Dance

Coming Up

Choreographers Katrín Gunnarsdóttir and Melkorka Magnúsdóttir from Samsteypan Collective, a dance company based in Reykjavík Iceland, are premiering a new dance piece called Coming Up tonight March 22nd in Tjarnarbíó theatre. Team Snoop–Around saw their piece ÚPS! last year, and were so impressed that we surely didn’t want to miss out on this one. We dropped by Tjarnarbíó and met with professional dancers and choreographers Katrín and Melkorka.
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So, what can you tell me about your dance company, Samsteypan Collective?

Melkorka: Many independent dance groups often produce various projects; as does our company that shares each and everyone’s member’s interests. So Samsteypan is exactly that.

Katrín and me had been thinking about this idea for this piece for a long time, or for roughly three years, and now we had the change to add this project in to our year schedule, with support from our dance group Samsteypan Collective.

What can you tell me about the piece, Coming Up?

Melkorka: It’s a dance piece where the search for the climax is always present. We wanted to explore how a piece can build up, without going all the way, sometimes the situation is that we are working with two climaxes at the same time that always has the same fate, it fades out without success.

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The concept, beginning, middle and the end, what are your thoughts about that?

Melkorka: This is something that we learn in choreography 101, you learn about the importance of having a build up in a piece, sometimes its said that if the beginning and the end is good, it’s OK that the middle is mediocre. Of course there are very strong stereotypical ideas around on how one should build up a piece. Clichés are clichés because they work.

That is the reason why, its maybe kind of dangerous and also very exciting to create a dance piece that is not like that at all. To try to go out of this box, and create something new and unpredictable. I think this Anti- climax is very interesting in a way; this deconstruction has been so intriguing for us to take on.

What can you tell me about the set design?

Melkorka: We wanted to have the stage fairly simple, we have one little grass spot on the stage with a lot of instruments, a synthesiser, and a computer so we are also creating the sound world in the piece ourselves. We started out to have elements with us on stage in the practising period, a pot plant, a lamp and other small elements. We wanted to frame the piece with this white dance floor, to separate us from the audience, to make this world within the theatre.

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Are you both very musically involved?

Melkorka: I started out by bringing my keyboard, and then we wanted to add voices and other musical elements to the piece. This sound world is not written especially for the piece like we have been doing in the past, but we use sound examples from Edward Grieg mixed with synthesizers sounds. We are also working with the anti- climax in this piece as well, because classical music is all about fiddles and the highest points (the climax) but the techno music is not. The techno, in a historical sense, was about repetition and speed, sometimes working with just one tone.

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Photograph: Bart Grietens

You have a lot of instructions on the floor, lines and arrows…

Melkorka: Yes, this is our internal instructive map and play with the memories on what spots are the most important in the piece. We started out by objectifying the climax and walked around the stage, discussing where we should place it. We have also played on this idea about the climax in a historical context.

If we would talk about ballet for example, the climax itself is very literal; everything evolves around lifting your partner and getting as high in the air as possible. In modern and contemporary dance, then it can be exactly the other way around, by the power of repetition. On the other hand, in modern dance the endurance pieces were made in its time as well, with no climaxes

I am curious, do you work with a director?

Melkorka: No, we decided to direct ourselves this time around. Samsteypan Collective has worked a lot with the director Víkingur Kristjánsson for the last two pieces we produced and that was fantastic.

Katrín and me worked on an intimate level for this piece, where we dug up our original idea and we wanted to focus on the dynamic between us two in the piece in a stripped down way.

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Photograph: Bart Grietens

Have you worked on a piece together before?

Katrín: We are both independent professional dancers, and we have worked together several times with bigger groups but never as a duo. Now we finally both had time to make it happen and we are very happy about that.

There are pros and cons that come with working independent, it is a great experience to work in a theatre that we have freedom to operate as we please. But the downside is that in bigger theatres you have more people and production departments, make up, costumes and all kinds of support. When you are independent, you are creating and producing everything on our own. But of course we have great people behind us.

Melkorka: Independent dance companies have been seeking unconventional spaces like empty factories and such but that is also very expensive to import a sound system, lighting and all that we need for a dance piece production. That is expensive and troublesome in many ways. So we wanted to create a piece here again in Tjarnarbíó theatre, in a classic black box, with the strategy of challenging the theatre format, within the theatre itself.

What is the most exciting factor in this piece, if you could phrase that in one sentence?

Melkorka: This mountain climbing towards the climax, and the fate of the situation always continuously falling down.

Katrín: This examination of this human interaction, and this disfunctional communication, that is the most exciting part.

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Photograph: Bart Grietens


Coming Up is premiered March 22nd 2013 and will be shown on March 23rd, March 26th March and March 28th at 21:00. We would like to point out that there will be only these four performances, so please check out tickets on midi.is here

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Ása Baldursdóttir

Glymskrattinn

The dance/concert/play Glymskrattinn is the creation of Melkorka Sigríður Magnúsdóttir and Sigríður Soffía Níelsdóttir, dancers and choreographers alongside with Valdimar Jóhannson musician. We took a sneak peak into practice and met up with Melkorka to learn a little more.

Neon Chameleon by Glymskrattinn

How did this piece come about, this is a blend of dance, music and theater?

Yes it is. Sigríður Soffía and me met in Brussels where we were studying, and since then we always wanted to work together. When it finally happened we had a common interest of doing something like this and a clear starting point. We wanted to compose a piece in which music and dance would both get room, neither would be in the foreground, but both equally elements in our creation. The result is the dance/concert piece Glymskrattinn.

The name Glymskrattinn (Jukebox) is a reference to all the music styles we are working with, you insert a coin to the jukebox and you never know what you are going to experience and that is also what’s so exciting. We try to work with stereotypes of different music styles, such as pop, disco, rap and ballads and add a new twist to the songs. We add choreography, exaggeration or reduction from the clichés to create a joyful cabaret, full of humor, singing and dancing. We have partnered up with our music man Valdimar Jóhannsson from the Icelandic band Reykjavík! and Lazyblood, Brynja Björnsdóttir set designer and Ellen Loftsdóttir stylists and together we have worked to create this show that will take place in the National Theatre. The exhibition is sponsored by Evrópa Unga Fólksins, in cooperation with the National Theatre on the Reykjavik Arts Festival.

You have been writing songs, what can you tell me about it? Are you musicians?

We are not musicians in that sense that is we are not trained musicians. Sigríður Soffía played piano for 8 years and I play the Ukulele. On the other hand, we have both sung a lot. Sigríður Soffía sang one of the lead roles in the opera Red Waters last fall in France and Melkorka is singing in a traveling exhibition of performing arts with the band John the Houseband.

Valdimar however is an educated musician; we have created ten brand new songs for this show so we hope that the audience can go dancing and singing into the night afterwards.

What is your background as dancers and what can you tell me about your artistic approach to the piece?

Sigríður Soffía graduated from the Iceland Academy in 2009 and has since worked as a freelance dancer and choreographer. She dances with several groups, including Shalala, the Icelandic Dance Company, DF-Krummi and performance group Bristol Cava Ninja Crew.

Melkorka learned choreography at the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam and contemporary dance at PARTS in Brussels, 2006-2010. Since graduation she has worked with Motion Development group (Group Collective), John the Houseband and Belgian Dance Company Ultima Vez.

In this show, we will try to combine different aspects of performing arts, such as dance and music but also the lights and sounds play a major role. The idea is that the audience could come to a concert, listen to different tracks and see the spectacular in the way. In the piece we seek to combine songs and dance in perfect balance. All in all this is heading in a very colorful and entertaining show, we have to double all the technical equipment in the National Theatre and are working with excellent technicians. Ellen Loftsdóttir is doing the costumes that are very funny and Brynja Björnsdóttir, the set designer is equipped to do a lot of great things in the space of the National Theatre.

Broken by Glymskrattinn

Where, when and what? How many shows will there be?

We will allow the audience to judge what will be most surprising in the Glymskrattinn. However, we can reveal that up to the last song in our show combines disco and dubstep in a very innovative way. So praise the excellent dose of glitter and confettis, neon lighting and lazer shows.

There will be four screenings, on Wednesday 20:00 o’clock, after which May 25th May 1st and June 2nd at. 22:30. It is therefore ideal for people going out to dinner or to celebrate before and then go to a concert and spectacular dance show in the National Theatre!

Where can one get tickets?

You can buy tickets at midi.is through the website listahatid.is Arts Festival, the website of the National Theatre leikhusid.is, phone: 551-1200. It is sold out for the premiere, so we encourage people to buy tickets.

 

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

 

Margrét Erla Maack

It’s the day after the night before; we’re standing outside Ísafjörðurs old gymnasium and on our way to meet up with Margrét Erla Maack, television presenter and Bollywood dancer. She’s here on unofficial business, in layman’s terms she is on her holiday. Unlike the rest of us though, she is going about it in a slightly different manner. For the second year running she will be hosting a short introduction to Bollywood dancing. We are going to talk to her just before she takes to her craft.

How long have you actually been involved with dancing?

I’ve done belly dancing for around seven years and then Bollywood dancing for some four years now.

So you’ve been all in for the last four years?

Yeah, I’ve been teaching Bollywood for the last three years and belly dancing for the last six.

What got you started?

I had a really bad back, that got me started and then my master teacher in New York got me started on Bollywood dancing to increase my endurance levels.

I assume you have delved yourself into the phantasm that is the world of Bollywood films?

Yes, yes, you have to know what they are singing about, where the film comes from, whether context is one of sadness or joy. Also a lot of the dances we teach are straight from tape, otherwise I’d just be cheating.

This creative field is just immense, much larger than most people can imagine full of vibrant imagery and all manner of techniques, would you agree to that statement?

Definitely, and it shows when people are working with the style. Take La Boheme for instance, which is on at the Harpan. In one of the scenes, where they are introducing Musetta, it’s supposed to be oriental and she is portrayed in a Mata Hari like manner. She is surrounded by a group of girls doing a mixture of belly- and Bollywood dancing and traditional hand symbols, but the one they are doing, means Devil or evil person!

That really was a bit of a shame, especially as there are quite few people that could have been called on to explain how they work and what they mean, it would just have been sorted there and then. I guess that to a lot of people, it’s pretty much the same, but in truth that is as if you’d say Icelandic and German was one and the same language. You’re sitting there going damn! This is the Icelandic opera, this shouldn’t happen.

The reason there is such emphasis on dancing, is you cannot invest that much energy in the screenplay. There is a lot of illiteracy and such a plethora of languages within India that the plot cannot the overly complicated. What they do is keep the plot simple and go all in with everything else, especially the visuals and the sound. That’s where their ambitions lie. In our “western” culture we place the emphasis on the storyline and the plot twists. If you where to take that angle you would lose a large portion of you audience. That is why you’ll see them dancing the important message, over and over again, with slight variations in the words and the symbols, so that it reaches as many people as possible.

 ”I tend to use pop songs because they are fast and you can really dance to them”

The hand symbols are a lot like the deaf news, and that derives from the old story dancing where the dancers would tell a fairy tale with their movements and signs. They would gesture the symbol for dragon and a lot of it springs from Hindu mythology, where a number of the gods have more than two hands. (Margrét displays in one swift movement what is palpably a dragon with her hand and then she does a rapid movement with hear limbs that again visually portray the idea of a Hindu god) If you don’t have these things 100% you can just forget about it!

When I create new dances of my own, I tend to use pop songs because they are fast and you can really dance to them. In the process I look at the lyrics in Hindi and then in the English translation. Then I move on to special websites that are just dedicated to hand signals.

In belly dancing it’s a lot simpler, you dance softly to a harmonica whereas you up your tempo and dance hard to drums, it isn’t a lot more complicated than that. This on the other hand has a lot of nuances you can really mess up so you have to be careful.

What has always got me, is the incredible escapism that they’re selling!

Exactly! It’s really no more than three major story lines and they are all on the line of “It will happen tomorrow, for you! You’re next” The classic themes are: The guy that wins the lottery, but sill keeps his heart of gold and everyone thinks they didn’t deserve it but he’s such a nice guy. Then you’ll have the Romeo and Juliet/West side story, where you have the lovers that can’t be together. They meet the love of their life and they don’t care if you’re from another cast! That’s where they’re selling hopes to people.

Lastly you have the blockbusters that are set in a theatre or a movie set. The hook being that the lead actor dies, has an accident or gets stinking drunk even. The following scene will be on the set and there is high drama, with people shouting: What will we do now? Is there anyone that knows the score? Who could possibly jump into this role at this hour? And then all of a sudden the janitor with the broom steps up and goes: I’m pretty sure I can do it!

He will then go on to have a romance with the lead actress. In these scenarios the downtrodden character is always getting the chance of a lifetime and will always succeed on the purity of his heart. These movies are a sedative, a massive one! And that is kind of disturbing. We’re sort of going ooh this is looks like such fun. When it’s actually a tranquilizer on a national scale.

These are the major story lines that are going on, and in the ones that have a film within a film (the blockbusters), you might all of a sudden get a cowboy dance routine, it makes no sense whatsoever but it’s in the movie that they are making in the film. They pull out all the stops, because it’s the movie-making world and that is so exiting. This world is simply full of fakery. All the beautiful actresses never ever sing their lines and they don’t hide it at all.

That’s honest in a way?

True, wasn’t it Julie Andrews that sang for Audrey Hepburn in My fair lady? So yes I guess so.

As a final note, I wanted to ask you why bring Bollywood to Aldrei fór ég Suður?

Well, I’m here anyway and this is my third year now coming to the festival. I really love what it stands for, and it’s simply a case of wanting to give something back.

I phoned up the swimming hall and told them what this was about and they were nothing if not accommodating. They said you’re doing this for free, have the gymnastics hall. And you know I’ve got a long summer holiday coming up and I might just come here and run a class, then people will know what it’s all about.

I also feel strongly that this should be more than just the rock festival, that in the daytime there should be some other form of entertainment for the people that hadn’t been out ’til one in the morning the night before.

 

It is obvious that Margrét works in television, for she is the perfect interviewee, she knows what you’re looking for i.e. more than a simple yes or no answer, which is a nightmare scenario for anyone that has ever taken an interview. Her answers are filling and reach something deeper. You really get the notion that here is someone passionate about what she does and cares for how it is received.

Interview: Guðni Rúnar Jónasson
Photographs: Elín Lóa

Samsteypan collective

Samsteypan collective is premiering the piece ÚPS! directed by Víkingur Kristjánsson on Thursday 1st march in Tjarnarbíó 101 Reykjavík. We took a sneak- peak and met with Ásgerður G. Gunnarsdóttir the dramaturg of the piece and the rest of the group to find out a little more about the project.

Ásgerður / the group in front of Tjarnarbíó

What is this group about, and what is the concept?

We started this group in 2005, and when we were deciding on a name, we wanted our group to have words that somehow would be connected to movement, energy, experimentalism and some kind of development.” Ásgerður says and adds that collaboration with actors, musicians and others working in the field of stage-arts are in the limelight and an important part of their work.

Do you think the arts are too categorized in that sense, when you think about dance and acting?

Well back in the day, before the Icelandic academy of the Arts offered education with various ideas about this blending between acting and dance, with the contemporary dance department and theory and practice, this was surely and probably categories that didn’t blend too much.” Ásgerður says and adds that she thinks catergorization is fine, but that their group had more interest in new ideas about movement, that it isn’t just about pre-given steps and technique and so forth.

We want to use different dance styles in cooperation with all those that have to do with stage- arts and performance. We were in the beginning inspired by dance- styles by international groups.” Ásgerður says.

Photos from previous pieces, Kandiland and Shake me. Photographs: Bart Grietens

ÚPS! The title of the piece, what can you tell me about that?

This is the final piece in a triology we decided to create, they have all been built on works by Shakespeare. This is the last one, and it is based on the Shakespheare comedies. The word ÚPS has so much to do with mistakes, misunderstandings and that kind of things, like woops, that this happened.” Ásgerður explains and adds that the group found this word fitting for the concept of the piece.

“You maybe find yourself in some sort of dramatic crisis, but then you just say, woops, obbossí!”

So its not serious, its just ÚPS (woops) and that’s the end of it?

Well that’s the thing, you maybe find yourself in some sort of dramatic crisis, but then you just say, woops, obbossí! And that´s the end of the matter in these comedies that we are working from.” Ásgerður says and laughs. “The line we found is very thin between drama and comical things.

So, this piece consists of four dancers and one actor, right?

Yes, we got to know Hannes Óli Ágústsson in the Icelandic Academy of the Arts, and did the first piece of this triology together in 2009. This blend has been very interesting and successful for our group.

What about the music, do you have a sound world in the piece?

Yes, the musician Gísli Galdur has remixed a lot of nineties songs for our piece ÚPS! that will surely strengthen our world that we are creating. This has been a theme for all our pieces in this triology, first we had power-ballads for the first piece and songs by the very well knowned band Queen for the our second piece.” Ásgerður says.

We felt that the energy in surden songs from the nineties, is clownish and strange, that suits this humour- and comic preformance very well. Maybe its this e-pill popping, like Ibiza atmosphere, that I at least think about when I hear some of those songs.

So, do you record your pieces so that you have them in some sort of video- format?

Well this has been a problem for all dance forms, that the documentation of the pieces are not always produced in some sort of video footage or photographs. This is an disadvantage for performing arts.” Ásgerður says but adds that they try to document their pieces as much as they can.

Hannes Óli Ágústsson, Melkorka S. Magnúsdóttir, Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, Ragnheiður S. Bjarnarson, Ásgerður G. Gunnarsdóttir, Arna Ýr Sævarsdóttir og Víkingur Kristjánsson.

Is it possible to document and capture movement visually, and do the piece justice at the same time?

I´ve been thinking about this a lot. You can, but the result will only be the skeleton of the piece though. You can never capture the full atmosphere, the experience of being in the same space and time, as the performance happens.” Ásgerður says but adds that the group is open to all documentation formats.

So what can you tell me about the piece, what can one expect?

The piece is very visual, very physical and energetic. It dosent give one specific meaning, but there is a lot of stories that binds in one wholesome whole. We are trying to creative one world for all those different threads that are in this piece.

Is this performance going to be in English?

Well the dance, music, movement and atmosphere is international. But we are going to perform this piece in English.” Ásgerður says. “Stay tuned”!

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Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Sigga Soffía

Fresh from three shows of Kinnhesturinn, a rough, tough take on Iceland’s powerful historic women, we manage to sequester Sigga Soffía and Trausti, her boyfriend, for a little interview and a look around her cozy west side apartment. The occasion? On Friday, she along with five other artists will be performing in the Icelandic National Theater. It´s the first of two showing of We Saw Monsters by Erna Ómarsdóttir and the performance is a part of the yearly Reykjavík Arts Festival. What´s special about this dance based interpretation of slasher movies, urban legends and the horrors of medical experiments, we will soon find out. Both progressive and challenging, it will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to explosive finish. But first, what is Sigga Soffía all about?

How long have you worked as a dancer?

I was in the first batch to graduate from the new contemporary dance course within the Department of Theatre and Dance. This was the first time dance was being taught at an university level here in Iceland. And since then I have been plying my trade.

When was this?

This was…, well I graduated from college, Menntaskólinn in Reykjavík, in 2005 and that should make it summer of 2009. During my BA studies I did an exchange in Brussels, that’s where I started working with Erna Ómars. At first I was just there as an exchange student but in the end I wound up being taken into the performance. That in turn allowed me to write my BA dissertation in France, at the time we were premiering. So essentially I started working before I had technically finished my studies.

So a year abroad is necessary?

The first semester on the third year of the BA program has to be abroad. Which is great, we are very isolated on this small island, so going abroad is quite necessary for a dancer, in my opinion, to understand better the national context and the pros and cons of living in Iceland.? After that period I got an exemption to write my dissertation in France so I could premiere the piece with the company. It was a bit heavy though, performing in the daytime and then from ten at night to one in the morning writing non stop, a bit crazy really.

Was the written dissertation on the performance?

No, as we were the first graduation year, they pushed us to write primary source material about Icelandic dance, which nearly nothing had been written about. So my work was on a dance group, Ekka, that had been around for a couple of years before. That was pretty good as Erna Ómars and Karen María had both been part of it. In that sense I was quite lucky to be able to interview them personally. As is often with these things, no written material was available so I had to construct it all out of the interviews I took. Quite different to most academic dissertations one should think.

Since you were the first graduation group, were you at all involved in the way the course was moulded?

Yes, we were lucky to be a part of the pilot program. After our first year we had a meeting with the head of the University, discussed what was good and what could be done better. To their credit, they took most of what we had to say into account and so the class after us got the program with the tweaks. It was great to be able to affect the teaching program.

Collaboration with other fields?

Yes, I have done a fair bit of that lately, there are a few groups I’m currently working with, one of which is Bristol Ninja Cava Crew where I work with an artist Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir. The last thing we worked together on was Sequences visual arts festival. With BNCC we are not making dance pieces, the aim there is to making a live sculpture. My work (as the sculpture) was a lot based on the costume as I had gloves made from M&M’s and the candy head piece was about two kilos and therefore put a rather severe restrictions on every movement, so that was what I worked with. The same applies to the performance Villa Reykjavík last summer, the focus being wholly different than in the dance performances I usually do.

I’ve also been making short films. I’m quite fond of that format and have been shooting and editing pretty much everything myself, well me and Trausti here. The first film I made “Uniform Sierra” won first prize at Danzine, at Actfestival in Spain. Most of the filming was underwater but the best bit in the making of that film was when he (she points at Trausti and grins) was wearing these 80′s overalls up in a ladder, filming me dancing in a geothermal hot spring. I was thinking If anyone was to see how this is being shot I would be laughed at but then it won first price in Bilbao! After the festival a lot of people were very interested, asking about camera effects and styles, “did you use this and that effect or the crane movement was just so good” This was done with no money and Trausti nearly froze to death up on that ladder due to wind cooling. Trausti interjects that Sigga nearly gave up herself (she was just wearing a dress but then she got in the hot spring and she warmed up as treat).

Most of the films on that festival were professionally produced with huge budgets. What was great to see with this film was that even with no money you can still make something good and we managed to get our message across.

You are no more likely to capture that unique moment with a giant budget?

True, but then you think back and wonder what you could have done with loads of money. Trausti: Are you completely sure of that? Well, it was made in 2008 and now I know much more about filmmaking, editing and lenses. When you know what is available you start thinking: I could have done this or added that but that´s that. The script I’m writing for this summer is for a short film but with a lot of text, still a dance film but in disguise.

It´s just that people are afraid to show up if its a dance film, but if it´s just a film, even if everyone is dancing, that is somehow fine.

There has been a sea change.

Nanna (ever intrusive photographer): Young people are proudly saying I went to the theatre! Exactly! Now we’re working on how to get people to dance-performances and that is a complex project.

Another aspect that I have been collaborating on is music for the performances and I have been working with many musicians, especially Jóhann Friðgeir Jóhannsson (70i). He composed both the music for my short film and for the last project White For Decay which was a collaboration with the Icelandic Dance Company.

It’s really great to be able to work the dance and the music in such unison – he’s great to work with. I might say ‘I feel there needs to be a specific sound here to express this movement’ and he’ll take that and work with it to find something that will fit to the scene and then insert it into the score.

When we then compile it all together it’s a bit like putting a score to a movie, the dance is rehearsed and it’s always the same and so it overlaps – there is a synergy there. He was for instance with us in the theatre the week before the show, working on the score while we worked on the final touches. He would record the performances in the end of the day and rearrange it with what he had recorded. That way I personally feel that you get the performance as a whole and not as music that is being danced to. You don’t know whether the music is due to the movement and that is a bit of the magic.

What you describe is a creative but regimented training schedule, but the popular perception of modern dance is being free flowing and in no way rehearsed. What is the norm?

That wholly depends on the piece but for the most part performances are rehearsed down to the smallest movement. That is more common. In Kinnhesturinn everything was determined and fixed in rehearsals and the same could be said for the piece White For Decay, except for 2 scenes. They are within a set of parameters and I wanted to have those scenes improvised to make them a bit more risky, the flip side of that being that it increases the likelihood of crashes! I personally like when some parts are not completely fixed, improvisation sets a another presence in the body. It´s just so much fun when there is “almost a crash” and it´s nice to have a certain amount of freedom.

In the improvisation there is always the chance to convey something different?

When you improvise you might do something different, or you need to react because your falling onto the next person, you through yourself and in the process do an amazing backflip, something that you would never dare to do but because the situation called for it and that might then be incorporated into the performance. Opening nights don’t have to be creative endpoints, if the piece is open then there is scope for evolution, one might for instance go deeper into character and become more expressive.

But the norm is to set most of the parts, in “We Saw Monsters” that premieres on Friday the 20th in the National Theatre everything is set. There I’m a twin so every part I do down to the smallest detail is set. My “twin-sister” and I are totally in unison and therefore have been training every detail even the position of fingers throughout the performance.

We Saw Monsters is a kind of a “horror-dance performance” anyone who likes horror films should definitely come to the show! If you have never seen a dance performance please try this one!

Final question. I’ve always had the notion that dancers were like handball players, continuously black and blue, occupational hazard?

Yes quite a lot of that, it depends on the choreography and usually it´s mostly burns from throwing yourself onto the floor. I´m lousy with them now but I just lather myself in AD cream which is fine until you start growing to you sheets. With monsters we are doing endless head banging so the chiropractor has had many visits from us. The top vertebra’s in my neck are very unhappy. The musicians from one of the shows I did were laughing at us after the opening night as we were preparing to go out and celebrate. We got dressed up and then took up the makeup and started to do up our knees, covering cuts and burns. They were just dumbfounded never having seen makeup being used so liberally. You can’t complain, you just patch up and go down town!

If, like me, you haven’t gone to a dance performance before, shed your perceptions of tedium and intellectual froth, In our opinion, this is an “In your face” (blow your face away even) performance, that delves into the darker sides of human nature and get´s you thinking about all the monsters around/and within us.

There is still time to get a ticket and get inspired.

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Reykjavík art festival

Interview: Guðni Rúnar
Photographs: Nanna Dís