“I came to dance through music,” she says. “I had a feeling that it was the only way for me to express myself.” From 1978 to 1980 she studied at MUDRA, the school founded by Maurice Béjart. In 1981, she studied in New York at the Tisch School of the Arts.
From her first production, Asch, in 1980, she has displayed extraordinary sensitivity in merging movement with music, often working with composers to create her pieces. In 1982, Fase, four movements to the music of Steve Reich was the first of several collaborations with the American composer. She founded her company, Rosas, in 1983. In the same year she made Rosas danst Rosas, with music composed by Thierry De Mey and Peter Vermeersch.
Since 1992, Rosas has been company-in-residence at Brussels’ Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie/De Munt. ERTS, a large-scale production incorporating videotapes, and Rosa, created for a film directed by Peter Greenaway, were her first projects there. Since then, she has made works featuring a complex structure of movement, gesture and texts, set to many different kinds of music.
Founded in 1995, her dance school, P.A.R.T.S. – Performing Arts Research and Training Studios – is an important centre of contemporary dance that offers a four-year curriculum and houses talented students from all over the world. De Keersmaeker won the Bessie Award for Rosas danst Rosas in 1988. She has received the French government’s Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2000) and la médaille de Vermeil from the City of Paris (2002). In 2001, King Albert II of Belgium conferred on her the title of baroness.