Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beyonce's Countdown vs. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

If any of you have been keeping up with pop culture and news in the dance world, you've probably heard of the rip-off Beyonce pulled in her last music video, "Countdown." The video she allegedly ripped off  was by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, a Belgian choreographer, who created her award-winning piece "Rosas danst Rosas" in 1988. It's one thing to be inspired by other artists and to credit them, but this level of stealing (without crediting the original, I may add) is on a whole different level. You can see the videos in split screen here. Even if you don't watch the videos split screen, just look at this one split screen image:

Photo Credit

How incredibly "similar" is that? Bordering straight out copying? Watch the video, it gets worse. Not only the costuming, but the expressions, the camera angles, and even the choreography itself of "Countdown" is straight out of "Rosas danst Rosas". Beyonce's artistic director has apparently admitted to showing De Keersmaeker's videos to Beyonce, but neither Beyonce nor anyone dealing with the music video have admitted to any kind of artistic theft or inspiration.

Furthermore, this isn't the first time Beyonce has been criticized for lack of originality in her music videos. Even her performance at the Billboard music awards was criticized. However, I'm not trying to criticize Beyonce directly for the content (and lack of due accreditation) of her music videos: I'm more disappointed in her directors who are coming up with the ideas and in her for following through. How could one artist do something so incredibly horrible to another artist?

It would have been a whole different issue if she had asked permission of and credited De Keersmaeker and even encouraged the public to look into De Keersmaeker's work. In fact, that wouldn't have been an issue at all: it would have been one artist being inspired by and promoting another artist, which could have given both artists good press. Even though De Keersmaeker's pieces are more viewed and even more well known because of this, it's not being done in a good light, and I'm sure the artist herself does not appreciate the outright copying.

What do you guys think? Is this kind of "inspiration" okay, even if credit is given? Should Beyonce (or her directors, rather) start coming up with new ideas instead of copying old ones? Are you as outraged by this as the rest of the dance world?

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