Rosemary Lee is a choreographer, director and performer. Over the past thirty years, she has created works ranging from live performances that are often site-specific and involve a cross-section of the community (both professional and non-professional dancers) to dance films and installations.
Resonant with humanity, her work is characterised by an interest in creating a moving portraiture of both individuals and of the close performing communities she brings together. Regardless of the scale of these projects she creates a unique intimacy within her cast and with her audience whilst also exploring and highlighting our relationship with our surroundings.
Rosemary's recent live and film projects have been both site-specific and involved large casts of professional and untrained dancers of all ages: Common Dance (Dance Umbrella 2009) explored our commonality and was a tribute to the now rare ‘common’ land where people were free to gather. Square Dances (Dance Umbrella, 2011) used four London Squares-‘common’ green spaces in London to gather in a different and innovative way with casts of 100 women, 10 children, 35 men and 25 students. Melt Down a deceptively simple but powerful work created for the cast of men, now tours CTG internationally, the work is recreated for a new site and cast of local performers in each location. For the City of Culture in Derry 2013 Rosemary created a large scale enveloping seven-screen video installation capturing a unique panoramic view of Derry and its inhabitants. She involved over 400 people in the making of this ambitious work Without. Under the Vaulted Sky (IF:Milton Keynes International Festival 2014) revealed the ethereal quality of the Cathedral of Trees, an arboretum planted in the footprint of Norwich Cathedral and involved over 80 performers. With the same performers in this vernal cathedral she created the award winning triptych video installation Liquid Gold is the Air with film-maker Roswitha Chesher, currently touring churches, cathedrals and galleries.
Calling Tree (2014) co-created with movement artist Simon Whitehead, takes place in a mature sentinel tree in an urban setting. Performers call, sing, whisper and dance within the canopy of the tree, surprising unsuspecting passers-by and encouraging them to stop, look up and pay attention. Each manifestation of Calling Tree is created especially for the tree and its surroundings, tailoring the work to respond to the various communities- human and non human, that share the surroundings with the tree.
Passage for Par (Groundwork, 2018) Rosemary’s latest work was especially created for Par Sands and 30 women who slowly snaked across the expansive wet sand over two hours. This mesmerising work invites the audience to experience the site anew whilst illustrating the enduring strength of the collective of women. Rosemary is planning to find new sites and contexts to develop the work for.
Rosemary is known for her desire and ability to articulate and share her practice, inviting various experts and researchers from other fields to contribute to innovative websites, interactive DVDs, writings and events. A ground breaking DVD and symposium (co-curated with Martin Welton, Queen Mary's University of London) entitled On Taking Care (2012) drew on the process of making Common Dance and explored care in a variety of contexts. Rosemary also writes, guest teaches and lectures internationally. Recipient of both a Bonnie Bird Award and a Jerwood Choreographic Research Project Award in 2013, she is currently an Artsadmin artist, a Work Place artist, a Senior Research Fellow at C-DaRE Coventry University, a ResCen Research Associate Artist Middlesex University, holds an honorary doctorate from Roehampton University and is an honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban.
“Accessible and luminous, her work is distinguished by a simplicity of movement and highlights the humanity of the performer.”
–Gary Carter, Theatre Director
If I declare that Rosemary Lee’s the real deal, what do I really mean? Simply that this exceptional ‘maker’ – to use Rosemary’s own label of choice – must now rank as one of the most gifted, level-headed and articulate artists in the UK.”
– Donald Hutera, Animated
“Lee’s genius – and I use the word carefully – is to modulate and sculpt her choreography to the dancers before her with a simplicity that makes the movement seem wholly natural and life-enhancing, for participant and spectator alike.…. the performances that emerge are astounding.”
– Carole Woddis, Reviews Gate