Out and about - The world adventures of Icelandic performance artists this summer

18. Jul 2011

From the piece We Saw Monsters. Photographer:Nanna Dís Icelanders have been touring all over Europe this summer and it is time to go on a big journey, to see where they have been laying their hat over these few months.

Let's pack our bag, and start in Central Europe...
Erna Ómarsdóttir´s company, Shalala has been busy touring some of the most important European theatre and performance festivals this spring and summer. We Saw Monsters premiered at The Reykjavik Arts festival in May and Teach us to outgrow our Madness (premiered in 2009 at Les Antipodes Festival in Brest in France) was performed this summer at the Salamanca Theatre Festival in Spain and later at Julidans in Amsterdam, first of Icelandic performance artists to perform their own piece at the prestigious festival.

Lazyblood, Erna´s performance band with her fiancé, Valdimar Jóhannsson, was also on the road. It premiered the Tickling Death Machine at the Kunsten Festival des Arts in Brussels were they worked in collaboration with the band Reykjavik! They also performed at Les Antipodes Festival in Brest and in St Brieuc in France.

Shalala is now taking a break from touring until end November as the artistic director and the manager are expecting a baby. Next performing season will start with Teach us to Outgrow our Madness in Germany, Belgium, Cologne, Hamburg and Hasselt. We Saw Monsters will have its European premiere in Turnhout in Belgium in December and the The Tickling Death Machine will be performed in Orlean in France and Kyoto in Japan late next year. Digging in the Sand with Only One Hand will be performed in Berlin in December.  

If you want to catch some of Erna´s work soon, Lazyblood and the artist Gabriela Fridriksdóttir are participating in the Biennale Contour in Mechelen in Belgium from end of August until end of October.

The Icelandic dancer Tanja Marín Friðjónsdóttir has also been based in Central Europe, currently touring with the piece Oedipus / Bêt Noir which was premiered at Julidans Festival in Amsterdam, Holland. The performance is based on the Greek tragedy Oedipus by Sophocles. choreographed by the acclaimed Wim Vandekeybus and directed by Jan Decorte.

For more information on Erna´s work and touring schedlue, click here

For more information on Touring schedule of Oedipus/Bet Noir, click here; 

...before we fly over to Austria where there have been some Icelandic bangs..
Eva Björk Kaaber, Eva Rún Snorradóttir and Vilborg Ólafsdóttir are the geniuses behind Kviss Búmm Bang which was founded in 2009. They have shot to fame in Iceland very fast in the last three years and have now begun to receive international acclaim. Their first project, The Norm Olympics premiered at artFart, an independent performance festival in Reykjavik in August 2009 and was picked up by Lókal - International Theatre Festival that year. Great Group of Eight premired at the festival in September 2010. In October 2010 Kviss Búmm Bang performed Safari at Keðja, an international dance encounter in Reykjavík. 

They recently premiered The Norm Olympics at the highly acclaimed Wiener Festwochen in Vienna. There, they received very good feedback as well as shining reviews, sold out to every performance and a apparently there was a waiting list as well!

From The Norm Olympics at the Wiener Festwochen. Source: Kviss Búmm Bang. If you are intrigued in this new Icelandic performance star, then you might be able to catch them at Le Festival du Théatre de Poche in Hédé, France and at the Baltic Circle in Helsinki in November. They will show Safari in both of these festivals.

The Icelandic Dance Company has been performing twice in a short time at dance festivals in Austria. Last April the company performed Groβstadtsafari by the Norwegian choreographer Jo Strömgren and End Station by the Swedish choreograper Alexander Ekman in Linz and received a very good feedback. A reporter from the Tips Total Regional wrote; “Even though the company comes from the north, it leaves no one cold. The dancers are technichally very capable, charming and have strong personalities". The newspaper Nachrichten gave the show five stars out of six.

In June the company headed to Dornbirn where they performed The Swan by Lára Stefánsdóttir, as well as showing Icelandic dance short movies by Katrín Hall and Reynir Lyngdal. The company got very good feedback and it was sold out to both of the evenings. A critic at the Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung wrote „The Swan performed by the Icelandic Dance Company was the highlight of the festival.“  

For more information on Kviss Búmm Bang click here

For more information on the Icelandic Dance Company, click here

... and from Austria to the North...
The dance duo Steinunn & Brian have been performing regularly in Europe and this time they performed the piece Steinunn & Brian Do Art in Estonia at the Noormets Festival in Viljandi. The piece was premiered at Kedja Reykjavik - International Performing Arts Encounter in October last year. They will also be performing at the Atalante, Goteburg, Sweden in October and are heading off to Italy in November for a residency at the Bassano Del Grappa.

Snædís Lilja Ingadóttir, theatre and dance maker will also perform in Sweden, but she will perform Just Here! at STOFF in Stockholm in August. The piece was premiered at artFart performance festival in August 2010.

The choreographer Halla Ólafsdóttir has also been charming the Swedish nation, while she has been touring with the piece, It´s definitely the spiritual thing with her collaborators Nadja Horton and Susanna Leibovici but they performed the piece at Pustervik in Goteburg, in June.

The National Theatre was also out and about Scandinavia this summer. It performed the play Gerpla - the Happy Warriors in Bergen, based on the novel by Halldór Laxness and directed by one of Iceland´s leading directors, Baltasar Kormákur at the Bergen International Festival. The show and its director received great reviews in the Bergen Avisen.

Sindri the Silver Fish by Áslaug Jónsdóttir was shown at an international children´s festival in Assitej in Malmö and in Copenhagen in May. This fall the play will travel to Moscow, where is has been invited to show.

For more information on Steinunn & Brian click here

For more information on Snædís Lilja at STOFF, click here 

For more information on Halla Ólafsdóttir click here

For more information on the National Theatre click here

  From Gerpla - The Happy Warriors. Source: The National Theatre ...before we go on a world tour with Icelandic puppets....
The Icelandic puppetry company Fígúra has truly been travelling all over the world this summer. In June the company toured around Germany, where they performed at the piece Gilitrutt at a children´s book fair in Cologne, where Iceland was the honorary guest. Next they went to Russia to a festival in St. Petersburg. They have also been this year to a tour to America, to the Festival Puppeteers of America in Atlanta where they had two performances and a workshop. In Israel they performed at a festival in Holon where they performed, had a masterclass and a lecture.

Hallveig Thorlacius, who runs The Pocket Theatre has also been touring with her stories in these past months. She performed the show The Smallest Troll in the World at the KUK Art, but the festival was in a collaboration with a Nordic and a Baldic Puppet Festival. The show was a big success and has already been booked in Murmansk in September.

For more information on Fígura, click here

For more information on Hallveig, click here

From the show Umbreyting - Ljóð á hreyfingu. Source: Brúduheimar. ..let´s do a short stop in Kanada...
The Icelandic dancer and choreographer Saga Sigurðardóttir participated at the Núna (Now) festival in Winnipeg in Kanada in May, when she performed the piece Provocation, Pure and Simple, directed by Anat Eisenberg in collaboration with Saga. They were the opening act of the festival and were very well received by the performing scene in Winnipeg.

Information about Provocation, Pure and Simple click here

  ..before we finally end at Tanz im August in Berlin!
From the piece Soft Target by Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir The dance piece Soft Target by Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir has been rocking the international dance festivals this summer, but it was premiered at Reykjavík Dance Festival one year ago. This August it will be performed at the Sommer Bar at Tanz im August in Berlin. It has also performed at Ballhaus Oost í Berlín, Germany in February, at Springdans in Utrecht, Holland in Aprll, at Tanzoffensive í Leipzig in Germany in May and Les Grandes Traversees Festival in Bordeaux, France in July.

She will premiere her latest work in progress, at Reykjavik Dance Festival this August.

For more information On Margrét Sara and her company, Panic Prodictions, click here

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