From Iceland — Rite Of Spring: ‘Fórn’ Is Now Showing In Reykjavík

Rite Of Spring: ‘Fórn’ Is Now Showing In Reykjavík

Published March 21, 2017

Rite Of Spring: ‘Fórn’ Is Now Showing In Reykjavík
Rex Beckett
Photo by
Jónatan Grétarsson

Somewhere between the repugnant and the pure, the orgiastic and the tortuous, the brutal and the delicate, there is sacrifice. A sacrifice of the physical, the psychic or of long-held ideals. In ‘Fórn’ (“Sacrifice,” in English), the new performance by the Iceland Dance Company, the sacrificial act seems like a grand ritualistic offering from the artist to the public.

‘Fórn’ is a new collaborative performance piece by Erna Ómarsdóttir (artistic director of the Iceland Dance Company), Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, Ragnar Kjartansson, Margrét Bjarnadóttir, Bryce Dessner, and Matthew Barney. Held in Borgarleikhúsið, the show takes over the theatre’s entire space, including the entrance foyer, the small recesses of the cloakrooms, the bar, and of course, the stages. This ambitious use of the space is quite novel in this location, which usually offers a more traditional theatre experience—here, it feels more like a 101 gallery opening.

The performance itself begins from the moment guests enter, as they’re greeted by a dreamy, circus-like marketplace, and it goes on to include film, dance, spoken word, hot yoga, happenings, and direct engagement with artists and performers. This pastiche-style curation is impressive and experimental, and the entire performance feels like an ongoing process—a breathing organism.

‘Fórn’’s most standout moments are the choreographies by Erna Ómarsdóttir and the collaboration between Ragnar Kjartansson and Margrét Bjarnadóttir. The former employs her trademark use of the body as something primal and grotesque within the larger, more polished context of the dance company’s home theatre. Although her piece causes anxiety, it is also incredibly humorous, clever, and deeply calculated. Ragnar and Margrét’s piece ‘Ekkert á Morgun’ (“No Tomorrow,” in English) is astoundingly beautiful and life-affirming, with the dancers performing exceptionally skilled manoeuvres, while having their hands full the entire time.

As a whole, the experience is immersive and unique. It’s also particularly long, clocking in at a mammoth five hours, and requiring stamina, patience, and possibly a couple of coffees. But we all have to make sacrifices.

Info: Fórn / Sacrifice premiered at Borgarleikhúsið on March 16 and runs until April 9. Tickets cost 5,950 ISK and are available on

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