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Choreographer Halla Ólafsdóttir to create Cullberg’s next work

For the next creation, Swedish dance company Cullberg collaborates with choreographer Halla Ólafsdóttir. The new work starts out from the mythological creature the sylph, an ethereal being with the power to shape-shift to rougher and rawer creatures.  Sylph premieres at Dansens Hus/Elverket in Stockholm in May 2023.

“I have a sort of love-hate relationship with classical ballet and usually work with a mix of “nice and bad culture”. The sylphs have a voice and a giant body, they wander in and out of a mysterious world, dancing, whispering, rustling, tapping and chewing. We play with exorcism and the occult and examine what happens choreographically when sound, costume, scenography, light and dance play equal roles. If I can dream completely freely, we will present a very mysterious world, a forest with the dancers as creatures and animals”, says Halla Ólafsdóttir.

Halla Ólafsdóttir creates Sylph together with the Cullberg dancers, composer Shida Shahabi, set and lighting designer Chrisander Brun and costume designer Hanna Kisch. Sylph is Ólafsdóttir’s first work for Cullberg.

Sylph (2023)
Choreography Halla Ólafsdóttir
Music Shida Shahabi
Set and lighting design Chrisander Brun
Costume design Hanna Kisch
With nine dancers.

Premiere with Cullberg May 4, 2023, Dansens Hus/Elverket, Stockholm.

About Halla Ólafsdóttir
Halla Ólafsdóttir is a dancer and choreographer with an MA in choreography from Stockholm University of the Arts (formerly DOCH). She always works collectively in various constellations that look for ways of expanding the notion of choreography. A big part of her work revolves around recognizable material from art and pop culture where she explores what happens when set in another context.  She often uses conventions and clichées, trying to find working methods that break and erase those. For Halla, the meeting between the artist and audience outside the stage is very important and through her artistic work she has focused on building structures to provide feedback, both among artists, but also between the audience and the practitioners.

Halla has been touring together with Amanda Apetrea with the pieces DEAD (2017), and Beauty and the Beast, which won the Prix Jardin d’Europe Awards at ImpulsTanz in 2013. The duo’s upcoming work is Sälkvinnorna (2023). Halla is part of the collective Samlingen, a choreographic project where a common interest in choreography and feminism is intertwined with the history of dance, together with other practitioners and the audience. Samlingen changes from place to place and has so far worked at the Postdance conference, the Works at work festival in Copenhagen and at Riksteatern (The Swedish National Touring Theatre). Samlingen is currently working with The Swedish Ballet 2020-2025. In the autumn 2013, Samlingen collaborated with Cullberg at Dansmuseet in Stockholm.

Halla experiments with various forms and expressions, and finds inspiration in different art forms. She played the lead role in the feature film Under Influence by Sidney Leoni and will play in the upcoming FLY by Leoni, as well as in a new film directed by Ester Martin Bergsmark, A Sweetness From Nowhere. Halla and choreographer Eliisa Erävalo have developed the workshop BITCHCRAFT which was held with Cullberg as well as with Iceland Art Academy. Together, they have created the works Bitch (2021) and Granddaughters (2022).  With Erna Ómarsdóttir they are currently working on their piece Romeo <3 Juliet (nominated for DER FAUST Awards 2019)  with Iceland Dance Company, including the new work The Juliet Duet (2022).

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Cullberg is the national and international repertoire contemporary dance company in Sweden, continuously co-creating to make contemporary dance relevant for the many. Together with choreographers from around the world, we are exploring ideas on how dance can be defined, produced and presented. Those explorations are the pillars of a company that is constantly in motion at the heart of the international arena. 2019-2022, Cullberg works exclusively with three associated artists: Alma Söderberg, Deborah Hay and Jefta van Dinther. The core of the company consists of 17 extraordinary individual dancers with a central role in the creations. Cullberg’s works emerge from the times we are living in, as part of the socio-political environment including equality, diversity and sustainability. Cullberg is led by artistic director Kristine Slettevold and managing director Stina Dahlström. Cullberg is part of Riksteatern – The Swedish National Touring Theatre