The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Pavel Kolesnikov / Alain Franco

The Goldberg Variations belong to Bach’s late period, in which the composer pushes the boundaries of musical themes in a play of variations, canons and fugues. For this composition, he started from a simple and quiet melody, joined with an underlying bass line, which steadily unfolds into a musical cosmos that reveals itself with extraordinary variety and unparalleled complexity.

Together with pianists Pavel Kolesnikov and Alain Franco, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker continues her journey with Bach in dialogue with these variations. The large casting of The Six Brandenburg Concertos – her previous creation to music by Bach – is now brought back to a solo performance danced by De Keersmaeker herself. In doing so, she stays true to the same principle of the musical score as the blueprint for choreography.

Spanning no less than one aria and thirty variations, the music challenges the choreography to a similar exercise in width: to find a form of dance capable of adaptation and flexibility while retaining an immutable core. To De Keersmaeker, it is above all an invitation to consolidate the road travelled as an artist, posing today’s questions in her ongoing search for a personal choreographic idiom.

Choreography and dance
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

Johann Sebastian Bach, The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

Pavel Kolesnikov
Alain Franco

Musical collaboration
Alain Franco

Choreographic assistant
Diane Madden

Set and lighting design
Minna Tiikkainen


Wiener Festwochen, Concertgebouw (Brugge), De Munt / La Monnaie, Théâtre de la Ville à Paris - Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris), Internationaal Theater Amsterdam / Julidans, Sadler’s Wells (London), Montpellier Danse

This production is realized with the support of the Tax Shelter of the Belgian Federal Government, in collaboration with Casa Kafka Pictures Tax Shelter empowered by Belfius.

Piano provided by Yamaha.

  • The Goldberg Variations, BWV988 — Trailer