Rosemary Lee is a choreographer, filmmaker 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 – 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 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, touring churches, cathedrals and galleries.
Calling Tree (2014) co-created with movement artist Simon Whitehead, takes place in and around mature trees 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 or group of trees and their 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) 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 would like to find new sites and contexts to develop the work for.
Circadian (First Light 2019) and its daughter work Threaded Fine (ZfinMalta National Dance company, Malta 2020 and Scottish Dance Theatre/Dance North Scotland 2022) are durational works -the former 24 hours and latter 5 hours-with a cast of 24 soloists ranging from 9 to 70+ years of age, each performing the same solo. Beginning with the youngest and ending with the eldest, each dancer brings their own unique quality to this repeating, ritualistic performance set to a looping song composed and performed by Isaac Lee-Kronick. With its moments of intensity and stillness, Threaded Fine draws on our inescapable connections with space and time and the cyclical rhythms of nature that shape us all.
Orchard Portraits (2023) created with Roswitha Chesher is a seven-screen installation created and shot within the beautiful, ancient orchard of West Horsley Place. The work features six senior performers and 60 school children from the local school moving alongside and amongst the aged trees. Continuing Rosemary’s long interest in the relationship of portrait within landscape, this new work captures the unique presence and quality of both performer and tree. Currently touring galleries and museums.
Rosemary is known for her desire and ability to articulate and share her practice, through 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 with invited experts and researchers from other fields contributing. Rosemary also guest teaches and lectures internationally. Recipient of both a Bonnie Bird Choreography Award and a Jerwood Choreographic Research Project Award in 2013, she is currently an Artsadmin artist, an Associate Professor at C-DaRE Coventry University, a Work Place affiliate artist, holds an honorary doctorate from Roehampton University and is an honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban and was awarded an OBE for her services to dance in 2023.
“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
|10 November 2023||Films by Rosemary Lee||Dance Limerick Performance Space (St. John's church)||Light Moves Festival, Limerick|
|29 July – 2 November 2023||Orchard Portraits||West Horsley Place, Surrey|
|8 June 2023||Rosemary Lee – Moving Worlds – Dance on Film||Queen Mary University London|
|18 June 2022||Threaded Fine||Dundee|
|11 June 2022||Threaded Fine||The Dancing Green, The Park Ecovillage||Findhorn|
|20 December 2020||Dusk Dance||First Light Festival|
|23–25 October 2020||Circadian||Dance East|
|1 February 2020||Threaded Fine||Campus Theatre||Valletta|
|23 August – 20 September 2019||Without||Echo Echo Studios||Derry-Londonderry|
|22–23 June 2019||Circadian||First Light Festival||Lowestoft|
|22–24 June 2018||Passage for Par||Groundwork||Par Sands, Cornwall|
|7–22 August 2017||Liquid Gold Is the Air||Edinburgh Festival Fringe||Edinburgh|
|12 July 2017||Artsadmin Archive||Toynbee Studios|
|26 October – 10 November 2016||Liquid Gold is the Air||Garden of Reflection Gallery, Echo Echo Festival||Derry-Londonderry|
|21–23 October 2016||Calling Tree||St George's Gardens||London|
|19–22 October 2016||Liquid Gold is the Air||Lumen Church, Bloomsbury Festival||London|
|15–24 July 2016||Liquid Gold is the Air||IF: Milton Keynes International Festival||Milton Keynes|
|30 June – 2 July 2016||Calling Tree||LIFT Festival, Bruce Castle Park, Tottenham||London|
|28 May – 23 June 2016||Liquid Gold is the Air||Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford||Oxford|
|21 May 2016||Meltdown & Rising||Bath International Music Festival||Bath|
|5–19 May 2016||Liquid Gold is the Air||St Michael's Church, Bath Dance and ICIA||Bath|
|11–28 September 2015||Liquid Gold is the Air||Hexham Abbey International Music Festival||Hexham|
|18 July – 8 August 2015||Without||Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, Waterloo House||Derry-Londonderry|
|8–24 May 2015||Liquid Gold is the Air||Norwich Cathedral, Norfolk & Norwich Festival||Norwich|
|7 September 2014||Melt Down||Coastal Currents||Hastings|
|23–25 August 2014||Calling Tree | Rosemary Lee & Simon Whitehead||Cae Llan|
|18–20 July 2014||Under the Vaulted Sky||IF: Milton Keynes International Festival||Milton Keynes|
|24–25 May 2014||Melt Down||Tanz! Heilbronn||Heilbronn|
|2–31 May 2014||Without||RUA RED Gallery, Dublin Dance Festival||Dublin|
|28 November – 12 December 2013||Without||Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, Waterloo House||Derry-Londonderry|
|30 August – 6 October 2013||Without||Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, Waterloo House||Derry-Londonderry|
|1 December 2012||On Taking Care: Symposium||Queen Mary University||London|
|12–13 November 2012||Melt Down||Panorama Festival||Rio de Janeiro|
|13–14 October 2012||Melt Down||Dance Umbrella London||London|
|8–9 October 2011||Square Dances||Dance Umbrella||Various Squares, Central London|
|8–9 October 2011||Melt Down||Square Dances, Dance Umbrella London||London|
|23 October 2010||Common Dance film, by Roswitha Cheshire||Greenwich Borough Hall|
|29 October – 1 November 2009||Common Dance||Greenwich Dance Agency||London|
|20–30 August 2009||Remote Dancing||Groningen|
|30 March – 9 April 2009||Wilding||Siobhan Davies Studio|
|4–6 October 2007||Remote Dancing||La Piscine||Roubaix|
|15 September – 10 November 2007||Remote Dancing & Stereo Dances||Aberystwyth Arts Centre||Aberystwyth|
|7–8 July 2007||Stereo Dances||Manchester Central (G-MEX)||Manchester|
|29–30 June 2007||The Suchness of Heni and Eddie||Toynbee Studios|
|4–19 May 2007||Remote Dancing||Norwich and Norfolk Festival||Norwich|