Mystery Sonatas / for Rosa


Danseur noir avec haut en maille noir dans Mystery Sonatas / For Rosa
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
135 min

In 2023, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels is supporting Théâtre de la Ville de Paris to present Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's new creation Mystery Sonatas/ for Rosa, in partnership with the Théâtre du Châtelet.

Music and geometry have always been central to the work of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. In Mystery Sonatas / for Rosa, these interests form a bond through a symbol—the rose. With a long history of symbolism in art history and literature, the rose often represents secrecy and mystery. ‘Sub rosa’—Latin for ‘under the rose’—refers to ‘that which is not spoken’, but here we can consider this through the lens of ‘that which is danced’. In this new creation, the roses are danced. 

De Keersmaeker’s oeuvre is full of partnerships with musical compositions, and now she establishes another with the “Mystery” or “Rosary” sonatas of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber. Written around 1676, the Mystery Sonatas is a musical translation of the fifteen Sacred Mysteries of the life of the Virgin Mary. Composed with the intention of serving a religious practice, these sonatas assisted the recitation of the rosary beads. Just as the rosary is typically divided into three ‘decades’, Biber’s Mysteries are divided into three cycles: five joyful, five sorrowful, and five glorious sonatas. 

Although the music is intrinsically filled with biblical narratives, it is simultaneously an invitation to dance. Found inside are musical dance forms such as gigues, allemandes, and courantes. This dancing nature combined with a cyclical and numerological approach, makes Biber’s work a terrain rich with inspiration for choreography. Similar to other works of De Keersmaeker, a ‘basic phrase’ provides a foundation, this time created through memories of the past. Circularity, repetition and petal-like patterns allow for transformations to unfold with the music.  

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“A rose is a rose is a rose”

About the artist

Portrait of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

In 2023, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels is supporting the choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker for her latest creation EXIT ABOVE, as well as several European institutions for the presentation of the piece.

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