Mystery Sonatas c Anne Van Aerschot12
Show photographer Anne Van Aershcot

Rosas: Mystery Sonatas / for Rosa

  • Schedule

    Wed 15.06. at 19:00

    Thu 16.06. at 19:00

  • No intermission.

World-renowned Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's latest work Mystery Sonatas/ for Rosa opens a series of international visits of Dance House Helsinki. The monumental work, which is linked to the theme of resistance, brings together baroque music and contemporary dance.

Music and geometry have always been central to the work of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. In Mystery Sonatas / for Rosa, these interests come together through a symbol – the rose. With a long history of symbolism in art history and literature, the rose often represents secrecy and mystery.

De Keersmaeker’s work is closely tied with music, and now she connects 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.

Drawing on the religious practice of saying the rosary, Biber’s Mysteries divide into three cycles: five joyful, five sorrowful, and five glorious sonatas. The music is biblical, and also an invitation to dance. Circularity, repetition and petal-like patterns allow for transformations to unfold with the music. Six dancers move through the sonatas.

The mystery of music and movement is intertwined with the skilful stage and lighting design by Finnish artist Minna Tiikkainen. Sculptural lighting, sound and dance form a monumental work of art that opens the door to de Keersmaeker's enigmatic and contradictory choreographic world.

In this choreography, roses are not just used for their beauty, but for their resistance – with every rose comes its thorns. This work is dedicated to women of resistance—Rosa Bonheur, Rosa Luxemburg, Rosa Parks, Rosa Vergaelen, and Rosa, the 15-year-old climate activist who died in the Belgian floodings of 2021.

Artist talk on 16th June

The “Mystery” or “Rosary” sonatas of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber in the work are interpreted by Gli Incogniti that is led by the internationally renowned violinist Amandine de Beyer.

After the performance on 16th June, Beyer will talk about the role of baroque music in the work and about the working process. She will be accompanied by Finnish harpsichordist Marianna Henriksson, who has also worked closely with contemporary dance.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

In 1980, after studying dance at Mudra School in Brussels and Tisch School of the Arts in New York, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (b. 1960) created Asch, her first choreographic work. Two years later came the premiere of Fase, Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich. De Keersmaeker established the dance company Rosas in Brussels in 1983, while creating the work Rosas danst Rosas. Since these breakthrough pieces, her choreography has been grounded in a rigorous and prolific exploration of the relationship between dance and music. She has created with Rosas a wide-ranging body of work engaging the musical structures and scores of several periods, from early music to contemporary and popular idioms. Her choreographic practice also draws formal principles from geometry, numerical patterns, the natural world, and social structures to offer a unique perspective on the body’s articulation in space and time. In 1995 De Keersmaeker established the school P.A.R.T.S. (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios) in Brussels in association with De Munt/La Monnaie.

Read more:

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Picture: Johan Jacobs

Amandin Beyer

Amandine Beyer is recognized as a reference in the interpretation of the baroque violin repertoire. Her recording of the Sonatas & Partitas by J. S. Bach in 2012, has been awarded the best international critics (Diapason d’or de l’année, Choc de Classica de l’année, Editor’s choice de Gramophone, Prix Academie Charles Cros, Excepcional de Scherzo....). The work in this masterpiece is being continued with the performance "Partita 2", choreographed and danced by Anne Theresa de Keersmaeker and Boris Charmatz. She plays regularly in the most important halls and festivals worldwide (Théatre du Chatelet, Festival de Sablé, Innsbruck Festwochen, Konzerthaus de Viena...). She shares her time between between different music ensembles were she takes part off : les Cornets Noirs, the duos with Pierre Hantai, Kristian Bezuidenhout or Laurance Beyer and her own ensemble: Gli Incogniti. Founded in 2006 the group now ranks among the top reference ensembles for historically informed performance.

Her other passion is teaching, giving lessons at the ESMAE of Porto (Portugal), as well as masterclasses worldwide (France, Taiwan, Brasil, Italy, Spain, USA, Canada). Since 2010 she teachs baroque violin at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland.

Amandine Beyer
Amandine Beyer. Picture: François Sechet

"It all looks beautiful."

— The Guardian, 2022

Photo: Anne Van Aerschot


Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

Danced by (alternating)

Rafa Galdino, José Paulo dos Santos, Lav Crnčević, Mamadou Wagué, Sophia Dinkel, Frank Gizycki, Jacob Storer, Laura Maria Poletti, Mariana Miranda, Cintia Sebők


Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Mystery Sonatas

Music direction

Amandine Beyer

Musicians, Gli Incogniti

Amandine Beyer: violin, Baldomero Barciela Varela: viola da gamba / viole de gambe, Ignacio Laguna Navarro: theorbo and baroque guitar, Francesco Romano: archluth, Anna Fontana: harpsichord and organ

Set and lighting design

Minna Tiikkainen

Rehearsal directors

Diane Madden, Cynthia Loemij


Fauve Ryckebusch


Tessa Hall, Lieze Eneman

Technical director

Marlies Jacques


Alban Moraud, Erwan Boulay

Artistic coordination and planning

Anne Van Aerschot

Artistic assistant

Martine Lange




Concertgebouw Brugge, De Munt / La Monnaie (Brussel/Bruxelles), Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels, Théâtre de la Ville à Paris, Spoleto Festival dei due Mondi

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