Radio station Studio Brussel created a side-by-side comparison of one of “Countdown’s” scenes to De Keersmaeker’s choreography. Indeed, there is a striking resemblance between the two clips, which is probably not accidental.
Adria Petty, co-director of the video, told MTV: “I brought Beyonce a number of references, and we picked some out together. Most were German modern-dance references, believe it or not.”
When contacted by Studio Brussel, De Keersmaeker said, “I didn’t know anything about this. I’m not mad, but this is plagiarism. This is stealing.”
“What’s rude about it is that they don't even bother about hiding it. They seem to think they could do it because it’s a famous work,” De Keersmaeker continued. “Am I honored? Look, I’ve seen local school kids doing this. That’s a lot more beautiful.”
Beyonce responded to the allegations in a statement to the New York Times: “Clearly, the ballet ‘Rosas danst Rosas’ was one of many references for my video ‘Countdown.’ It was one of the inspirations used to bring the feel and look of the song to life.”
De Keersmaeker’s claim is not the first of its kind. The diva was accused of stealing her 2011 Billboard Awards performance from Italian singer Lorella Cuccarini. Beyonce later said she was “inspired” by Cuccarini.
So is this inspiration or theft? “Countdown” is full of references to other pop culture works. Petty told MTV that Audrey Hepburn’s “beatnik dance scene” in “Funny Face” is referenced. MTV also lists ”Fame,” painter Piet Mondrian and Versace advertisements as inspirations.
What do you think of the similarities? Speak out in the comments.
This post has been updated.