In “Making of an Artist,” we ask noteable members of Reykjavík’s arts scene to tell us about the formative works and experiences that helped them along on their creative journey. Our first subject is Melkorka Sigríður Magnúsdóttir: the dancing, whirling, grinning frontwoman you might know from our favourite electro-pop party band, Milkywhale. Here are her selections.
1. Beauty and the Beast on the West End
I was eleven, and blown away by the whole show: the singers, choreography, glitter, costumes… I still keep the programme on my bookshelf.
2. Körper – Sasha Waltz
My mother took me to see this performance at the Reykjavík Arts Festival in 2004. The whole show was such an intense explosion of ideas. It influenced my decision to study choreography and performance in [mainland] Europe. I just wanted to get to know everything that was happening in the performing arts scene over there.
3. Screensaver – Icelandic Dance Company
This piece is by an Israeli choreographer, and I remember how different it felt from everything the Icelandic Dance Company had been doing until then. It was super technical and really hardcore. The style was so specific, and the “wow!” factor was definitely there.
4. The World in Pictures – Forced Entertainment
I’d just moved to Amsterdam in 2006 and went to see this performance. It started with a one-and-a-half hour monologue, and more than half of the audience walked out. The show was based on the idea of telling the history of the world from the cavemen until today. It was so messy and great. I’m always impressed when theatre artists manage to stage complete chaos. The dark ages were realized by dimming the lights and presenting a wildlife slideshow on a Macook while performers dressed as monks threw fake snow around. You get the idea.
5. Rosas Danst Rosas – Anna Teresa De Keersmaker
Beyoncé’s music video “Countdown” is basically stolen from “Rosas Danst Rosas”. The original version is over twenty years old, and so much better! There’s something so original, weird and strong about these movements, which I hadn’t really seen before in dance. Complete girl power.
6. Show Must Go On – Jérôme Bel
This piece is extremely simple. One DJ, nineteen pop songs and twenty dancers. The DJ plays songs from a stack of CDs. The first song (“Tonight” from “West Side Story”) is played to a dark auditorium. “Let the Sunshine In” brings a dawning of the stage lights. During the Beatles’ “Come Together,” the performers walk onstage and stand still in a line. Roughly thirty seconds into David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” they start groovin’ it. And it goes on like this until the end. So simple. Saw this performance in Brussels and loved it.
7. Robyn at Iceland Airwaves 2010 and Rock Werchter 2011
I am inspired by the particular ability of live music to affect an audience in a very primal way. For me Robyn does exactly that through her quirky performance and great music. I was completely blown away when I saw her perform at Airwaves in 2010 and again in Belgium the year after.
8. ‘Shaking the Habitual’ Tour – The Knife in O2 London
The Knife put on such crazy shows. I absolutely loved Shaking the Habitual, a night blurring the boundaries between a concert and a performance. You didn’t know which of the performers was singing, what was “live” and if anyone was really playing an instrument. I was like WHAT IS THIS, WHERE CAN I JOIN THIS CULT? It was a show in every sense of the word—the essence of a performance band.
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