The iconic dance performance Rosas danst Rosas, choreographed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, is widely considered one of the classic works of contemporary dance. Set to a rhythmic score and performed by a quartet of female dancers, Rosas danst Rosas finds inspiration in familiar, everyday movements that develop into a series of telling narratives about coming of age, identity, and womanhood. De Keersmaeker’s dance company, Rosas, debuted this performance in 1983. Three decades after it was first performed, this minimalist work continues to impact and inspire contemporary choreography. The performance occurs on October 9-12 in the Edlis Neeson Theater at MCA Stage.
In Rosas danst Rosas, the dancers perform repetitive movements that are grounded in recognizable gestures, such as fingers running through their hair or crossing their legs on a chair. These familiar motions give way to an individualized and abstract style of dance, invoking a young woman coming into maturity. The dancers’ demanding performance of relentless, sharp, and occasionally mechanistic movements is especially apparent in quiet moments that highlight their exhaustion from dancing. Coupled with Thierry De Mey’s percussive score, the piece elicits powerful themes of gender, identity, and society. The dancers appearing in the performance are Cynthia Loemij, Linda Blomqvist, Sandra Ortega Bejarano, Tale Dolven, and Sue-Yeon Youn.
Rosas danst Rosas has profoundly influenced dancers and choreographers. The piece generated renewed public interest in 2011, when superstar Beyoncé’s music video Countdown borrowed from the section of Rosas danst Rosas in which the dancers perform seated on chairs. A social media project launched by the company called Re: Rosas! invites the public to learn the chair choreography and share their own videos of the dance, a project in which the MCA participates using #MCAStage.
Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker created Rosas danst Rosas at the age of twenty-four, challenging Europe’s then narrow definition of dance. She choreographed Rosas danst Rosas for herself and three other dancers, basing the minimalist work on movements that are repeated, elaborated, and closely tied to the music. Its 1983 premiere established De Keersmaeker’scompany, Rosas, which has become one of the world’s leading contemporary dance companies. The company made their Chicago debut on MCA Stage 15 years ago with the work Drumming.
De Keersmaeker continues to revolutionize the field of dance through her support of arts, culture, and education. In 1995, she founded P.A.R.T.S. (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios), one of the most significant training schools in the world for dance, music, and theater. In 2011, she received the prestigious Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her recent work includes close collaborations with artists such as Alain Franco, Ann Veronica Janssens, Michel François, Jérôme Bel, and Björn Schmelzer, showcasing an evolving style and an interest in improvisation. In 2013, she premiered Partita 2, a duet with dancer and choreographer Boris Charmatz, and Vortex Temporum, a partnership with Ictus Ensemble set to the music of Gérard Grisey. She also authored a two-volume book set with performance theorist and musicologist Bojana Cvejinć, A Choreographer’s Score: Early Works (2012) and A Choreographer’s Score: En Atendant & Cesena (2013), on view in the Edlis Neeson Theater lobby from October 6 through 12. Visitors can page through the books and view DVDs depicting thirty years of dance through interviews, drawings, photos, documentary footage, and other media.
Rosas danst Rosas takes place October 9, 10, and 11 at 7:30 pm and October 12 at 3 pm in the Edlis Neeson Theater, 220 East Chicago Avenue. Tickets are $28 and a limited quantity of $10 student tickets is available. The MCA Box Office is at 312.397.4010 or www.mcachicago.org. One free general museum admission is granted with an MCA Stage ticket stub, valid up to seven days after the performance.
MCA Talk: First Night
Saturday, October 11, immediately following the performance
Director of Performance Programs Peter Taub leads a discussion with choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.
MCA Studio: Rosas Master Class
Saturday, October 11, 1-3 pm
$25 registration for dance students and professionals
Fumiyo Ikeda, the senior dancer performing in Rosas danst Rosas, teaches a master class for professionals and advanced students. Co-presented with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
MCA Talk: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
Sunday, October 12, 1-2:30 pm
De Keersmaeker discusses choreography and the making of her four early works including Rosas danst Rosas. She also reflects on her company’s Chicago debut fifteen years ago with MCA’s Director of Performance Programs Peter Taub, who brought Rosas’ Drumming to the museum in his fourth season at MCA Stage. Following the talk, De Keersmaeker signs her books A Choreographer’s Score: Early Works (2012) and A Choreographer’s Score: En Atendant & Cesena (2013).
High resolution images and press releases are available at www.mcachicago.org/media. Visitors are encouraged to use #MCAStage to share photos and thoughts with @mcachicago on Twitter and Instagram.
Image: Rosas Danst Rosas, Photo: Herman Soregeloos.
Lead support for the 2014-15 season of MCA Stage is provided by Elizabeth A. Liebman. Additional generous support is provided by David Herro and Jay Franke, Caryn and King Harris, and Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation. MCA Chicago is a proud member of Museums in the Park and receives major support from the Chicago Park District.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. MCA Chicago is generously supported by its Board of Trustees; individual and corporate members; private and corporate foundations; and government agencies including the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Museum capital improvements are supported by a Public Museum Capital Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The MCA is a proud member of Museums in the Park and receives major support from the Chicago Park District. Air transportation is provided by American Airlines, the Official Airline of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
The MCA is located at 220 E. Chicago Avenue, one block east of Michigan Avenue. The museum and sculpture garden are open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm and Tuesday from 10 am to 8 pm. The museum is closed on Monday. Tuesdays are Community Free Days with free admission for Illinois residents. Suggested general admission is $12 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. Children 12 years of age and under, MCA members, and members of the military are admitted free. Information about MCA exhibitions, programs, and special events is available on the MCA website at mcachicago.org or by phone at 312.280.2660.