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Lance J. Reha

first performed on January 26, 2020
Snug Harbor Cultural Center Dance Studio
performed once in 2020


Leslie Lowe

Staten Island, NY


Continuation of my exploration of

  1. Claimed healing powers and benefits of the herb rosemary

  2. Movement/body gesture in day to day routines and rituals

“Rosemary Besom” is an energetic purification ritual, based on traditional concepts of broom lore and herbal healing practice. Using the associations of broom dancing, traditional dance with unknown origin and speculation as to its original meaning, to purify by symbolically sweeping away negative energy and promulgating rosemary, which has many claims of benefits, that is to purify. Distinct from the traditional relaxed dance, our movement began in a more choreographed manner to break down and highlight the repetitive pattern of sound and arc of swinging.

I began by walking across the floor on a diagonal and scattering rosemary from a basket while chanting “rosemary is for rejuvenation / rosemary is for purifying / rosemary is for remembering your dreams / rosemary is an aphrodisiac / rosemary is good with chicken / rosemary is good for your memory.”

When I reached the corner of the room, Leslie Lowe and I began sweeping using a synchronized constant repetitive uniform rhythmic motion (like a pendulum). I would sweep, then she would sweep, ongoing along the edge of the room sweeping inward until we each reached the spot where the other had begun, then standing in quiet.

At this point “Balkan Nights” (The Underscore Orkestra) began, instrumental music which similar to the broom movement has a strong repetitive beat, starts at a slower pace, picks up speed as it evolves. Our sweeping coordinated with the beat of the music and the audience was encouraged to clap along.

Initial challenge was getting a collaborator to be in sync with my movement to create the impact that I wanted for the section where we swept in a precise rhythm. The person that I first developed this piece with dropped out the week before the performance date, and while I was able to get Leslie to take their place, it gave us limited time to practice together which would have helped solidify the precise rhythmic section. A weakness discovered during the performance was that the sweeping sound was so obvious. When we did practice it was not as loud and impactful as during the actual performance because the performance space was larger and populated. I need to explore ways of making the brooms for future performances of this piece.