Rosas danst Rosas at MCA Review – Building from the Infinite Dimensions of Binary


“Rosas danst Rosas”, a dance by Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker that premiered in 1983, had been a breakthrough of introducing dance and music that had been scored together. 


Since then, in more popular culture, De Keersmaeker’s work is perhaps best known for its controversial similarity to that of pop star Beyonce, as showcased in this video clip.



For these reasons alone, the two remaining performances of “Rosas danst Rosas” at the Museum of Contemporary Art provides an opportunity to experience modern dance history.  You will get much more however.  This work grabs you into an alternate universe where every gesture or movement, or absence of such, keeps you mesmerized.


We start off in the dark.  All is still.  From nothing, we crane for something.  Still becomes movement.  Off moves to on; on to off.  Breathe in juxtaposes to breathe out. Glides are offset by movement jerks. From moving it goes back to still—a long, long still.


 This is the creative tension of “Rosas danst Rosas” first movement where there is no music or sound other than the taps or breath of the dancers, and we are taken on an exploration of many binary on-off type possibilities.   There is so much stillness and null in this movement that we become very aware of fellow audience members’ fidgets or coughs.   We strain for happenings to happen.  We are hooked.



Then the music comes beating louder—a minimalist metallic drone orchestration composed by Thierry De Mey and Peter Vermeersch which leaves us longing to welcome variety. 



The dancers add more repetitions of seeming everyday gestures like combing their hands through their hair or baring shoulders.   



The music and gestures repeat like a metronome and we are hypnotized by a newly minted ritual unfolding before us over the remaining three movements and coda.  


The dancers, each moving in concert with laser sharp precision, seem to be programmed by a Jacquard loom.   Wow!


Here is an earlier video recording of “Rosas danst Rosas” by the composer—



Video, however, doesn’t seem to capture the creative tension of this piece.  It is much more compelling and captivating in person.


There are two more chances to experience “Rosas danst Rosas” at the Museum of Contemporary Art—today, October 11 at 7:30 PM and tomorrow, October 12 at 3 PM.


For tickets visit the MCA Box Office online or call the Box Office at 312 397 4010.


Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago


220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago




Photos:  Herman Soregeloos.











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