Erna Ómarsdóttir

Choreographer

Erna Ómarsdóttir, artistic director of Iceland Dance Company, graduated from P.A.R.T.S. (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios) in 1998. Following her graduation, she worked with Jan Fabre, Ballet C De la B, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and became a founding member of the collectives Ekki (Reykjavík) and Poni (Brussel). She has created and directed a number of works for Iceland Dance Company, including We are all Marlene Dietrich FOR (2005) in collaboration with Janez Janza (Emil Hrvation) and Transaquania - out of the blue (2009) and Transaquania - into thin air (2010) in collaboration with Damien Jalet and Gabríela Friðriksdóttir. In 2009, Erna created and directed Black Marrow for the Australian company Chunky Moves, in collaboration with Damien Jalet. The piece was presented at the Melbourne International Arts Festival and re-staged in 2015, with Iceland Dance Company. For her choreography in Njála, a collaboration between IDC and Reykjavík City Theatre (2015) Erna received the Icelandic Performing Arts Award in the category Dance- and stage movement 2016. In 2018, Erna choreographed William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in collaboration with Halla Ólafsdóttir, for the Gärtnerplatz Ballet in Munich. 

In 2008, Erna and Valdimar Jóhannsson founded the performance group Shalala. They also form a theatrical band called LAZYBLOOD. Erna and Valdimar were the creative directors of Iceland Dance Company’s SACRIFICE - a festival of common things made holy - which premiered in March 2017 and has been touring Europe ever since. Their latest collaboration is The Best of Darkness, the fourth and final piece in a series of work to the music by Sigur Rós and performed by IDC. The first piece in the series was At Dusk, We Embrace, which IDC premiered at Sigur Rós’s festival Norður og Niður, then came the video installation Örævi in collaboration with Pierre-Alain Giraud, premiered at the opening of the Winter Lights Festival in Reykjavík in 2018, and the third piece was Variations of Darkness, which IDC performed at Reykjavik Arts Festival in June 2018. 

Erna has worked closely with visual artists Matthew Barney, Ragnar Kjartansson and musicians Björk, Sigur Rós, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Ben Frost. She was an associate director of Les Grandes Traversees in Bordeaux, France in 2007 and artistic director of Reykjavík Dance Festival 2014. Erna has been nominated a number of times for her work in Ballet Tanz annual reviews, she is a recipient of 6 Iceland Performing Arts Awards and a resident artist of APAP - advancing performing arts project, a European network connecting international and local aspects of contemporary arts.