Richard Alston choreographed his first work in 1968, formed the UK’s first independent dance group Strider in 1972 and three years later went to New York to study at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio and with Alfredo Corvino. On his return in 1977, he worked throughout the UK and Europe as an independent choreographer and teacher.

In 1980 Alston was appointed Resident Choreographer with Ballet Rambert becoming Artistic Director in 1986. In his time there he created 25 dances for the company and was also commissioned to create work for the Royal Danish Ballet (Kingdom of Pagodas 1982) and the Royal Ballet (Midsummer 1983).

In 1992 Alston left Rambert and that same year created Le Marteau Sans Maitre (to the Boulez score), for the Ballet Atlantique in France. He choreographed a full evening to Britten and Stravinsky for London Contemporary Dance Theatre at the 1994 Aldeburgh Festival and later that year started Richard Alston Dance Company when he became Artistic Director of The Place. Over 25 years Alston made more than 50 dances for his company before it folded in March 2020.

Commissions from other companies have included Ballet Theatre Munich (2006), Ballet Black (2008), Scottish Ballet (2009), New York Theatre Ballet (2011), Holland Dance Festival (2012), Phoenix Dance Theatre (2013) and in 2015 Alston restaged his Carmen for Miami City Ballet. Alston is Resident Choreographer with New York Theatre Ballet.

Alston was made Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1995 and was awarded the CBE in the New Year Honours list of 2001. He received the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in 2008 and the Award for Excellence in International Dance by the International Theatre Institute in 2012. In 2019 he received a Knighthood for Services to Dance.