German Premiere

Iceland Dance Company / Erna Ómarsdóttir

different locations
08.09.2017 – 10.09.2017
Mehrere Tänzerinnen knien mit Gitarren auf einer Bühne.

The English title “Sacrifice” can be traced back to Latin “sacrificium” – the miracle that occurs when the profane becomes sacred. Erna Ómarsdóttir takes this occurrence seriously, proclaiming, in an overwhelming gesture, the individual’s creativity as the new creed, together with her life-partner Valdimar Jóhannsson. In collaboration with the exceptional American artist Matthew Barney, with Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, Ragnar Kjartansson and Margrét Bjarnadóttir, she reinterprets life-changing ceremonies anew in this four-part gesamtkunstwerk. Not least, agents of the most different communities congregate to offer their worldviews on a marketplace of possibilities, in short: Numerous preachers of the creative religion populate tanzhaus nrw. Even if art and religion have always gone hand-in-hand, their relationship will be imbued with a dose of lust and humour, when grand works and well-known rituals re-emerge in quotes and restagings. After all, it is in the human nature to believe in something, showing in bodies, in their movements and modes of expression – as in art.

Erna Ómarsdóttir serves as the artistic director for the Iceland Dance Company. Following her studies at P.A.R.T.S., she went on to work with Jan Fabre, Les Ballets C de la B and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Additionally, she created a number of plays for Australian ensemble Chunky Moves. Close collaborations links her with artists such as Björk, SigurRós, Ólöf Arnalds, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Ben Frost. She won numerous awards by “tanz” magazine and, among others, received the Iceland Performing Artists Award.

Duration: 4 hours incl. several breaks

Accompanying Programme
Sun 10.09. discussion afterwards



“Shrine“ Erna Ómarsdóttir & Valdimar Jóhannsson

Ora et labora: In “Shrine”, Erna Ómarsdóttir designs a cathedral of light, which does not celebrate deities, however dubious, but rather where prayer and work amount to excess. In a struggle with the boundaries of our existence, at once full of relish and painful, she stages the perpetual cycle of a quest for meaning, letting the creative process live up in hose creatures that transform infinitely, in hair monsters and complete exhaustion.


“Dies Irae“Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, Erna Ómarsdóttir & Valdimar Jóhannsson

Thomas Celano’s “Dies Irae” is well-known for its use in requiems. Visual artist Gabríela Fridriksdóttir turns the monks’ Gregorian chant around, transforming it into sounds of the sea during its tides. The video loop’s black and white pictures tell a story of death and resurrection, becoming a silent drama.


”No Tomorrow“Ragnar Kjartansson, Margrét Bjarnadóttir

Who, as a teenager, didn’t have that one song that explained it all, the grand feeling that can only be expressed in music? Ragnar Kjartansson and Margrét Bjarnadóttir stage a coming-of-age manifesto of rhythm, sound and movement, set to a composition by Bryce Dressner – otherwise known as the guitarist in “The National”. A ballet for eight dancers and eight guitars for the one true love and world-weariness.


”Union of the North“ Matthew Barney, Erna Ómarsdóttir & Valdimar Jóhannsson

The core family consisting of father, mother and child remains one of the most tenacious of ideals, closely followed by an opulent wedding. Both do not only appear in contemporary myths on happy living, they also have centuries-old precursors in religious funds. Together with Erna Ómarsdóttir and Valdimar Jóhansson, Matthew Barney changes myths and ideals into a reality show in which they celebrate an archaic wedding ritual on the backdrop of the temples of consumption of our times in the film ”Union of the North“.


A production by the Iceland Dance Company, coproduced by tanzhaus nrw, Wiener Festwochen, Spring Festival Utrecht, BUDA, The Reykjavík City Theatre and Reykjavík Dance Festival. With support from the Ministerium für Bildung und Kultur Island, Nordic cultur point, Nordic cultur fund, Apap, City of Reykjavík. In cooperation with LÓKAL. The guest performance takes place in the framework of the series CEREMONY NOW!, funded by the Kunststiftung NRW. Furthermore funded as part of the Bündnis internationaler Produktionshäuser, funded by the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.