From Iceland — Otherworldly Creatures

Otherworldly Creatures

Published May 8, 2009

Otherworldly Creatures

Choreographers Erna Ómarsdóttir and Damien Jalet and visual artist Gabríella Friðriksdóttir created an emerging world, rising up from the milky waters of the lagoon, in celebration of the final day of winter.

Otherworldly creatures, seemingly nude with sparse tufts of hair and oddly shaped heads, bobbed in and out of the water and writhed across a platform shrouded in mist, evolving before the audience’s eyes from silent alien beings to erect, vocal creatures. The physical and emotional pains of evolution were beautifully portrayed by the team of dancers, who screamed and screeched upon first discovering the strength of their limbs. Having the audience in the warm waters, the performance’s source of life, while witnessing the birth of a species created an intimacy and physical connection to the piece that other arenas could not provide.

After a brief intermission, allowing time to shower and dress, the audience proceeded down a dimly lit hallway to the Blue Lagoon’s Lava Room. The corridor was littered with the costumes of the dancers, who were now in street-clothes with the exception of two, as if the creatures from the lagoon had shed their skin in a final phase of physical metamorphosis. The music of Ben Frost and Valdimar Jóhannsson (of Reykjavík!) filled the space as the plainly clothed dancers lead the audience through a spectrum of emotions, from pain and suffering to pure elation, rising up from the ground and throwing themselves down with incomprehensible strength and grace. The one-time performance was stunning both in concept and execution: a dramatic adieu to another winter season.

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