Rosemary Lee has been choreographing, performing and directing for over thirty years since graduating from the Laban Centre.
She works in a variety of media, including installation and film and her live work is often site-specific and large-scale, involving casts whose ages range from six to eighty plus. Her work is characterized by a special quality of taking care, of listening to others and to the surroundings and paying attention that is unique to Rosemary's way of working that both illustrates and creates communities and relationships.
Her recent work has included Under The Vaulted Sky, set in a cathedral of trees with over 80 dancers and Liquid Gold is the Air, a triptych film installation touring cathedrals and galleries both commissioned by the International Festival Milton Keynes. Without, a large-scale seven screen video installation created in Londonderry/ Derry with Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, involved over 350 local participants. Calling Tree, co directed with Simon Whitehead is a responsive habitation of mature trees in urban settings by performers, singers and naturalists, created in north Wales, Tottenham, Bloomsbury and Pamplona so far. Most recently she was commissioned by Groundwork- a program of new commissions and sited work by international (primarily visual) artists, to create Passage for Par, a work for 30 women on Par Beach, lasting over two hours at the turn of the tide.
Rosemary guest teaches, writes and lectures nationally and internationally. She is an Artsadmin artist, a Workplace artist, a Senior Research Fellow at CDaRE Coventry University, and an Associate Artist at ResCen, Middlesex University.
Over the course of a year Rosemary Lee worked with Echo-Echo Dance Theatre Company on the creation of a unique video installation in Derry-Londonderry. Over 350 local people – from tea-dancers to skateboarders and school children to cyclists – danced, moved, glided and reclaimed the streets regardless of real and imagined boundaries. The resulting seven-screen video projection, filmed from the city wall with specially commissioned sound score by Graeme Miller, captures a spectacular panoramic view and intimate portrait of the city and its inhabitants.
Without was featured in the Dublin Dance Festival and is now available to tour to galleries, art centres, museums etc. It is particularly apt for cities or countries that have suffered or suffer conflict or have city walls.
Watch the Without trailer
“This indelibly magical work is full of grace and grit. Without denying them their unique identity as living residents of Derry-Londonderry, Rosemary treats the people in it like angels and, occasionally, ghosts. They’re the sleeping, the fallen, the waiting and the disappeared as well as the active, vital survivors of a very particular place.” Animated, Donald Hutera
“Without …transcends the complexities of its own creation. It’s brilliantly shot and edited in ways that maximise its human and political resonance.”
“Beautiful and simple in the way that beauty is simple, but also intricate and layered and incredibly rich-and very moving. The best history, geography and art lesson you could have all in one! As a lady from the city said to me, maybe this shows what the city is becoming.” Audience member
Duration The work runs continually and is on a 22 minute loop
People on road 1 technician with assistance from staff at the venue to set it up
Freight 7 screens and 7 projectors, plus materials
Wraparound Talks, discussions about how the work was created, participatory and site-specific work
WITHOUT was commissioned by Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company. Supported by UK City of Culture, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council England, & Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure (NI). Presented in association with Artsadmin. Remount supported by Made at the Place.
Melt Down was originally one of a quartet of short pieces performed in open spaces in central London that combined to make up Square Dances.
Specially commissioned for Dance Umbrella 2011, Melt Down was performed by a group of 40 men under a massive tree. Over ten minutes, with a single toll of the bell marking each minute, the group slowly, almost imperceptibly, ‘melted down’ to the ground. Over the past few years Rosemary has been remaking this deceptively simple yet powerful work in different contexts. The work has been remounted with different casts in Rio de Janiero, Heilbronn Germany, Hastings and Bath England.
“I knew this would be challenging both emotionally and physically but I didn’t appreciate how much and in what way - this has been a transformative experience in a year of reflection for me and I consider myself such a fortunate man for having had this opportunity” Performer
“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
Duration: Preparation followed by 2 weeks, to do the following: Walk round sites and confirm final locations/route, Run daily workshops with a pre-recruited group of performers to Rosemary’s specification (maximum of 10 x 3 hour sessions), 2 x 3 hour rehearsals on location, 2 days of up to 5 performances, at times to be arranged with presenters. Large bell to be sourced locally.
People on road: 1 to 2 (1 Director, 1 Assistant)
Freight: No freight necessary
Wraparound: Open rehearsals; Insight days; Post-show talks
Originally commissioned by Dance Umbrella with additional support from Bloomberg.
Located in and around a large tree, Calling Tree is a durational performance cycle of songs, movement and messages. Bird-like calls and songs echoed out from the canopy of the tree as performers continually appeared and disappeared, fluctuating between perching to vocal and physical activity. An act of reclamation and activism, the performance is created to reach both the knowing audience and the unwitting passer-by.
Working with a small team that can include aerialists, composers, singers, performers, and naturalists Rosemary and Simon respond to the tree and its environment to create a bespoke performance for each site.
Originally commissioned by Migrations and developed with support from the Jerwood Choreographic Research Project and ACE. Calling Tree was then presented by LIFT London International Festival of Theatre, in a 500 year old oak tree in the heart of Tottenham 2016 and then for the Bloomsbury Festival in St Georges Gardens Bloomsbury in three tall London Plane trees.
Duration preparation to select tree(s) and site and research the environment, weekend to check feasibility of the tree(s), in residence at least ten days, making the work daily in the trees with access to studio for indoor work. Performances up to three days, performances can last for up to two hours stretches.
People on road 1 rigger 1-2 directors and anywhere from 2 to 4 performers
Freight rigging and ladders
Wraparound Talks, additional events around the tree- talks, performances, installations, created with local people and or other artists, discussions about how the work was created, school workshops.
Commissioned by Migrations and supported by the Jerwood Choreographic Research Project, with funds from The Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Akademi, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Dance Initiative Greater Manchester, DanceEast, DanceXchange, Fierce Festival, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, Independent Dance, Royal Shakespeare Company and South East Dance. Additional support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Made at The Place. Performances in London-co produced by Artsadmin with LIFT and The Place, funded by Imagine 2020 (2.0) and Create to Connect projects, supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union. Supported with public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Additional support from the Adobe Foundation Fund and the London Borough of Haringey and Camden.
Inspired by the live performance of Under the Vaulted Sky created for IF: Milton Keynes International Festival 2014. Filmed in the Cathedral of Trees, Milton Keynes with original sound track by Graeme Miller including music by Terry Mann. This video installation of three screens akin to a contemporary triptych alter piece is created for galleries, chapels, cathedrals. 80 performers of all ages appear and disappear through the woodland and between the three screens. Liquid Gold is the Air has toured to Norwich and Norfolk Festival housed in Norwich Cathedral, Hexham Music Festival- Hexham Abbey, Christchurch Cathedral Oxford, St Michaels Church Bath as part of the Bath International Music Festival, Milton Keynes International Festival in a specially designed and built garden room with green wild flower roof in the centre of Milton Keynes listed shopping mall, Bloomsbury Festival- Lumen, Echo Echo Dance theatre Company Festival-Londonderry/Derry-Garden of Reflection, Edinburgh Festival-Greyfriars Kirk. A single screen version of the film element of the installation has toured to Dance Film Festivals and won the overall Festival Prize at Light Moves and was shortlisted of most innovative sound, and nominated for Best Cinematography in Under Wire Festival London.
Duration: the installation can be up for as long as the venue requests. It runs on a 17 min loop continually
Freight: the installation fits in a small van
People on road: I technician and director, it can be erected in a day.
Liquid Gold Is the Air was commissioned by The Stables for IF: Milton Keynes International Festival 2014. Supported by Arts Council England Exceptional Award /Milton Keynes Council. Event partners Rosemary Lee Projects /Artsadmin /Univ of Bedfordshire/MK Community Foundation. With support from South East Dance and The Parks Trust.
Duration - Up to three performances over three days adjusting to time of low tide, each performance lasting up to two hours (following several preparatory visits to find the site, a weekend with director and two dancers to check feasibility of site and research it, a weekend of selection workshops to select dancers, ten days intensive residential period of rehearsals on site and in large studio daily).
People on the Road: 34 - Director, assistant director, team two professional dancers, cast of 28 professionals, costume designer and supervisor
Originally commissioned by Groundwork- a program of new commissions and sited work by international (primarily visual) artists, and produced by Dance Republic2 and Artsadmin; Passage for Par was created for Par Sands on the south coast of Cornwall. The work can be adapted to other tidal landscapes. At the turn of the tide, slowly and rhythmically 30 women snake their way across the wet sand, quietly tracing meandering pathways, their outlines etched against the sea/sky. Following their hypnotic movements from afar the audience are invited to take time to notice the ever-changing landscape as the women persistently continue their passage onward.
Under the Vaulted Sky (2014)
On Taking Care (2012) Symposium DVD
Square Dances (including Melt Down) (2011)
Common Dance (2009)
Night -plane (2005)
Remote Dancing (2004)
Stereo Dances (2004)
The Suchness of Heni and Eddie (2002/6/7)
Snow (2003) Film
Apart from The Road (2001) Installation
Studies 123 and 4 (2001)
Dancing Nation (2001) Documentary
One to One (1999)
The Banquet Dances (1999)
Infanta (1998) Film
Charged including Exhale, the Galliard every morning before breakfast and Silver (1994-7)
3 Studies in Courtship (1997)
Treading the Night Plain (1996)
greenman (1996) Film
boy (1995) Film
Ascending Fields (1992)
Haughmond Dances (1990)
Egg Dances on Video (1990)
Egg Dances (1988)
New Springs from Old Winters (1987)