On tour

Typical tour day

Richard Alston Dance Company tours widely both nationally and internationally. With a season that includes cities like Edinburgh, Norwich, Cheltenham and Poole, the dancers’ tour schedules are kept as tight as possible.

Sometimes a venue is close enough to the company’s home in London to allow for return travel on the same day, other times a venue is so far away there are dedicated travel days. Because of this and the wide reach of the tour, each performing day is different.  Below is a description of what an average day might look like with variations based on whether the company are travelling on the performance day, travelling on separate days and if there is a second performance.

Travelling on the performance day

Each company member will have a schedule for the venue they are going to as well as train tickets to get them there. The company always travels to each city together.  Dancers use the time on the train differently. Some watch films on their laptops, some read, some catch up with each other or with work and depending on how busy their schedule has been, others will catch up on sleep.

Travelling on separate day to performance

If the company have a travel day before the performance day, they will usually have a few hours in their studio at The Place for class and may fit in some extra rehearsals.  When the company arrives at their destination, they check in at their hotel, have dinner and prepare themselves for the following day.

Performance Day

13:00

When the company arrive at the performance venue, they have a call time for class on stage to warm up.   The time can vary a bit depending on whether or not the company have just got off a train or are arriving from their hotel.
 
After class, they have a ‘tech run’ for each piece that will be performed later. This gives the dancers time to become acquainted with the space and for the technical crew to ensure that all their work the day before in setting up the theatre, has paid off. If there are any problems with lighting or musical cues, this is the time to address them.
 

17:30

After the ‘tech run’, the company and crew have a break before the evening’s performance. Each dancer likes to use this time differently and some prefer to be on their own, while others may go for a bite to eat together.
 

18:30

This is the hour call before the performance. The dancers share changing rooms where they get changed into costumes, apply makeup and check hair. With the curtain to the stage down, they can use this space to warm up or sometimes use the corridors or a green room backstage to prepare.
 

19:30

A Richard Alston Dance Company performance usually includes three to four pieces. Because each piece is different, with big and small casts, some dancers may perform in every piece in one night while others may perform in one or two.  Speakers in the changing rooms let dancers hear what is happening on stage and receive announcements from members of the stage management team so they know how far into a piece the dancers on stage are, or when an interval is ending.
 

21:30

After taking their final bows, the dancers work quickly to change out of costumes, take make up off and leave stage door. If they aren’t travelling until the following day, or they have a second performance the following night, they may head out for a bite to eat and then back to their hotel to get a good night’s sleep.  If they are travelling straight back to London, they’ll race to the station to catch a train.
 

Second Performance Day

Richard Alston Dance Company often performs for more than one night at the venues they tour to. The dancers are usually given their call time for the second day after the first night’s performance. The time may be earlier or later than their call time on the first day depending on whether Richard Alston or Martin Lawrance have many performance notes.  Sometimes the company may need to rehearse a section of a piece before the performance. Other times, dancers don’t need to be at the theatre until 15:00 or 16:00 before everything starts all over again.