Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

Date: 16/11/2006
Place: her kitchen

Although the city has changed a lot since she started working, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker feels at home in Brussels. She tells about the evolution in the Brussels dance field: 25 years ago, there was no Brussels dance community besides the Ballet of the 20th century which was a very strong but closed community. At the time she studied at Mudra, it was obvious that dancers left the country to look for a job; they did not even consider staying in Brussels. De Keersmaeker talks about her admiration for the dancers of the Ballet of the 20th Century and the aura of glamour that surrounded them, but at the same time there existed a rivalry between modern dance and ballet. At Mudra students were trained to be ‘total performers’, people who could dance, act and sing. When she started to work, there was not even a department for dance in Belgium to provide funding, there was no infrastructure so her generation had to create their own way.
Something that changed over the years is that there are fewer repertory companies and that actors / dancers work for (a lot of) different companies. De Keersmaeker considers Rosas as the only Belgian repertory dance company at the moment. Creating a repertory asks for some kind of continuity and keeping a group of dancers together is therefore an artistic choice. It takes time and effort to keep a group together, but she deliberately chooses for a continuous research with people who share the same language and the same way of working. In Rosas, she tries to find a balance between big pieces and small pieces as well as older pieces and new ones o. About PARTS she says she felt it her responsibility to do something about education, but that she underestimated the amount of work and the consequences it would have on the dance field. De Keersmaeker expresses her concern about PARTS-graduates not finding a job and considers it her responsibility to provide structures where young dancers and choreographers can create work.
What bothers her is that dance as an art medium is not always taken seriously. Dance is often used in theater and other art forms because it sells well. It is then reduced to some kind of ‘theater movement’ and only serves to create certain images. In those cases the basics of dance, its craftsmanship and beauty, the strength of its language (‘with its own nature and intelligence’) are ignored.

“her city” – up to 9 months a year in Brussels – empire on itself – “it was no dance, it was Béjart” – rivalry – glamour – wilder energy – technically weak – American avant-garde – collective – old brewery – too big – “What is feeling connected?” – socially oriented – keeping the repertory alive – concern about continuity – big balance exercise – vocabulary – rebound – responsibility – guilty – create the appetite – sells well internationally – craftsmanship and beauty – restrain – 8u30-18u – washing dishes – great honesty – challenging themselves – fulfillment point – top priority – creating a strong center – stubborn – cheap – strong link to nature


click on the pictures for a full-screen slideshow.

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