Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker has accused Beyoncé of lifting direct moves and stylistic looks from her own dance films – Rosas danst Rosas (1983) and Achterland (1990) for latest ‘Countdown’ video (the video was co-directed by Beyoncé and Adria Petty).
The New York Times reports that De Keersmaeker told the Belgian radio station Studio Brussel:
“I’m not mad, but this is plagiarism. This is stealing. It’s a bit rude. What’s rude about it is that they don’t even bother about hiding it.”
See the comparison in the first video and the complete ‘Countdown’ video after:
In response to Ms. De Keersmaeker’s comments, Beyoncé said in a statement: “Clearly, the ballet ‘Rosas danst Rosas’ was one of many references for my video ‘Countdown.’ It was one of the inspirations used to bring the feel and look of the song to life.”
“I was also paying tribute to the film, ‘Funny Face’ with the legendary Audrey Hepburn,” Beyoncé continued. “My biggest inspirations were the ’60s, the ’70s, Brigitte Bardot, Andy Warhol, Twiggy and Diana Ross.” She added, “I’ve always been fascinated by the way contemporary art uses different elements and references to produce something unique.”
The co-director of the video, Adria Petty, told MTV news recently she had showed Beyoncé footage of contemporary dance in Europe to generate ideas.
“I brought Beyoncé a number or references and we picked some out together,” Ms. Petty said. “Most were German modern dance references, believe it or not.”
Beyoncé was accused of borrowing dance moves earlier this year, after some of the choreography for her performance of “Run the World (Girls)” at the Billboard Music awards in May appeared to be taken from a dance by Lorella Cuccarini. She later acknowledged that Cuccarini had inspired her.
In a letter posted on Studio Brussel’s Web site on Monday, Ms. De Keersmaeker, who has been a major force in contemporary dance for three decades, said: “Beyoncé is not the worst copycat; she sings and dances very well, and she has a good taste! On the other hand, there are protocols and consequences to such actions, and I can’t imagine she and her team are not aware of it.”
She added that borrowed choreography seemed robbed of its original power in the context of a pop music video. “In the 1980s, this was seen as a statement of girl power, based on assuming a feminine stance on sexual expression,” she wrote. “I was often asked then if it was feminist. Now that I see Beyoncé dancing it, I find it pleasant but I don’t see any edge to it. It’s seductive in an entertaining consumerist way.”