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Portrait of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker: a world reference in contemporary dance

  • 14.10.2020

Belgian Flemish artist, teacher, dancer and choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker is a figurehead in the world of international choreography. Her latest solo creation “The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988” which Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker performs herself, accompanied by pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, was presented first in France on 13 October at the Montpellier dance festival 40 bis.Since meeting the BNP Paribas Foundation in 2013, a partnership based on the transmission of a cultural heritage has been built.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker: "only dance but all the dance”

At the head of her company Rosas for nearly 40 years, she has been inventing, exploring and reconfiguring movement in a stimulating dialogue with composers of yesterday and today.

Her school, P.A.R.T.S. (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios), created in Brussels in 1995 in association with the Théâtre de La Monnaie, has trained generations of artists from around the world.  

Rigorous creative constructions

In Rosas danst Rosas, one of her inaugural pieces, four dancers repeat until exhaustion a series of abstract yet familiar gestures to music by Thierry De Mey and Peter Vermeersch.

This performance signed the 23-year-old choreographer’s profession of faith: only dance but all the dance, in close relationship with the rhythm on which it is based.

A year earlier (1982), Fase, Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich already demonstrated her penchant for rigorous constructions that emphasized the full expression of bodies.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker chorégraphe

From Jean-Sébastien Bach to Brian Eno, music as an inspiration for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

The dancer, who trained at Maurice Béjart’s Mudra school and the Tisch School of the Arts in New York, has based a major body of work on these fundamentals. Her virtuoso choreography draws on the geometry of bodies in space as well as a sophisticated analysis of scores from Jean-Sébastien Bach to Brian Eno, on which she bases her shows. 

Her 33 dancers are on tour much of the year in Europe, the United States and Asia, alternating creations—recently The Six Brandenburg Concertos set to Bach’s eponymous music—and emblematic works from her repertoire.

This year, along with pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker is continuing her work with Bach by performing herself her new solo creation, The Goldberg Variations, BWV988, which will be presented for the first time in France at the festival Montpellier Danse 40 bis.

Video of the most recent show : "The Goldberg Variations, BWV988 "

A partnership with the BNP Paribas Foundation based on transmitting and sharing

When Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker re-created Vortex Temporum in October 2013, she crossed paths with teams from BNP Paribas Fortis and the BNP Paribas Foundation.

The artist wanted to rethink her choreography in a museum setting, like an exhibition open for nine weeks.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker chorégraphe

Creations hosted in the world's greatest museums

In 2015 this first partnership led to WIELS (Centre d'Art Contemporain de Bruxelles), Work/Travail/Arbeid, which reinvented the very idea of performance. Over the next three years, the Foundation’s backing allowed this inventive work to be performed in the world’s greatest museums, from the Pompidou Centre in Paris to MOMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London and the Volksbühne in Berlin. 


Since then, the BNP Paribas Foundation has supported not only the Rosas Company’s creations, but also their transmission through dance films, publications, exhibitions or trailblazing participatory and educational projects.

These include the online platform Re: Rosas, where budding dancers could learn 500 versions of the iconic Rosas Danst Rosas and post them on the web. 


Photos credits : @Anne Van Aerschot

Rosas danst Rosas – Second Movement

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