Several of the dance moves in the new music video by Beyoncé for her song “Countdown” bear a striking resemblance to the work of the Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, who told a radio station in Antwerp on Monday she believed Beyoncé had stolen her ideas.
“I’m not mad, but this is plagiarism,” Ms. De Keersmaeker told Studio Brussel in an interview. “This is stealing.”
Ms. De Keersmaeker said the pop diva had borrowed liberally from two of her pieces, “Achterland” from 1990 and “Rosas danst Rosas” from 1983. The dancers in Beyoncé’s video not only share some dance moves with the “Rosas danst Rosas” piece, but the costumes, the set and even some specific shots resemble a film of the dance made by Thierry De Mey, she said. Beyoncé’s choreography also takes moves from “Achterland,” she said, but in a less obvious way. “It’s a bit rude,” she said. “What’s rude about it its that they don’t even bother about hiding it.”
Beyoncé did not immediately respond to Ms. De Keersmaeker’s comments. 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.”