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Passage
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Caught by seeing
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Beached
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the Suchness of Heni
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A Tribute to Michael Donaghy 1954-2004
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A tribute to Niki Pollard
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Rosemary Lee – Biography & Artistic Policy    
Rosemary Lee graduated from the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance with a 1st class Honours degree in 1981. Soon after she moved to New York where she became a founder member of Spoke the Hub Dancing and continued to study new forms of dance and improvisation.

In 1985 she returned to Britain to concentrate on her own work and performing and to dance with Sue MacLennan’s Occasional Dance Company. In 1985 she and Sally Sykes developed a unique residency/performance project that toured extensively, allowing casts of all ages and experiences numbering 10-150 to join them in rehearsal and performance. The last of these was Memoirs of a Cast of Thousands (touring 1987-1989).

Rosemary continued to develop her interest in large scale participatory projects and in 1987 was artist in residence in Oxford and created New Springs From Old Winters for a cast of 200 performers of all ages and backgrounds. Egg Dances to the music of Arvo Part, was a distillation of and development from “New Springs”. It involved 13 performers ranging from 9-70 years old and was performed at The Place Theatre in 1988 and reconstructed again in 1990 to tour. She and video maker Peter Anderson made Egg Dances on Video on location for Taped, an Arts Council and British Council initiative.

Rosemary’s interest in site specific large scale dance events is most clearly seen in Haughmond Dances (1990), which involved a cast of 237 local people in a ruined abbey outside Shrewsbury. This was followed by Ascending Fields(1992)which she directed and produced with a team of artists in the Fort Dunlop Tyre Depot off the M6 (the largest red brick building in Europe). She has also created works for an Edwardian shopping arcade in Newcastle as part of Dance Umbrella – Duel in a Tea Cup, and for a Wildfowl Reserve in Norfolk – Pensthorpe Performance Trail. On a smaller scale Stranded, for nine women, nine children and nine circles of white feathers with music by Arvo Part was commissioned by the Southbank and made for the Royal Festival Hall ballroom in 1991. Stranded won a Dance Umbrella/Time Out Award 1991. She returned to large scale work in 1999 with The Banquet Dances, part of Take me To the River which involved 50 performers of all ages and was made for the Painted Hall at The Royal Naval College Greenwich. She worked with Emergency Exit on design and Jonathan Lever composed the music.

Along side these large events Rosemary continued to develop her own solo work. Feathered Snippet (1987) became a signature piece and was followed by Tenderhooks (1990) and Heart Home (1993). In 1994 violinist and composer Alexander Balanescu and she were commissioned by the Norfolk and Norwich Music Festival to create two new solos, Exhale for herself and The Galliard, every morning before breakfast for Gill Clarke. In 1997 she created and toured Charged – an evening of three solos combined with live music by the Balanescu Quartet. Silver – a solo for Simon Whitehead with the quartet playing and moving in the piece was commissioned for the tour. “Galliard” was later revived for the gala of the Greenhouse Effect conference at the Yorkshire Playhouse( 1998).

In 1999/2000 she presented One to One, a research project in which she invited 5 artists to make solos for her to perform. Her performances were in unusual venues around London, and informally presented: Gary Carter’s Tidal Secretary was created for the wood panelled court room at Toynbee Hall, Graeme Miller’s Language Lesson was performed in the sunday school room at Union Chapel and later revived for The Place along with Sue MacLennan’s Time Lapses in One to One x 2 for the Spring Loaded festival. Time Lapses premiered at Jacksons Lane with Mary Niblett’s Figure Frames and the surprise collaboration with 7 year old choreographer Isaac Lee-Kronick who created Kangerkey Dances for his mother. Simon Whitehead’s film Sans Popeye is due to be researched in 2002.

She has been able to combine her interest in solo work and non-theatre settings for dance in the films she has made with Peter Anderson for the Dance for the Camera series funded by ACE and BBC2. boy (1995) was filmed on the north Norfolk coast and features a 9 year old boy – Tom Evans. It was short listed for the IMZ Screen Choreography Award and received a special citation for the Choreography for the Camera Award at Moving Pictures Toronto. greenman – featuring Simon Whitehead was broadcast in March 1998. Both have been broadcast and screened extensively internationally. Infanta was commissioned by BBC2 for a dance night Christmas 1998 and features a 9 year old girl in a formal garden. All the dance videos feature design by Louise Belson and music by Graeme Miller and all were produced by MJW. Rosemary is currently working with film maker David Hinton on a new film for Dance for Camera to be broadcast on BBC2.

Rosemary continued and developed her collaborations with the above artists in Passage, an evening of live dance and film commissioned by the Southbank London (2001). The evening began with screenings of Infanta then boy followed immediately by Brink a solo for Tom Evans (now 15 years old) accompanied by a new film and Graeme Miller’s new music. Passage, the title of the second half piece, involved a cast of 13 performers of all ages, non professional and professional, set to Alaskan composer John Luther Adam’s music. They dance against a backdrop of three large screens of film combining large scale landscapes and giant intimate portraits of the cast. This is the first project in which Peter and Rosemary have worked with live dance and film. Passage toured nationally.

In 2001 she directed her first documentary Dancing Nation made with Peter Anderson for the Foundation for Community Dance. The film investigates the affect of dance in four peoples lives and features Graeme Miller’s music.

Also in 2001 Rosemary directed Apart from The Road, an interactive installation found within a library environment commissioned and produced by East London Dance. She worked with Nic Sandiland -film maker and installation designer, Chrissie Gittins- poet and a class of 8-9 years olds in Dagenham over a year. The installation was built into the reference library of Barking Central Library and gives a portrait of these children through the interrelationship of words, movement and film. Apart from the Road is due to tour in 2003

Rosemary is regularly commissioned to make work by dance companies themselves. – Treading the Night Plain in 1997-98 for Ricochet Dance Company and 3 Studies in Courtship in 1998 for Transitions Dance Company. She has been asked by dancers to create works for them, Studies 123 and 4 (2001) for Jovair Longo was presented as a work in progress at Jacksons Lane and Beached for Chapter 4 from Liverpool was toured in 2002 and is due to tour coastal venues in 2003.

She is currently in her second year on fellowship from the Arts Council of England. During this yearshe will be taking time for personal research and development.

Rosemary regularly guest teaches and lectures internationally. She has been the recipient of a Bonnie Bird Choreographic Award, two Digital Awards, a Time Out Dance Umbrella Performance Award and has received project funding from the ACE, LAB and other regional arts associations. She is managed and administrated by Nicky Childs at artsadmin.

 

Rosemary Lee
   

Artistic policy

— to create work that affects and moves an audience (whether it be visually, aurally, kinaesthetically, emotionally, …)

— to create work that however spontaneous or rehearsed : has integrity, is innovative, inclusive, challenging and thoughtful and speaks further of the human condition

— to maintain the highest artistic and professional standards

— to challenge myself to continue to create work in new contexts and new media for new audiences and to continue to explore the changing relationship with the audience in those varied contexts(ie site specific, installation film,)

— to continue to deepen ongoing collaborative partnerships with other artists and to explore new ones

— to seek out the potential for expression and liberation in each participant, dancer, student; and to continue to work with a wide range of performers

— to balance commissioned and self-generated work, performing and directing, large and small scale, process and product led work

 
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