Influential choreographer and teacher who used improvisation in both the creation and performance of her works
When the Place prize for choreography was launched in 2004, the most surprising figure on its shortlist was Rosemary Butcher, then 57 and with nearly three decades of dance-making behind her. She was ranged alongside a much younger generation, which included the dark brooding talent of Hofesh Shechter, and Rafael Bonachela (best known then as the choreographer for Kylie Minogue). In comparison with their youthfully visceral work, Butcher’s entry, Hidden Voices, seemed almost hallucinatory in its spareness. It was a solo in which one female dancer essentially did nothing but run on the spot for 15 minutes, her body language altering subtly, but vividly, to the changes of light and sound around her.
Repetitive though the choreography first appeared, the purity of its focus became exhilarating to watch: you felt your senses had been rinsed, your intelligence put on high alert. Even though Butcher did not win the prize, she gained high critical praise for Hidden Voices and a renewed respect for the scrupulousness with which, over 30 years, she had remained so rigorously engaged with the fundamentals of choreographic composition.
Source: Guardian Dance News