Glasgow audiences caught a tantalising glimpse of the National Dance Company Wales (NDCW) last June, when they were part of the DanceGB showcase that made choreographic sport with the theme of London's 2012 Olympics.

The Welsh element provided a witty, tender evocation of a 1950s' rural community, where - as imagined in Christopher Bruce's Dream - the jolly, amateur races morph into golden achievement. Light-hearted, humorous and with some clever surprises, Bruce's Dream is on the NDCW programme opening at Glasgow's Theatre Royal tonight.

The puzzle, however, is that the internationally-acclaimed company has never come to Glasgow in its own right. Aberdeen? Yes. Dundee and Edinburgh too. But never Glasgow, which is ironic given that co-founder and artistic director Ann Sholem was with Scottish Ballet during the pioneering Darrell days. Sholem's chuckle recognises the coincidences and aberrations, but adopting the principle of "better late than never" she's glad that Glasgow is part of the company's 30th anniversary circuit - and about to see a triple bill that sums up so much of the artistic vision that NCDW (formerly Diversions Dance) has cherished from the start.

"As well as the piece Christopher Bruce made on us for Dance GB last year, we've got a new work, created specifically for us by Stephen Petronio, and a real classic, Noces, by Angelin Preljocaj," says Sholem. "And in a way that sums up what we're about. As a company, we've always felt more connected with Europe - and America - than with London. We knew when we started out that London was likely to think of Diversions as parochial - a small company, coming from Wales, and so not 'in the swim' of what was radical or even mainstream contemporary."

So NCDW's recent accolades at London's Linbury Studio are doubly pleasing to her? "Oh, absolutely, but only because our dancers deserved to be seen there. I'm just as thrilled that we'll be part of the British Dance Edition being held in Scotland next year. It's important for us, as a national company, to be highly rated within the UK."

National - with purpose-built headquarters in Cardiff's Millennium Centre - but still independently-minded enough to keep commissioning new work from outsiders like New York's Stephen Petronio.

"We've built up a really good relationship with Stephen," says Sholem. "Every time he comes, he's clear that he wants the work to be relevant to us. Three years ago, he based By Singing Light on the work of Dylan Thomas. This time he said: 'The other thing I think of in Wales is water' - not our rainfall, but our lakes, rivers and streams. So he made Water Stories for us, with a lyrical quality that some people might not expect from a New Yorker known for his fast, physical, even brutal choreography."

London-based choreographer Richard Alston is known, and applauded wherever his company goes, for his intuitive musicality. Britten's Holderlin Fragments is probably not as familiar as Lachrymae or Les Illuminations - also part of the mixed bill at Glasgow's Theatre Royal later this week - but for Alston it's a welcome chance to introduce an audience to music he regards as beautiful. "It really should be known and appreciated more."

Why isn't it? "When they were first done," Alston says, "it wasn't all that long after the Second World War and I suspect people were resistant to German poetry. Even when it was set so brilliantly by Britten.

"I think that when Britten read Holderlin's poems, he recognised that what was being expressed is an awareness, an appreciation of innocence and beauty we rarely address now. It's out of fashion to believe in its existence."

Although this programme celebrates the centenary of Britten's birth, and nods at the passion for his music that was kindled in Alston as a young boy hearing the War Requiem, the opening piece, Brink, is by Martin Lawrance.

And it so happens that Lawrance choreographed the Scottish Ballet section for that Dance GB event last year - a neat twist to this week's dance at the Theatre Royal.

National Dance Company Wales is at Glasgow's Theatre Royal tonight and tomorrow and Richard Alston Dance Company visits the venue on Friday.