Beyoncé has been accused of plagiarizing dance moves found in her new music video, “Countdown.”
Belgian director Thierry De Mey claims that the singer used dance moves lifted from the ballet, “Rosas Danst Rosa,” created by choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.
“When I am doing a film or a show, the first thing to check is copyright, the rights to adapt a work of art,” said De Mey.
“Rosas Danst Rosas” is one of Belgium’s most famous dance routines and is still being performed around the world, according to BBC.
De Mey told The Telegraph that if someone else ever used Beyoncé’s work, the singer would immediately press charges.
“If tomorrow I were to look for the music, the videos by Beyoncé or any other pop or rock stars and use them in my movies without asking for their authorization, I think Exocet missiles would fall over the Charleroi dance festival and myself,” De Mey quipped.
While De Mey exaggerated the repercussions of what might occur if Beyoncé’s work was copied, the director added that the dance moves in the video were identical to De Keersmaeker’s in the video for “Rosas Danst Rosas” from 1983.
A spokesperson for the dance company is investigating whether to launch legal action against the singer, and BBC reported the dance troupe rep said, “We noticed more than a few resemblances to the film.”
Beyoncé’s “Countdown” was directed by Adria Petty and released last week.
Beyoncé released a statement about the controversy, admitting that the 22-second-long dance sequence was inspired by the ballet and was “one of many references.”
“Clearly the ballet Rosas Danst Rosas was one of many references for the video. It was one of the inspirations to bring the song to life,” said the 30-year-old singer.
Beyoncé defended her video citing that it also took inspiration from Audrey Hepburn’s film “Funny Face” as well as looks from Diana Ross, Andy Warhol, and Brigitte Bardot.
“My biggest inspirations were the 60s, the 70s, Brigitte Bardot, Andy Warhol, Twiggy and Diana Ross,” Beyoncé explained.
“Countdown” director Petty also released a statement defending her work.
“[The original ballet] was refreshing, interesting, timeless,” said Petty. “Beyoncé’s YouTube video already has had close to two million views, so fans will discover… all the works that inspired me and shaped this video.”
The legal ownership of a single dance move is a complex process, and reports indicate that it would be difficult for a choreographer to prove a sequence of moves as being their creation. Also, proof that Beyoncé failed to ask permission to use the moves would have to be provided.
Watch Beyoncé’s “Countdown” here: