From Iceland — Without this, I would have died

Without this, I would have died

Published September 3, 2008

Erna Ómarsdóttir explains what she is dancing about

Without this, I would have died
Haukur S. Magnússon
Photo by

Erna Ómarsdóttir explains what she is dancing about

Contemporary dancer Erna Ómarsdóttir comes from Kópavogur, and is a lauded artist in her field.

The Grapevine caught celebrated contemporary dancer Erna Ómarsdóttir on the phone from Zurich, where she is staging a show in collaboration with artist Gabríela Friðriksdóttir.“They’ve got money here in Switzerland,” she replies as we enquire whether the cost of the call won’t ruin her. “We are in the process of creating the project. It is based on a folk-tale that involves a black spider, that’s all I can say for now. She tells us that she generally loves doing collaborations, the dialogue that they involve and the insight to be gained.

“Mixing artforms is important, you get a glimpse into another world, and a shred of understanding of it. Working with people such as [composer] Jóhann Jóhannsson or Gabríela is a great opportunity, and it opens many doors. I think I would die if I confined myself to the world of contemporary dancing. It’ can be such a limiting world, closed off and small. It is very healthy sometimes to explore the unknown and get distance from the small world of contemporary dance, at least for myself. You know what I mean?”

I just call it all dancing
Erna is right in stating that the world of contemporary dance is a small and closed-off one: You may not have heard a lot about her, but Erna is a revered figure in her field and has reached a level of respect and infamy within it that many strive for throughout their careers. And this is something her adventurousness and many collaborations have contributed to, and is getting her recognition and acclaim from outside of the artform’s sometimes limited field.

“Why did I want to dance? That’s an interesting question. It was something that happened very spontaneously, or naturally. It is an evolution I underwent, and should… maybe it’s just my fate that I wound up here. At some point, it become a big passion, contemporary dance was a way for me to express myself. There is something inside of a person that makes it try different things, I use dancing. It is always very basic, and I don’t know anything else. I don’t know how to sing, but I do that and other stuff that you wouldn’t call dance in my performances, and call it all dance. People are put together so differently, and everyone has different experiences, voices. I wound up here, with this one. I am very lucky to have done so, and thankful for it. Without this, I would have died. It saved my life.”

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!


Show Me More!