Beyoncé is being accused by a Belgian choreographer of stealing dance moves and visual concepts for the music video for her new single, “Countdown.” “I’m not mad, but this is plagiarism,” Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker told Studio Brussel in an interview. “What’s rude about it is that they don’t even bother about hiding it.”
According to De Keersmaeker, Beyoncé and director Adria Petty lifted moves, costumes and staging from her 1983 piece “Rosas danst Rosas,” as well as elements from 1990’s “Achterland.” Beyoncé and Petty have not denied that De Keersmaeker’s work was an influence on the video, with Petty admitting in an interview with MTV that she brought the singer a number of modern dance videos while brainstorming ideas.
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“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,” Beyoncé said in a statement, adding that the piece was among many inspirations for the clip, along with the Audrey Hepburn film Funny Face, Brigitte Bardot, Andy Warhol and Diana Ross. “I’ve always been fascinated by the way contemporary art uses different elements and references to produce something unique.”
Though De Keersmaeker has said that she has a respect for Beyoncé’s talent as a singer and dancer, the choreographer feels that her work has been watered down for the “Countdown” 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.”
You can compare and contrast the “Countdown” video with DeKeersmaeker’s “Rosas danst Rosas” in the clip below.