Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker: An Unbridled Activity of Gothic Lines

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s choreographies for the famous dance company Rosas are often thought to be dependent upon rigorous, abstract, and formal parameters, resonating with the meticulous interrogation of the score (frequently borrowed from musical modernism: Reich, Grisey, Bartók, Schönberg). While it is not completely untrue, this paper goes beyond mere application of mathematical rules and of  Euclidian geometry to dance, and demonstrates that there is a tendency to give to danced lines a life on their own—precisely what Deleuze and Guattari named “continuous variation.” Ultimately, it is argued that De Keersmaeker’s choreographic vocabulary is inseparable from the tracing of a very special “line” that we draw upon Deleuze’s comments on Gothic art in Wilhelm Wörringer. Within this rediscovery in dance of smooth space, we shall endeavour to cast light upon very special figures that occupy it, since those figures are considered only from the viewpoint of the affections that befall them. When such a choreographic pattern comes to the fore, lines become “gothic”; that is, they never cease to change direction, always turning in on themselves, acting beneath or beyond representation, in a kind of generous anarchy where points of inflection, condensation or dispersion become inseparable from points of tears and joy, desire and anxiety, hope and freedom.