I was heartbroken to learn of Rosina Bonsu’s death yesterday. Like so many, Rosina was woven into and through my dancing life - an incredible woman who was at the very heart of the dance community in Glasgow and across Scotland.
My first encounter with Rosina was as a teenager - in a school gym hall in Clydebank in the mid-eighties. She encouraged me to shake off my ballet shoes, spread out my bare feet and experience moving in ways new to me. Most importantly, she introduced me to dance as a creative, living art form – something that I could shape and express myself through, rather than simply steps to learn.
I’ve been thinking about the many different spaces that I have shared with Rosina in the years since – in Scottish Ballet’s old studios on West Princes Street for the Glasgow Independent Dancers workshops she ran with Sheila; classes in Strathclyde Arts Centre as she instigated the Dance Bothy which grew into Dance House Glasgow; sharing in vibrant conversations with dancers from across the world around her kitchen table. When I returned to Glasgow after training down south, Rosina was instrumental in me seeing that I could carve out a career as a dance artist. Straight away, she treated me as a peer, opened up opportunities and gave so generously of her experience.
I have been thinking about spaces we have shared more recently – seeing her create new work in TWR studio; the compelling talk she gave at the Project X Symposium; joining her and her students at West of Scotland College. And last summer, her amazing performance in Stewart Laing’s production of THEM with the NTS on the Tramway stage. In class, in meeting rooms, in theatre foyers and over cups of tea, Rosina shared her wisdom, insight and deeply embodied knowledge. I can’t begin to image dance in Glasgow without Rosina’s presence. She has been instrumental in introducing thousands of people to dance and in nurturing a dance scene in our city. I feel incredibly blessed to have danced with her.
On behalf of everyone at The Work Room, we send love and deep condolences to her husband Mark, her wider family and many close friends. We are grieving with you and holding you in our hearts.
Here is a link to the announcement of Rosina’s passing from her family and friends:
And an obituary by Mary Brennan, Dance Crtici for The Herald: