Schwan, Alexander: “Beyoncé is Not the Worst Copycat”: The Politics of Copying in Dance, in Forberg, Corinna und Stockhammer, Philipp W. (Hrsg.): The Transformative Power of the Copy: A Transcultural and Interdisciplinary Approach, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2017 (Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality, Band 2), S. 149–165. https://doi.org/10.17885/heiup.195.c1633

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ISBN 978-3-946054-15-3 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-946054-16-0 (Softcover)
ISBN 978-3-946054-14-6 (Hardcover)




Alexander Schwan

“Beyoncé is Not the Worst Copycat”: The Politics of Copying in Dance

Abstract Beginning with the example of Beyoncé’s music video for her song “Countdown,” which copied movements from Anna Teresa De Keersmaeker’s early choreographic work, this article explores the role of plagiarism, reconstruction, and recreation in contemporary dance. With regard to theories of repetition (such as those of Søren Kierkegaard and Giorgio Agamben), a particular focus is placed on the ephemerality and corporeality of movement, arguing for the convergence of copying and repetition in dance. While, due to the restrictions of human anatomy and the responding characteristics of movement, dancing is always already interwoven with the process of copying, it is, however, the inevitable inexactitude of these copies that guarantees the non-iterability of dance, as well as its alteration and innovation.

Keywords Beyoncé, Anna Teresa De Keersmaeker, contemporary dance, plagiarism, non-iterability