Rosemary Butcher

Dance & Visual Artist

Follow Rosemary Butcher on Twitter @RosemaryButcher

 

“This British artist is an icon of the New Dance movement, radically uncompromisingly and indefatigably expanding the limits of dance”
– Suddeutsche Zeitung

 

In nearly four decades Rosemary Butcher has made over 50 works presented in more that 40 countries world wide and is internationally regarded as one of Europe’s most consistently radical and innovative choreographers.  With over 2,500,000 references to her work listed on the Internet and with countless articles about her work in books and magazines she can truly be seen as an important and significant global figure in dance.

 

Profoundly influenced by her time in New York, 1970-72 where she encountered the work of The Judson Group at its height.  She subsequently introduced those ideas to Britain at her 1976 ground breaking concert in London’s Serpentine Gallery.  Since then, Butcher has developed her own movement language and choreographic structure. By her determination to remain an independent artist, her use of cross arts collaboration in Music, Visual Arts, Film and Architecture within the choreographic process and her frequent choice of non-theatrical spaces to present her work, she has forged her own place within the European contemporary dance scene.   Unlike many of her British contemporaries who see their work as Dance-Theatre Butcher’s influence has followed the ideas and concepts of the Visual Arts, particularly in painting and sculpture and has engaged with the developing philosophies within those movements.

 

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In the mid-sixties, Butcher became the first student of contemporary dance at the then radical Dartington College of Arts. An Elmgrant Scholarship took her to the USA in 1968 and over the next four years into contact with the postmodern Judson Church Movement. In the studios of SoHo in New York she took daily classes, performed and attended the showings of work by Simone Forti, Meredith Monk, and Lucinda Childs. But it was the conceptual ideas of Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton’s Contact Improvisation technique and one concert in particular, ‘Walking on the Wall’, a work by Trisha Brown performed at the Whitney Museum, in New York that was to profoundly inform her choreography.

 

Returning to London, in 1976 she launched her own work at a ground-breaking concert in the Serpentine Gallery. Although she was given a Royal Society of Arts award in 1977 for the duet Landings, Butcher’s choreography largely lacked institutional recognition by both critics and dance funding bodies. These years produced duets informed by contact improvisation, Space Between, Anchor Relay and group pieces exploring her New York experiences, Dances for Different Spaces, White Field and Passage North East. Crucially, Butcher began to uncover a mature, independent vision through collaboration with international visual artists, initially with Jon Groom in Five Sided Figure but most notably with the German artist Heinz Dieter-Pietsch. The resulting Spaces 4, Traces, Imprints and the seminal The Site were to anticipate much of the British Conceptual inspired dance of the 1990s.

 

Critical opinion shifted following her ten-year retrospective concert in 1986 and the popular success of two works in collaboration with composer Michael Nyman, Flying Lines and Touch the Earth resulted in a return of institutional funding that between 1985-9, enabled Butcher to make larger-scale works. This included the tripartite d1, d2, 3D in collaborations with architects Zaha Hadid and John Lyall, and After The Crying and the Shouting with music from Belgian composer Wim Mertens and an installation by visual artist Ron Haselden. With more mainstream contemporary choreographers in vogue, revenue from conventional dance funding bodies once again dried up even as her athletic modes of movement, formal approach and artistic independence became impossible to ignore.

 

In supporting the creation of Body as Site, it was to be Barclay’s New Stages Award with the Arts Council Visual Arts Collaborations fund that enabled Butcher to continue her creative research. For this work, a graphic designer, architect and two visual artists created installation environments to challenge how, choreographically, she sited the body of a dancer. Body as Site was followed by works still more removed from British mainstream dance: Unbroken View, with German artist Sigoune Hamann; After the Last Sky, a video installation at the Royal College of Arts meditating on war and destruction; and a duet probing trust and dependency, Fractured Landscapes, Fragmented Narratives.

 

Following a second retrospective in 1996, Butcher was awarded one of the first three-year Arts Council of England fellowships. Aided by this period of funding the remarkable work. SCAN (1999), was made, involving collaborations with Turner Prize short list visual artist Vong Phaophanit and composer Cathy Lane. It was this piece that launched her work internationally, touring around the world in 2000 through the support of the British Council and in Britain was presented in London’s Hayward Gallery  in the South Bank Centre. A year later Still-Slow-Divided (2001) was made with the support of Tanzquatier, Vienna, forging a continuing artistic dialogue. However it is two important relationships that have been fundamental to the development of the work since 2002. Firstly with the European Promoter Walter Heun; who through his company Munich based Joint Adventures now administrates and promotes the work, also the remarkable dancer Elena Giannotti who has proved a muse to Butcher’s choreography. The partnership of Butcher and Giannotti has to date produced five striking original works. The large scale performance work White, commissioned by Walter Heun, and the short film Vanishing Point both of which were collaborations with German filmmaker Martin Otter. A series of three solos united under the collective title of Women and Memory collaborating with lighting artist Charles Balfour and composer Cathy Lane have toured internationally and were memorably presented in London’s Tate Modern. Butcher is currently commencing a new work, again with Elena Giannotti, due to be premiered in 2008/9.

Website designed by Jake Dow-Smith
2014 ‘Out of Nothing’ – Tools for Research
Teaching
 

10 – 14 February and 24 – 28 March 2014

 

This year’s Critical Pathways is connected to the area of practice as research, focusing on choreographic frameworks. The course takes place over two weeks, with time between to reflect, and includes morning class with Rosemary Butcher and Jan Burkhardt.

 

To apply, please send a short biography to info@independentdance.co.uk with a contact telephone number and email address. Single weeks may be possible, but priority will be given to those who can attend both. Application deadline for the first week is the 31st January.

 

020 7091 9650
info@independentdance.co.uk
www.independentdance.co.uk

 

Time:
Mondays – Fridays, 1– 3.30pm

*Please note Thur 13 Feb runs 2–4.30pm

 

Level:
For experienced dancers and choreographers

 

Price:
£150 (includes morning class both weeks)

2013 Miniature Workshops on Reflection and Process
Teaching
 

‘Out of Nothing’ – Tools for Research

 

Rosemary Butcher will give six workshops at Siobhan Davies Studios
(Research Studio), 85 St George’s Road, London SE1 6ER

 

Dates:
Monday 22nd, Wednesday 24th, Friday 26th July
Monday 29th, Wesnesday 31st July and Friday 2nd August

 

Time:
10.00am – 12.30pm

 

These workshops are for experienced independent dancers and choreographers.

 

Context connected to the area of practice as research, focussing on choreographic frameworks – Solitude, Independence and Collectivity.

 

2 hours physical practice, 30mins discussion

 

£12 per session or £30 for three sessions

 

Please contact info@rosemarybutcher.com to book a place.
Please bring full payment with you to the first workshop you attend.

2012 After Kaprow – The Silent Room & Book of Journeys
Work
 

After Kaprow represents a continuation and extension of Rosemary Butcher’s overall aesthetic trajectory, which emphasises the situation of bodies and their intensive, intrinsic movement qualities in site-specific contexts. The piece continues to interrogate Rosemary’s recent enthusiasm for the practice and research that are involved in the recreation, reinterpretation and recontextualisation of movement that reached an important milestone in the account of Alan Kaprow’s 18 Happenings in 6 parts, performed at the Hayward Gallery in 2010. Kaprow’s Happenings and Rosemary’s subsequent reinterpretation of them provided the basis for the concept that was to become After Kaprow, yet the resulting work has departed considerably from any direct reference point. What remains is the extension of performative context via a dialogue with architectural form, and the possibilities afforded by a juxtaposition of performance with film and the idiomatic potential of the filmic.

 

After Kaprow comprises of two individual but strongly related works – The Silent Room and Book of Journeys. Conceptually, the pieces look at the notion of women inhabiting interiors and how these rooms are witness to their activities over time. The performers represent women who have lived out their lives amongst the changing premise of the ‘room’, and enacts the repetitive, ritualistic and habitual movements that occupy spaces. The solace and stillness of the performer references the painted figures of Vilhelm Hammershøi, the Dutch artist famed for his poetic, muted tableaux of women in domestic settings. Rosemary Butcher takes these women and places them within time, reinventing their actions but maintaining the slight tension and distance present in the original paintings. Both elements of After Kaprow stem from this central notion, stripped down to a still mediation on time in The Silent Room, and given life and trajectories in the painterly Book of Journeys.

 

The After Kaprow project was made possible with support from Middlesex University, Arts Council England, British Council, Bloomberg LP, The Place, South East Dance and Centro per la Scena Contemporanea, Comune di Bassano Del Grappa.

 

You can follow the development and progression of the work on afterkaprow.com

2012 Book of Journeys
Work

Concept

Rosemary Butcher and Sam Williams

Choreography

Rosemary Butcher

Film maker

Sam Williams

Performer

Ana Mira

Composer

Jonathan Owen Clarke

Stills photographer

Claire Pullinger

 

Book of Journeys, a dual screen film, was commissioned as part of South East Dance’s Forward Motion scheme. Filmed during a one-week residency in Bassano del Grappa, the work again examines the notion of women inhabiting rooms. This film draws on the history imbued in the rooms themselves; a monastery and ruined castle reminiscent of the Hammershøi interiors. Book of Journeys weaves a narrative that moves from past to future on one side and future to past on the other, overlapping in the present.

 

The residency was made possible by Centro per la Scena Contemporanea, Comune di Bassano Del Grappa.

 

Selected screenings:
The Place, London, UK

2012 The Silent Room
Work

Concept

Rosemary Butcher and Sam Williams

Choreography

Rosemary Butcher

Film maker

Why Not Associates

Performers

Ana Mira
Rosalie Wahlfrid

Composer

Jonathan Owen Clarke

Lighting

Karsten Tinapp

Photographer

Ernest Protasiewicz

 

The Silent Room takes the form of a dual-screen installation in dialogue with two live performers. The mediated aspect of the piece affords direct opportunities to develop this dialogue along specific spatial and temporal lines. The interplay between the projected and the real suggests vectors of temporal transition. There is a sense of the moment and what simultaneously lies outside of it; we witness the past and present and construct from them potentials for movement in the future. Throughout, there is a focus on stripped down and almost static movements of the body.

 

After Kaprow was commissioned for Bloomberg SPACE by Bloomberg LP, 2011. Produced by The Place.

 

Selected performances:
COMMA 40, Bloomberg Space, London, UK [work in progress]
The Place, London, UK

2012 Award
Award
 

Nominated for Critics Award to Independent Artists.

 

 

2012 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

Edinburgh Winter School for New Moves.
Trinity/Laban Independent Dance MA course, Investigating Practice.

 

2011 Conference
Teaching
 

BFI Southbank Symposium Presentation of work with lecture and dialogue with Daria Martin.

2011 Performance
Performance

Film maker

Sam Williams

Performer

Ana Mira

Photographer

Ernest Protasiewicz

 

Work in progress for After Kaprow – The Silent Room shown at COMMA 40, a season of performances curated by The Place at the Bloomberg Space, London.

2011 Residency
Teaching
 

Appointed as one of the Resident Artists at The Place, London.

 

2011 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

Independent Dance, London Tanz Quatier, Vienna.

Riverside Studios, London.

2010 Reinvention of 18 Happenings in 6 Parts [Allan Kaprow]
Work

Visual artists

Pablo Bronstein
Edwin Burdis

Performers

Elena Giannotti
Lauren Potter
Ben Ash
Dennis Greenwood

Composer

Edwin Burdis

Installation

Post Works

 

Selected performance:

as part of Move, Choreographing You at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London.

2010 Lapped Translated Lines
Work

Film maker

Daria Martin

Performer

Elena Giannotti

Set design

Melissa Appleton
Matthew Butcher
[Post Works]

Composer

Cathy Lane

 

Selected performance:
Sadler’s Wells, London

2010 Destructive Navigations
Work

Visual artist

Pablo Bronstein

Performer

Elena Giannotti

Film maker

Why Not Associates

Composer

Cathy Lane

 

Selected performance:
Sadler’s Wells, London

2010 Conference
Teaching
 

‘Spectacular Simplicity’ – a panel discussion at The Place theatre chaired by Professor Ramsey Burt.

2010 Performance
Performance
 

Rosemary Butcher’s Festival of Miniatures at Sadlers Wells, London.

2010 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

Appointed Visiting Professor at Frei University, Berlin, Germany.
Critical Pathways, Siobhan Davies Studios, London.

 

Professional Practice Choreography
Museum of Modern Art, Oxford.

 

Appointed mentor of ChoreoRoam.

2009 Conference
Teaching
 

Talk and discussion at Space Movement Collaborative Innovation
Goldsmiths University, London.

 

Exploring Boundaries: Arts Practice and Sociological Research Methods, Institute of Modern Art, Middlesborough.

 

Congress on Research in Dance
Global Perspectives on Dance Pedagogy
De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

 

Member of the advisory panel at Festival-Experimental Dance
Bassano Del Grappa, Italy.

 

Invitation to curate ‘Festival of Miniatures’ series for Sadlers Wells, London.
Invitation from Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London and Kaprow Trust, Los Angeles, USA to reconstruct Allan Kaprow’s 1959 work 18 Happenings in 6 Parts.

2009 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

Set up weekly mentoring course for students developing choreographic practice at Siobhan Davies Studios, London for Independent Dance.

 

Klassiskii Listdansskolinn, Iceland.
Workshops for Icelandic dance students and performance of Stories in the Rocks, originally commissioned by Laban, UK.

 

Teaching and consultation residency at University De Montfort, Leicester.

 

ChoreoRoam
Mentoring choreographers at The Place, London.

2009 Performance
Performance
 

Recreation of SCAN performed by 2nd year students at Laban Theatre, London.

2009 Residency
Education
 

4 week teaching and production residency at Critical Paths Dance Agency, Sydney, Australia.

 

Appointed Artist in Residence at South Bank Centre, London.

2008 Episodes of Flight
Work

Performer

Elena Giannotti

Installation

Melissa Appleton
Matthew Butcher
[Post Works]

Composer

Cathy Lane

Lighting

Charles Balfour

 

Funded by the German National Performance Network with funding provided by the German Federal Foundation as part of its Dance Plan Germany and the Bavarian Association for Contemporary Dance BLZT by means of the Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences, Research and the Arts. Co-funded by Dance Umbrella, UK and Pflatzzbau, Ludwigshafen, Germany.

 

Commissioned by Dance Umbrella and Dance Venture Munich.

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
Muffathalle, Munich, Germany

2008 Episodes of Flight – Munich
PerformanceWork
 
2008 Episodes of Flight – progress material
Work
 
2008 Conference
Teaching
 

Discussion at Choreographers in Conversation, part of the Body Language series at Sadlers Wells, London.

2008 Award
Award
 

Co-production Award – 11th International Festival for Contemporary Dance (Munich, Germany).

2008 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

Independent Dance workshop Recording The Future.
Teaching and mentoring for choreographers and dancers at Siobhan Davies Studio, London.

2008 Residency
Education
 

Munich City Council residency, Munich, Germany.

 

Stories in the Rocks – choreographic original work commissioned by Laban, London.
Performed by 3rd year BA students in the Laban Theatre.

 

Artist’s residency at Dagdha Dance Company, Limerick, Ireland.

2006 Aftermath
Work

Concept, co-director and choreographer

Rosemary Butcher

Cinematographer and director

Cathy Greenhalgh

Composer

Cathy Lane

Performer

Elena Giannotti

 

A 10 minute film developing the interdisciplinary research and shares language that begun with the film Undercurrent (2001). A cinesonic choreography and landscape; violently switching, dissolving surfaces, white out, darkness, silence, natural harmonic, cataclysmic burst. The body going nowhere, tearing portals in relentless turmoil to a memory image inside the image, sound inside the sound. The journey as it might have been.

2005 Six Frames, Memories of Two Women
Work

Film maker

Why Not Associates

Composer:

Robert Lax

 

 

2005 The Hour
Work

Film maker

Why Not Associates

Lighting

Charles Balfour

Performer

Elena Giannotti

Composer

Simon Keep

 

Commissioned by Tate Modern, Butcher collaborated with Why Not Associates who contributed vast projected images alongside the diminutive figure of Giannotti. With dramatic lighting by Charles Balfour and a soundscape by Simon Keep, the work is a dramatic evocation of the concept in the distortion of memory.

 

2005 Women & Memory
Work
 

The trio of works Images Every Three Seconds, Hidden Voices and The Hour, and in addition to the film Vanishing Point, form a quartet of solos for Elena Giannotti. Choreographed over a period of four years, the original concept that binds the works together is the experience of women travellers encountering the condition of women internationally. The four works are presented as a programme and toured internationally but a most memorable performance, with only the three live pieces, was in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, London. The form and movement language of all four works are a further development of Butcher’s work and highly original in their construction.

 

Touring programme compromising:

Images Every Three Seconds
Vanishing Point
Hidden Voices
The Hour

 

Selected performances:
Tate Modern, London, UK
i-camp, Munich, Germany
Tanzquartier, Vienna, Austria
Dance Festival, Paris, France
Dance Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Place des Arts, Montreal, Canada

2005 The Return
Work

Concept, co-direction and choreography

Rosemary Butcher

Concept development, co-direction and film maker:

Martin Otter

Performer

Eun Hi Kim

 

Examines the question of visual identity with strong reference to the work of Kobo Abe. Rosemary Butcher has developed the concept from the idea of the hidden, where it is not possible to understand the whole. It is also an attempt to understand the whole of an image and therefore the complete picture from what is available. Only the viewer is recorded, never the arena or the object of the viewer. The image is split into multi-screen collisions and overlapping information of identity is created. The structure therefore bring together the similarity of any image at particular times, emphasising the recognition of the viewer and the view.

2005 Choreography, Collisions & Collaborations
Work
 

The Work of Rosemary Butcher
Monograph, ed. Susan Melrose/Rosemary Butcher, Middlesex University Press, 2005.

2004 Hidden Voices
Work

Lighting

Charles Balfour

Composer

Cathy Lane

Performer

Elena Giannotti

 

Stark in its breath taking simplicity, Hidden Voices sees Giannotti, in a red dress against the starkest of environments, rocking fast, rhythmically and relentlessly to Cathy Lane’s extraordinary soundscape. The effect is both mesmeric and exciting. Produced and directed by Why Not Associates, the work was successfully rephrased and restructured into four three minute episodes for television in Channel 4′s Three Minute Wonders, broadcast in April 2006.

 

Shortlisted for The Place Prize, London, UK

 

Selected performance:
The Place, London, UK
[thereafter performed as part of Women & Memory]

2004 Vanishing Point
Work

Film maker

Martin Otter

Performer

Elena Giannotti

 

The second collaboration with German film maker Martin Otter, it was the second of Butcher’s films. With the figure of Elena Giannotti set against the desert in Andalucia, Spain and comprising principally of one shot and with only three cuts, it is a moving evocation of women’s position in an often male dominated society. It is usually screened as part of Women & Memory.

 

Commissioned by Capture 3, Arts Council England.

 

Selected screening:
ICA, London
[thereafter screened as part of Women & Memory]

2003 Images Every Three Seconds
Work

Lighting

Charles Balfour

Composer

Simon Keep

Performer

Elena Giannotti

 

The work is constructed around and within a light installation by Charles Balfour. A small square of constantly changing light patterns is projected onto the floor. With the addition of Simon Keep’s sound, Giannotti counterpoints constantly changing phrases of movement that are set against and within this light installation. Thus these movements, parts of the body and sometimes the whole body, are caught and illuminated momentarily – every three seconds. Each short phrase is independent of the next.

 

Selected performance:
Marion North Theatre, Laben, London, UK
[thereafter performed as part of Women & Memory]

2003 White – installation film
Work
 
2003 White
Work

Film maker

Martin Otter

Performers

Elena Giannotti
Anise Smith
Anna Holter

Composer

Cathy Lane

 

This was the work that was to start the extraordinary working relationship between Butcher and dancer Elena Giannotti. The concept with film maker Martin Otter was based around the journey of the British explorer Shackleton. Three dancers – Giannotti, Anise Smith and Anna Holter – moved in counterpoint to a five metre projection screen with the dancers on live and pre-recorded images. The score by Cathy Lane hauntingly evoked the horror of Shackleton’s journey.

 

Selected performances:
Dance Festival, Bern, Switzerland
Muffathalle, Munich, Germany
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London, UK
Tanzquartier, Vienna, Austria
Dansen Scene, Copenhagen, Denmark
Dance Festival, Zargreb, Croatia

2003 Award
Award
 

Arts & Humanities Research Council Award,
Post-doctoral Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts
University of Surrey.
[after 2004, at University of Middlesex]

2002 Still-Slow-Divided
Work

Performers

Henry Montes
Paul Clayden
Deborah Jones
Lauren Potter

Lighting

Anthony Bowen

Composer

Cathy Lane

 

Selected performances:
Tanzquartier, Vienna, Austria
The Place, London, UK

2002 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

Dance Umbrella, Dublin.
University College of Dance, Stockholm.
Workshops, Bern.

2002 Award
Award
 

Jerwood Choreographic Award (commission to make White).

2002 Scan – installation film
Work
 
2002 Scan
Work

Visual artist

Vong Phaophanit

Composer

Cathy Lane

Performers

Henry Montes
Laurent Potter
Fin Walker
Jonathan Burrows

 

The work that was to launch Rosemary Butcher on the international touring circuit.

 

“At first you see the grid: four bodies, incessantly in motion, are sliced by bands of light that delineate the space’s latitude and longitude. Absorbed and then distilled within this confined theatrical space, these images become the stuff that preoccupies SCAN’s four bodies.”

 

[Susan Foster, Choreography, Collisions and Collaborations, Middlesex University Press, 2005]

 

Selected performances:
Dance Festival, Dublin, Ireland
Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London, UK
Kalamata Festival, Greece
Dance Festival, Ghent, Belgium
Dance Festival, Rio, Brazil

2002 Scan – progress material
Work
 
2002 Award
Award
 

Arts Council Fellowship Award.

2000 Undercurrent
Work

Film maker

Cathy Greenhaulgh

Composer

Cathy Lane

 

Selected performances:
Danz on Camera Festival, Oslo, Norway
Dance on Film, The Place, London, UK
Toured internationally

2000 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

University of Limerick, Ireland.
Joint Adventures Festival, Munich.
Dance Space, Edinburgh.

2000 Award
Award
 

Honorary Doctorate
City University, London.

1999 Award
Award
 

Wingate Scholarship Award.

1998 Award
Award
 

Arts Council Research Award.

1997 Performance
Performance
 

In Retrospect – Retrospective performances
Royal College of Art, Gulbenkian Gallery, London, UK.

1997 Fractured Landscapes, Fragmented Narratives
Work

Performers

Henry Montes
Fin Walker

Visual artist

Noel Bramley

Composer

Jonathan Owen Clarke

 
1997 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

Royal College of Art,
workshops for Visual Art students.
Scottish Dance Production Agency,
mentoring Scottish choreographers.
South East Dance Agency,
mentoring choreographers.

1996 Unbroken View
Work

Visual artist

Sigune Hamann

Composer

Simon Fisher Turner

Performers

Fin Walker
Dennis Greenwood
Desiree Kongerod
Gill Clarke

 

A version of the work titled Unbroken View – Extended Frame was made for Group N in Scotland and performed at the Tramway Theatre, Glasgow.

 

Selected performances:
Royal College of Art, Gulbenkian Gallery, London, UK
South Hill Park Gallery, Bracknell, UK

 

 

1996 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

Visiting Fellow, Royal College of Art.

1995 After The Last Sky – alternate
Work
 
1995 After The Last Sky
Work

Film maker

David Jackson

Performers

Jonathan Burrows
Gill Clarke
Dennis Greenwood
Deborah Jones
Russell Maliphant
Fin Walker

Composer

Simon Fisher Turner

 

An installation film work, it was presented in the Royal College of Art’s Gulbenkian Gallery, in the round projected onto four screens. It was the first installation dance work in the UK and still one of the finest.

 

Selected performance:
Royal College of Art, Gulbenkian Gallery, London, UK

1995 After The Last Sky – progress material
Work
 
1995 After The Last Sky – progress material
Work
 
1992 Body As Site
Work

Visual artists

Paul Elliman
Ron Haselden
John Lyall
Anya Gallacio

Composer

Simon Fisher Turner

Performers

Deborah Jones
Fin Walker
Gill Clarke
Dennis Greenwood
Michael Popper
Michelle Smith

 

Arguably, along with works such as The Site (1983), SCAN (1997) and Women & Memory (2005), Body As Site reworks the possibilities of what dance can represent within a highly profound conceptual framework. Working with two artists, Anya Gallacio and Ron Haselden, the graphic artist Paul Elliman and the architect John Lyall – Butcher made the decision that instead of the artists responding to the movement concepts, the visual collaborators would provide an environment or construction independent of the movement and she would choreograph a response to their work. Three of the separate sections were linked only by the music of Simon Fisher Turner and in the fourth the artist produced the sound. The results were radical and extraordinary.

 

Barclay’s New Stages Award

 

Selected performances:
Royal College of Art, Gulbenkian Gallery, London, UK
Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, UK
Guildford Cathedral, Guildford, Surrey, UK

1991 Of Shadows and Walls
Work

Film maker

Nicola Baldwin

Composer

James Fulkerson

Performers

Angela Brown
Michael Popper
Sally Owen
Fin Walker

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London, UK

1989 After The Crying and The Shouting
Work

Visual artist

Ron Haselden

Performers

Caroline Allen
Lyn Denton
Dennis Greenwood
Gary Rowe
Wendy Thomas
Fin Walker

Composer

Wim Mertens

 

Selected performances:
ICA, London, UK
The Late Show, BBC 2, UK Television

1989 Silent Spring
Work

Visual artist

Chris Welsby

 

This work was aborted before performance.

1989 d1, d2, 3D
Work
 

It was an ambitious idea to develop a work over a year through performance and collaboration with two architects and in all three sections with composer James Fulkerson. d1 was performed in the ballroom of The Royal Festival Hall over Zaha Hadid’s restless floor, inspired by Ley Lines. d2 collaborating with architect John Lyall, used the magnificent rawness of the then still under construction Baroque church of Christ Church Spitalfields, to produce one of the most memorable dance concerts of the time. The conclusion of the third part of the work, 3D, was commissioned by Glasgow European City of Culture as part of their programme. Again working with John Lyall and James Fulkerson, it was performed in the Tramway Theatre (originally converted for Peter Brook’s Mahabharata). It is the largest and most spectacular work that Rosemary Butcher has produced and received a rapturous response from the Glasgow audience. Problems with funding from the English Arts Council’s Dance Panel meant that it was not performed again.

1989 3D
Work

Architect

John Lyall

Composer

James Fulkerson

Performers

Dennis Greenwood
Fin Walker
Michael Popper
Gill Clarke
Claire Baker
Maxine Braham

 

Commissioned by Glasgow City of Culture.

 

Selected performance:
Tramway Theatre, Glasgow, UK

1989 d2
Work

Architect

John Lyall

Composer

James Fulkerson

Performers

Claire Baker
Maxine Braham
Gill Clarke
Pippa Cobbin
Lauren Potter
Dennis Greenwood
Ano

 

Selected performances:
Spitalfields Church, London, UK
Tate Gallery, Liverpool, UK
Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
UK National Tour with teaching workshops

1989 d1
Work

d1 Architect

Zaha Hadid

d1 Composer

James Fulkerson

d1 Performers

Performers:
Dennis Greenwood
Michael Hodges
Lauren Potter
Catherine Tucker
Fin Walker

 

Selected performance:
Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London, UK

1989 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

Summer Residency, English Dance Theatre, Newcastle, UK.

 

Architecture Winter School Workshops, School of Architecture, Edinburgh, UK.

1987 Touch The Earth
Work

Visual artist

Heinz Dieter Peitsch

Composer

Michael Nyman

Performers

Jonathan Burrows
Rosemary Butcher
Maedee Dupres
Dennis Greenwood
Alexander Howard
Sue MacLennan
Caroline Pegg
Helen Rowsell
Wendy Thomas

 

This work was the second collaboration with composer Michael Nyman and the last with Dieter Pietsch. Premiered in the Whitechapel Gallery, then under the curation of Nicholas Serota (who was later to become the director of the Tate Britain and Tate Modern), it was from the first performance a huge success with both audiences and critics subsequently touring Art Galleries throughout the UK. Disappointingly it was poorly interpreted by BBC Television in a Dance Makers film, failing to capture its special ethereal quality. The opportunity of engaging a wider audience for the work was thus lost.

 

Selected performances
Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London, UK
Thirty Galleries UK Tour
1987 Selected teaching
Teaching
 

ILEA, London Schools’ Performances.

1987 Award
Award
 

Time Out Dance & Performance Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement.

1986 Performance
Performance
 

Ten Years On – Retrospective
Riverside Studios, London, UK
UK National Tour

1986 Selected Teaching
Teaching
 

Schools’ Educational Residency, Bristol, UK.

1985 Flying Lines
Work

Visual artist

S. Peter Noble

Performers

Jonathan Burrows
Rosemary Butcher
Maedee Dupres
Dennis Greenwood
Alex Howard
Sue MacLennan
Caroline Pegg
Helen Rowsell
Gary Rowe
Yolanda Snaith
Wendy Thomas

Composer

Michael Nyman

 

Selected performances:
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London, UK
Riverside Studios, London, UK
Bagnolet Festival, Paris, France
UK National Tour

1985 Award
Award
 

Greater London Arts Award for Service to British New Dance.

1984 Night Mooring Stones
Work

Film maker

Jane Rigby

Performers

Gaby Agis
Dennis Greenwood
Helen Rowsell

Composer

Max Eastly

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
SPACES 4, Channel 4, UK Television

1983 The Site
Work

Visual artist

Heinz Dieter Pietsch

Performers

Gaby Agis
Dennis Greenwood
Sue MacLennan

Composer

Malcolm Clarke

 

One of Butcher’s most original, complex and profound works, it was inspired by a trip to an Iron Age fort on the Castle Drogo estate in Devon. Working within the area defined by the pressed papier maché U-shaped floor installation (Pietsch later used peat in a similar form in a revival at the retrospective some thirteen years later), with tubes of white light brightening and dimming, the dancers moved and placed themselves compositionally through the most pared down of movement. The work itself was developed in the studio using the terminology of archaeological digs as instructions to improvisation of the dancers. Malcolm Clarke’s bleak electronic sound, responding to the concept and the movement, contributed a profound sense of time and space to the work.

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
Atlantis Gallery, London, UK

1983 Imprints
Work

Visual artist

Heinz Dieter Pietsch

Performers

Gaby Agis
Dennis Greenwood

Composer

Malcolm Clarke

 

“Pietsch constructed two irregular, derelict screens divided by a gap. Dennis Greenwood and Gaby Agis would enter, exit and pause slowly to imprint their silhouettes. Butcher saw one imprint and sometimes superimposing itself on another and replacing it, creating the effect of one person repeatedly slipping away form the other. At one performance, Agis’s body pressed against the back wall between the screens, one arm raised; Greenwood was alongside her, his head bent into her neck, producing an image of intense vulnerability.”

 

[Nadine Meisner, Choreography, Collisions and Collaborations, Middlesex University Press, 2005]

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
Atlantis Gallery, London, UK

1982 Traces
Work

Visual artist

Heinz Dieter Pietsch

Performers

Dennis Greenwood
Sue MacLennan
Miranda Tufnell

Composer

Tom Dolby

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
UK National Tour
International Dance Festival, Utrecht, Netherlands

1982 Field Beyond The Maps
Work

Performer

Sue MacLennan

Composer

James Fulkerson

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK

1981 Shell Force Fields and Spaces
Work

Visual artist

Jon Groom

Composer

James Fulkerson

Performers

Maedee Dupres
Julyen Hamilton
Sue MacLennan
Beverly Sandwith
Miranda Tufnell

 

The second and more adventurous collaboration with Jon Groom and this time, also as collaborator, with American composer James Fulkerson (then husband of American choreographer and teacher Mary Fulkerson). The relentlessness of Fulkerson’s trombone improvisation, the stark geometry of Groom’s installation set on the diagonal and with the choreography and movement based around the interpretation of the spiral construction of a conch shell, produced a powerful and hypnotic work.

 

Selected performances:
ICA, London, UK
Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK
Dance Festival, Rome, Italy

1981 Spaces 4
Work

Visual artist

Heinz Dieter Pietsch

 

Spaces 4 was the first of six collaborations with Heinz Dieter Pietsch. These collaborations were to provide some of the most original and successful of her works. For this piece Pietsch was to provide low right-angled fragments, painted white; defining four distinct spaces around and through which the dancers moved. The work stood as a dialogue between movement and construction. Performed in silence, it was perhaps far nearer to Performance Art than to contemporary UK dance as it was then understood.

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
ICA, London, UK

1980 5-sided Figure
Work

Visual artist

Jon Groom

Performers

Rosemary Butcher
Julyen Hamilton
Sue MacLennan
Janet Smith

Music

Mark Turner
Jane Wells
Peter Wiegold

 

This work was Butcher’s first collaboration with a visual artist, this time with Jon Groom. With this piece she began to establish her own unique choreographic language and moved away from the direct influence of the New York Judson Group, while also developing her collaboration methodology that would sustain her work over the next two decades. Butcher would provide the initial concept that would then be developed in conjunction with her collaborators. Each artist would then evolve the ideas within their own work and construct their own response, always round the primacy of choreography and movement.

 

Selected performance:
Riverside Studios, London, UK

1980 Solo From Instruction
Work

Performer

Julyen Hamilton

 

Selected performance:
National Theatre, Upper Terrace, Southbank Centre, London, UK

1980 Six Tracks
Work

Performers

Julyen Hamilton
Sue MacLennan

 

Selected performance:
National Theatre Terrace, Southbank Centre, London, UK

1979 Landscape
Work

Performers

Laurie Booth
Sue MacLennan

Composer

George Crumb

 

Selected performance:
Atlantic College, Wales, UK

1979 Solo Duo
Work

Performers

Rosemary Butcher
Sue MacLennan

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
UK National Tour

1979 Dances For Different Spaces
Work

Performer

Emily Barney
Sue MacLennan
Sylvie Panet-Raymond
Kirstie Simpson

 

The work from 1977 until the middle of 1980 shows Rosemary Butcher most influenced by the New York Judson Group and in particular by the work, teaching and writing of Yvonne Rainer. With no sound, no set, no costumes, no narrative and no message, Butcher’s choreography was pared down to stark and functional movement in space. However, in pieces such as Theme, she was also beginning to experiment with her own language, form and structure. The work during this period was unlike anything else happening in dance in the UK at the time and perhaps not unsurprisingly was often greeted with puzzlement from some of the audience and particularly the critics. There were others, however, who saw it as an inspirational break from the stranglehold that ballet and the Graham technique had on dance in the UK.

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
UK National Tour
International Dance Festival, Paris, France

1978 Touch and Go
Work

Performers

Emily Barney
Sue MacLennan
Sylvie Panet-Raymond
Kirstie Simpson
Melanie Buchan
Mooli Ten-Tuscher

 

Selected performance:
Lakeview Theatre, University of Middlesex, London, UK

1978 Catch 5 – Catch 6
Work

Performers

Sylvie Panet-Raymond
Emily Barney
Sue MacLennan
Kirstie Simpson
Melanie Buchan
Mooli Ten-Tuscher

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London
Dartington Festival, Devon, UK

1978 Theme
Work

Performers

Maedee Dupres
Dennis Greenwood
Julyen Hamilton
Miranda Tufnell

Slides photographer

Darryl Williams

 

Selected performance:
Riverside Studios, London, UK

1978 Suggestion and Action
Work

Performers

Maedee Dupres
Julyen Hamilton

 

Selected performance:
Acme Gallery, London, UK

1978 Solo From Uneven Time
Work

Performer

Maedee Dupres

 

Selected performance:
Riverside Studios, London, UK

1978 Anchor Relay
Work

Performers

Maedee Dupres
Julyen Hamilton

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
Dartington Dance Festival, Devon, UK

1977 White Field
Work

Performers

Dennis Greenwood
Sue MacLennan
Miranda Tufnell

 

Selected performance:
Riverside Studios, London, UK

1977 Empty Signals
Work

Performers

Dennis Greenwood
Miranda Tufnell

Composer

Colin Wood

 

Selected performances:
Serpentine Gallery, London, UK
Riverside Studios, London, UK

1977 Space Between
Work

Performers

Maedee Dupres
Julyen Hamilton

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
Dartington Festival, Devon, UK

1977 Scholarship
Education
 

Traveling Scholarship Award, Royal Society of Arts.

1976 Ground Line
Work

Performer

Maedee Dupres

 

Selected performance:
Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK

1976 Passage North East
Work

Performers

Maedee Dupres
Julyen Hamilton
Sue MacLennan
Miranda Tufnell
Eva Karzag

 

Designed to be capable of being adaptable in its response to different performance spaces, it was at its most spectacular at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol. It was performed outside the gallery on the Quayside. The performance commenced on the other side of the dock from the gallery and where the audience were located. The dancers were then rowed across to complete the work outside the gallery, close to the audience.

 

Selected performances:
Riverside Studios, London, UK
Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK
City of London Festival [various outside spaces], London, UK

1976 Landings
Performance

Performers

Maedee Dupres
Julyen Hamilton

Composer

Alan Lamb

 

One of a triptych of duets (with Space Between and Anchor Relay) choreographed for the two outstanding dancers, Maedee Dupres and Julyen Hamilton. Its making followed Butcher’s attendance of a week’s course with Steve Paxton, held at Dartington College of Arts in Devon a few months before, where he was then a full time tutor. It was the first use in the UK by a British choreographer of his Contact Improvisation Technique. Landings was also to win her a Royal Society of Arts award.

 

Selected performances:
Serpentine Gallery, London, UK
Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK
Riverside Studios, London, UK
Dartington Festival, Devon, UK

1976 Pause and Loss
Work

Performers

Maedee Dupres
Julyen Hamilton
Sue MacLennan
Brigitta Petterson

Composer

Alan Lamb

 

Selected performances:
Serpentine Gallery, London, UK
Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK

1976 Dance Company
Work
 

Rosemary Butcher Dance Company formed.

1974 Uneven Time
Work
 

For Scottish Theatre Ballet’s Moveable Workshop’s Scottish Tour.

1971 Studies
Education
 

Studies with Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, Lucinda Childs and Meredith Monk.
Performed and toured with the Elaine Summers Intermedia Dance Foundation.

1968 Scholarship
Education
 

Scholarship to study at The Martha Graham School, New York, USA.

1967 Scholarship
Education
 

Elm Grant scholarship to study at Maryland University, USA.

1965 Dartington College of Arts
Education
 

Dance and Theatre Course (Rosemary was the first contemporary dance student on the new course).

1965 Yvonne Rainer NO Manifesto
Education
 

No to spectacle
No to virtuosity
No to transformations and magic and make believe
No to glamour and transcendence of the star image
No to the heroic
No to the anti-heroic
No to trash imagery
No to style
No to camp
No to seduction of the spectator by the wiles of the performer
No to eccentricity
No to moving or being moved.