The Mysterious Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker

July 13, 2014

The Lincoln Center in NYC hosts a summer festival each year, and this year one of the highlights was a four-performance run by the Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker.

You might have heard of de Keersmaeker from the controversy surrounding Beyoncé’s “Countdown” music video: There were remarkably similar (if not identical) moments in both pieces—though Queen Bey claimed she had only used de Keersmaeker’s choreography as inspiration.

Regardless, it’s clear that de Keersmaeker is as deeply influential as she is deeply strange—and difficult to watch. Judging from the moments that Beyoncé borrowed, you might think that de Keersmaeker’s work is highly gestural, with quick changes of direction, like a lot of other modern dance choreography. Her choreography does include those elements, but it also plays with repetition, stillness and subtlety, making it challenging to watch (read: sit through) for even the most committed dance lover.

The beauty of her work is in the challenge of viewing it. It’s not fun. It’s not entertaining. The dancers aren’t doing anything crazy with their bodies, and yet…you can’t look away.

Check out the video below—it’s a dance-on-film version of de Keersmaeker’s Rosas danst Rosas—and let us know what you think!