes: Peter Todd

The Proverb of the title is a single line of text from Ludwig Wittgenstein – ‘how small a thought it takes to fill a whole life’. In the Reich music the vocal style is very much influenced by the harmonies and dissonances of mediaeval singing but the underlying vibraphones give a sense of urgency which propels the voices forward.Proverb made me think of the anonymous but extraordinarily skilled artisans of the Middle Ages who worked, often at real risk to their lives, on the adventurous experiments which produced the great European cathedrals. That sense of courageous and committed teamwork carried out in blind faith is in the imagery of the choreography. I made Proverb for Steve Reich’s seventieth birthday celebrations. I love the music and indeed the dance and have revived it for my own seventieth birthday. – Richard Alston First performed at The Barbican on 28 September 2006.

Dance commissioned by barbicanbite06.