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While Beyoncé faces harsh criticism regarding her latest music video, choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker — whom the singer is accused of plagiarizing — had much kinder words to say than several viewers.
“Like so many people, I was extremely surprised when I got a message through Facebook about the special appearance of my two choreographies – Rosas danst Rosas (1983) and Achterland (1990) in Beyoncé’s new videoclip ‘Countdown,’” De Keersmaeker wrote in a statement to The Performance Club. “Obviously, Beyoncé, or the video clip director Adria Petty, plundered many bits of the integral scenes in the film.”
“People asked me if I’m angry or honored,” she continued. “Neither, on the one hand, I am glad that Rosas danst Rosas can perhaps reach a mass audience which such a dance performance could never achieve, despite its popularity in the dance world since 1980s. And, 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.”
Petty told MTV News that the “Countdown” video is not meant to copy, but to pay homage to several icons, including Audrey Hepburn and the Supremes.
“I brought Beyoncé a number of references and we picked some out together,” Petty said. “Most were German modern-dance references, believe it or not. But it really evolved.”
While De Keersmaeker pondered the reason that her experimental choreography took thirty years to be recognized by pop-culture, she noted one personal coincidence between her original work and Beyoncé’s reimagining.
“Everyone told me, [Beyoncé] is dancing and she is four months pregnant,” she said. “In 1996, when De Mey‘s film was made, I was also pregnant with my second child. So, today, I can only wish her the same joy that my daughter brought me.”
Watch the video below, as well as a mash-up clip, which illustrates several of the most striking similarities.
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