Interview with Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker: “With covid-19 we are dancers in a choreography that we did not create”

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s relationship with Lisbon is long. He came for the first time in 1987, to Encontros Acarte, to present the iconic choreography “Rosas danst Rosas” (1983). Since then, it has been a regular presence. The Companhia Nacional de Bailado has a rarity in its repertoire: the only ballet that Keersmaeker created for a company other than his own, “The Lisbon Piece” (1998). She also opened the program “Artista na Cidade de Lisboa” in 2012. She recently ventured into an unexpected territory on her path: last year, she choreographed the musical “West Side Story” for Broadway. Now he has just received the European Helena Vaz da Silva Award for the Disclosure of Cultural Heritage and, at 61, he is back dancing Bach on the solo “As Variações Goldberg” — arriving at Culturgest, in Lisbon, in March 2022.

This award distinguishes the dance that he creates as a heritage and as part of the tradition and heritage of dance and ballet, a fact particularly relevant considering the difficulty that has been to achieve this recognition. How do you see this valorization of contemporary experimental dance that you do?

What is the heritage of dance? People have been dancing since the beginning of time. Anyone can dance, I believe in it more than I believe anyone can make music. The great festive dances are celebrations of our humanity. We can dance alone, together, in a large group of people. It’s spinning and spinning. There are so many possible definitions, but it is certainly about the relationship between the individual and the collective, resonating with something very ancient, which goes to the essence of what makes us human. The body is the most natural and ecological instrument we have. Our bodies, even in a mechanical way, or in an essential way, are emotional because they carry vestiges of so many experiences, not limited to our lives, but to the lives of our ancestors. Choreographing is organizing the space between us, so it’s always a social issue. It’s writing people. In Eastern philosophy it is said that first there is an intention, then an energy and then a form. Dancing is also a way of being in the world, of reading the world. Therefore, it is also an intellectual activity. And, by its very definition, it is natural and spiritual. This is perhaps what saddens me most: the destruction of nature, of which we are an intrinsic part, and the awareness of belonging to something that is beyond us.

Source: Expresso by

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