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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the 2011 controversy surrounding African-American pop music star Beyoncé’s music video “Countdown,” in which she “borrowed” portions of two works by Belgian avant-garde choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, as an example of what Rebecca Schneider refers to as the “scandal of unrestricted circulation and exchange.” Approached as reenactment, Beyoncé’s alleged plagiarism of De Keersmaeker brings to the fore certain issues that have been less discussed in other analyses of “reperformance,” particularly questions of how race structures the anxieties and gaps that reenactment produces. The chapter argues that even as Beyoncé’s unauthorized reproduction of De Keersmaeker inverts the deeply entrenched pattern of white modern and postmodern artists taking from non-white movement practices, the response to “Countdown” demonstrates the persistence of racially tinged anxieties about who is authorized to reenact what.

Keywords: Beyoncé, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, plagiarism, race, music video, white, avant-garde, black popular culture

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