5261Reading and met Thierry de Mey, her artistic collaborator,

5261Reading Dance: PortfolioEmily PatonDance PracticesGina Giotaki, Angela Walton Liverpool John Moore’s University12th January 2018Emily Paton 5261 Reading DanceAnne Teresa de Keersmaeker has provided the contemporary dance scene with some pivotal pieces, and started a modern dance movement within Belgium. This essay is an exploration of how she did this by using select dynamics and relationships to build a movement vocabulary, what inspired her to do it, and an analysis of Rosas Danst Rosas. There are extracts from critical writers and reviews of other works from De Keersmaeker, creating an example of what impact she really has had on the industry.From 1978 to 1980 De Keersmaeker studied at the Mudra dance school in Brussels. Here she created her first piece, Asch (1980) and met Thierry de Mey, her artistic collaborator, who introduced her to the music of Steve Reich. Prior to this, as a child De Keersmaeker studied music. In 1980 De Keersmaeker attended the Tisch School of the arts In New York. Here she met some of Reich’s musicians and began choreographing to his music. In Belgium, 1982 she presented Fase. A piece with music by Reich, performed by herself and Thierry de Mey’s sister, Michele Anne de Mey. Reich would not see Fase, a piece that used his own music, until a 1999 performance. In 1983 De Keersmaeker founded her own dance company, Rosas, with three other women– and created their first piece, Rosas Danst Rosas. The Kaaitheater in Brussels showed support from 1992 to 2007. Then Rosas became the resident company at the Theatre de la Monnaie. With Ictus as the resident contemporary music company, this opened up resources and provided stability. This allowed De Keersmaeker to experiment with theatre, text and film, many of her works have been adapted for screen. De Keersmaeker set up the major international school Parts (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios) that provided a multidisciplinary education in music, theatre and critical theory alongside dance training. De Keersmaeker changed the Belgian contemporary dance scene, from Maurice Berjart, who dominated the scene although he was considered more of an unconventional ballet choreographer. (Roy, 2009)Something that De Keersmaeker has made clear within her process of choreography is that she uses the time and space around her to inspire her movement vocabulary. She stated that she works in silence a lot, and that the movements that emerge come from how she is feeling in the here and now, and that generating vocabulary is from movements that she likes to do (Keersmaeker, 2017). She also stipulates that she very often uses music as a starting point for her pieces, she explains how she likes to analyse and break down the music to try and work out what devices the composer had used to generate their own vocabulary. It is also highlighted that Rosas Danst Rosas was made what it was by the dancers that performed in it, she says that it wasn’t rehearsed in a traditional setting with a director telling the dancers what to do, and that the dancers all put their individual print on it just by sharing the rehearsal space together (Keersmaeker, 2017). Rosas Danst Rosas was directly1Emily Paton 5261 Reading Dance influence also by De Keersmaeker’s previous piece Fase, “of a               inOne of De Keersmaeker’s main themes used within her early work is especially the concept of femininity, and they refer to the transitional state between adolescence and adulthood without directly referencing the feminism of the early 1980s (Maple, 2014). It is also stated that in the work they “reflect a frustration and tiredness as well as a hint at femininity and even sexual repression when the dancers expose and quickly cover up one shoulder with their shirts” (Maple, 2014). In a section of Rosas Danst Rosas the dancers can be seen to grab their breasts, which is bringing attention to their natural femininity, and how a woman’s body has become sexualised by societal objectification of the female form.Before De Keersmaeker’s work, Belgium had little modern/contemporary dance. The scene was dominated by Maurice Bejart “although in no way conventional, he was essentially a ballet choreographer” (Roy, 2009). De Keersmaeker seemed to have a profound effect on the modern dance scene in Belgium, by the end of the 80’s there was a new wave of experimentalists – Wim Vandekeybus, Jan Fabre and Alain Platel. Collectively they have all played a part in making Belgium a world player of modern dance. (Roy, 2009)Following the events of Beyoncé using choreography from Rosas Danst Rosas in her 2011 music video Countdown, the discussion of De Keersmaeker’s work entered mainstream media, and reached an audience that it would not have not been aware of the work without the incident. In recent years, De Keersmaeker developed the revival project Re:Rosas project, within this she sets her choreography to be freely interpreted by anyone. She uses an online platform to teach the movements and choreographic structures to audiences. She encourages anyone and everyone to film themselves dancing their revised versions of Rosas Danst Rosas, and upload them to Re:Rosas web page. (Maple, 2014) I believe that it is not only Beyoncé that was inspired by De Keersmaeker, but De Keersmaeker was in turn inspired to revive her piece and continues to be inspired by the many other people who have been able to openly interpret the work and share their interpretations.In Rosas Danst Rosas there are initially four dancers. All wearing similar costumes, consisting of loose fitting clothes, button up shirts with the sleeves rolled up, a grey skirt, with black leggings socks and shoes. I felt that this suggested a certain sense of functionality and institutionalism. This fits in with the quite institutional looking building that this site specific piece is performed in, containing large windows and empty spaces.  abstract movements  constitute   the basis   layeredchoreographicstructure   which repetition  plays   the  lead  role.” (Anon.,  2013)2Emily Paton 5261 Reading DanceDe Keersmaeker uses many different dynamics and qualities within her movement vocabulary, her minimalist movements are repeated and fragmented with such precise synchronisation that her work becomes hypnotic. The subtle facial gestures between the dancers allows us an insight to an almost secret vocabulary between themselves. The dancer’s bodily movements and breathing becomes a fitting accompaniment of the piece alongside Thierry de Mey’s composition. The use of motifs being rearranged and intensified within the piece shows well-rehearsed dancers, and the flirtatious movements are essential in the portrayal of sexual repression and femininity. Their movements are frantic and energised, however by the end of sequences, looking noticeably tired and like the movements are becoming more of an effort to perform.In (Jennings, 2009) review of Rosas Danst Rosas he describes the piece as “pure dance minimalism”. He also states that ” in aDescribes the dancers as “four exhausted female performers”, she is set apart by her “ferocious attention to  At the same  time   the  Rosas  performers,     kind   of triple  bluff,   are busy assuring  you   of  the authenticity   of  what  you’re watching   by parading   their fatigue,   their sweat  and  all  the other by-products   of effort   that dancers  usually  try   to  conceal”. (Mackrell,  2009)  At  precise moments   the women smoothe  their  hair,  rest theirdetail”, and she also states that “piece. (Sulcas, 2011) Tells us ” compelling.”ais  heads, clutch   their foreheads,  bare  their shoulders,   so  that  their movements,   however inexorable,  glint  with suggestion.”  These   two critics   are suggesting  that   that  every  gestural movement  and moment   that might   be seen   as, ‘outside   of  the  zone’   completely  intentional   and  adds depth   to the    The contrast between   the quotidian  gestures   (I’m bored,  I’m despairing,   I’m flirting,   I’m cool,   I’m angry)   and their  relentless  repetition   is extraordinarily     Again reinstating  that   her work  with  gestural movements   are completely  intentional  yet still   are    very powerful  point   of  the piece.In addition to this, a review of Fase (Sykes, 2016) says that the steps are simple, but “the manner in which these basic moves are structured and performed by two dancers (Keersmaeker and Tale Dolven) is exhilarating.” This reinstates the fact that De Keersmaeker uses devices to her advantage to create a piece from the simplest of movements. With Fase being an early work of hers, this piece was a basis for many others as she used this piece and the combination of devices to inspire her later works. To solidify this, (Brauninger, 2014) said that “The dancers start off with a particular sequence of cells in unison, then one dancer shifts to a divergent sequence. In an accumulative process, series of cells gradually build into longer phrases and the divergences become more complex”. This is also something that Keersmaeker displayed in Rosas Danst Rosas.In a review of April me it is stated by the author “Her Role as a choreographer is not so much to arrange steps or patterns of movement, as the uncover the central thrust of an idea, text, or piece of3Emily Paton 5261 Reading Dancemusic, and to orchestrate the performer’s physical embodiment of that idea” (Climenhaga, 2004) this statement is an analogy of the way De Keersmaeker compiles her movement vocabulary. She has told us herself that she likes to breakdown the music she is choreographing to, to find the devices that the musician has used and to see if she can feed off these ideas herself.To conclude, we have found that De Keersmaeker has formed a unique way of choreographing pieces. Through listening to music and also working in silence, she has found a way of interpreting the space around her and creating movement that she says are important to enjoy. Creating a stable team around her of musicians, producers and dedicated dancers has been an important part of building a dance company De Keersmaeker created a wave within Belgium, which led to many more choreographers following in her footsteps and allowing Belgium to take a step forward in the modern dance scene. It seems that each piece De Keersmaeker develops becomes a source of inspiration for her next, whether it be from the movement itself, the musical accompaniment or the dancers who are performing, in turn they provide material to expand her ever-growing movement vocabulary. The use of devices are a staple point in her creating a coherent pieces that draw in audiences, many of the reviews that have been researched have told a story of development throughout her career and show sound use of many devices such as repetition, fragmentation, canon, stillness, suspension fall and release. De Keersmaeker didn’t stop there, she ran the project Re:Rosas, showing that she can revive a project and open it up to and draw in wider audience to interpret the piece as they wish, keeping it relevant over 20 years later.APPENDIX 1:Following an analytical model from (Adshead, 1988)   1.1 Movement Walking at a steady space, some running, carrying props (chairs). Dropping backwards to the floor, floor work, rolling over, unison movements. Controlled soft flexes of the arms, pushing up, and subtle movements of the head. Movement begins to pick up speed again. 4 motifs initially, build up intensity and complexity. Opening of the legs, standing up, touching of the breasts, hand between legs. Movement looks like there is power behind it but it then begins to look like it is taking an immense amount of effort to perform. Shoulder being exposed from underneath shirt. Lots of turns, and use of straight arms cutting through the space and swinging. Off balance tilts and falls. 4Emily Paton 5261 Reading Dance  1.11 Spatial ElementsSpread out in the space, facing the back to windows. All Parallel to one another on the floor. Sat on chairs, spread out from one another. Three dancers in a line with each other. One dancer on their own. Use of the stairs within the site. Different storeys of the building, dancers in different windows. 1.12 Dynamic ElementsSuspension, fall and release, using repetition and fragmentation. Dramatic representation of the movement vocabulary. Sudden stops, fast sporadic movements in between. Long, almost uncomfortable pauses. Followed by slow controlled, very soft movements. Repetition. Canon. Dynamic of the movements seems to be controlled by the layering of music. The more layers to the music, the fast and more powerfully the dancers seem to perform the movement. 3 in a line performing unison movement, one dancer in different spacing, dancing slightly different timing to other dancers. Solo. Duet. 1.2 DancersInitially there are four dancers, Women only. More dancers gradually join the piece but don’t all perform in unison together. 1.3 Visual SettingThe performers wear everyday clothes, consisting of loose fitting button up shirts with sleeves rolled up, grey skirts, black leggings, socks and shoes. Suggesting functionality and institutionalisation. Darkness, an empty building with several floors, big windows, could be an old school. Different storeys of the building zoomed out, dancers on the different groups. 1.4 Aural ElementsMusic from Thierry De Mey and natural sounds of the dancers – Bodily movements, walking (shoes against the floor), breathing. As movements intensify more sounds are made. Clapping, slapping against the body, sitting on chairs. 1.5 ComplexesDynamic emphasis builds as the music intensifies, and the layers of the dancers coincide with the layering of the music. As the musical layers drop off the dancers begin to dance in unison again. They share looks between each other, showing acknowledgement. Very minimal to no contact work. Exposure of shoulders. Sharp dynamics initially turn into softer dynamics, and vice versa.        5Emily Paton5261Reading DanceAPPENDIX 2: Feminism and the female formRosas Danst Rosasdancers inspire the piece by putting their print on it  working with Thierry de Mey to create a piece alongside his musicdeveloping sequences of movement from previous works, Fasetransitioning from adolescence to adulthoodAdshead, J., 1988. Dance analysis: theory and practice. London: Dance Books Ltd.Anon., 2013. Rosas Danst Rosas. OnlineAvailable at: http://www.rosasdanstrosas.be/en-videos/ Accessed 9 January 2018.Brauninger, R., 2014. Dance Chronicle. Structure as process: Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s Fase (1982) And Steve Reich’s music, pp. 47-62.Brayshaw, T., 2013. The Twentieth Century Performance Reader. 3rd ed. London: Routledge. Climenhaga, R., 2004. Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker dance becomes theatre. TheatreForum, Issue 25.Jennings, L., 2009. The Gaurdian. OnlineAvailable at: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2009/sep/13/de-keersmaeker-rosas-sadlers-wells Accessed 10 January 2018.Keersmaeker, A. T. d., 2017. Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker in conversation with Kathy Halbreich MoMA LIVE Interview (29 March 2017).Mackrell, J., 2009. The Gaurdian. OnlineAvailable at: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2009/sep/09/rosas-review Accessed 8 January 2018.music as a starting pointcreating movevment vocabulary in silenceusing time and space to inspire her movement vocabulary              Bibliography   6Emily Paton 5261 Reading DanceMaple, E., 2014. Walker Art. OnlineAvailable at: https://walkerart.org/magazine/thinking-and-rethinking-rosas-danst-rosas Accessed 8 January 2018.Roy, S., 2009. Step-by-step guide to dance: Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and Rosas. The Guardian. Salvadori, H., 1986. Rosas Danst Rosas. The Gaurdian (1959-2003), p. 12.Sulcas, R., 2011. The New York Times. OnlineAvailable at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/arts/dance/reviving-de-keersmaekers-rosas- danst-rosas-dance-review.htmlAccessed 10 January 2018.Sykes, J., 2016. Sydney Morning Herald. OnlineAvailable at: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/dance/sydney-festival-2016-review-fase-is- dizzyingly-precise-but-surprising-20160110-gm2onc.htmlAccessed 10 January 2018.     7


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