News: Rosemary Lee wins £10K Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award

Thursday 28 November 2013 by Carmel Smith

Rosemary Lee at the Bonnie Bird Award reception, Sadler's Wells, 27 November 2013. Photo: Tony Nandi

Rosemary Lee is the recipient of the 2013 Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award. Probably best known for her large scale community works – like Common Dances and Square Dances (recent Dance Umbrella commissions) – Rosemary’s work spans three decades. There were 47 applications received; the other shortlisted choreographers were Simon Ellis, Jane Mason, Subathra Subramaniam and Alexander Whitley.

The £10,000 award, set up in memory of the noted dance pioneer and educator Bonnie Bird – a member of the original Martha Graham Dance Company and later Director of the Dance Theatre Department at Laban. It is awarded every other year to a UK based choreographer to support creative reflection and research, and the building of new partnerships to extend their profile and practice.

“Having been taught myself by Bonnie Bird I am thrilled and touched to have been chosen for this award,” says Rosemary. “‘I’ve spent the last decade primarily working on large-scale participatory projects and film installations, and so this opportunity is timely, much needed and most welcome. I am longing to return to the studio; as an independent artist with a family it is not easy finding the time, resources, and opportunities to research and experiment with dancers. I thank the Bonnie Bird trustees for their work and dedication in supporting artists and their artistic process in this way.”

She will use the award to undertake two strands of research. The first will build on her love of poetry, exploring the physical roots of language and the relationship between experience and the written word. The second will investigate complex collective forms that require eight dancers to execute them, exploring a wide range of tasks co-dependently.

Rosemary’s most recent work has been a commission for Derry/Londonderry. Without , which premiered in August, is a seven screen video installation shot on location from the city walls in Derry/Londonderry and involving over 400 local people.

Maggie Morris, Chair of the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund said “Rosemary’s contribution to dance in the UK is both unique and significant. We are delighted to honour her with this award which will allow her time and support for some well-deserved creative refreshment.”

A DVD featuring the full performance of Common Dance at Greenwich Dance in 2009 – along with an exploration of the interconnected themes and processes behind the making of this extraordinary work through interviews and rehearsal footage – is available from Arts Admin (price £15):

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