Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, prima donna
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker is a prominent figure in Belgian and global contemporary dance who established herself in the early 1980s through her commitment to revive the intense connection between dance and music.
This young Flemish girl who grew up in Wemmel took her first dance lessons at 10 years old. She then took classical ballet lessons at the École Lilian Lambert in Brussels where she met her future artistic creation partners in the form of Michèle Anne De Mey and her musician brother Thierry De Mey.
From 1978 to 1980, during her training at the École Mudra (founded by Maurice Béjart), she attended, among others, the lessons of musician and teacher, Fernand Schirren who was a key influence in her knowledge of musical analysis, structure and rhythm.
She then left to spend two years in the United States, on a scholarship from the Fondation Belge de la Vocation, to study at the Tisch School of the Arts of New York University where she discovered American post-modern dance.
Having achieved great success with her piece Fase, she created the Rosas company in 1983. With Fase, she revived the connection between dance and music and consequently all her work is closely related to an almost radical use of music (whether it is classical, contemporary, jazz, world music, folk music) as the primary support for her energetic, meticulous and often pared-back choreographic discourse which despite everything remains, very emotional. Her dance is therefore developed based on constantly-balanced and extremely rigorous scenic (circles, short spirals, impeccable diagonals) and sound geometries.
In 1995, De Keersmaeker founded P.A.R.T.S. (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios) in close partnership with La Monnaie, in order to theorise and pass on her choreographic language.
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker has received many awards; she is an honorary doctor of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (1995) and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (2013). She received the title of Baroness in Belgium from King Albert II (1996) and was also awarded the Médaille de Vermeil from the City of Paris (2002).
© Photos: Anne Van Aerschot