Reykjavík Grapevine - 28.08.2009, Blaðsíða 10

Reykjavík Grapevine - 28.08.2009, Blaðsíða 10
The Reykjavík Grapevine Issue 13 — 2009 10 Iceland is well known for boasting an impressive art community of every sort and for every walk of life, and dance is no exception. Although the size of the dance community is directly proportional to the size of the country, the quality and breadth of options is nothing to shake a stick at. After taking a nice summer vacation, the city’s movers and shakers are coming back this autumn with new shows, new artists and the gumption to power through the tough times. THE BIG KAHUNAS Last April, the Iceland Dance Company’s 2008–2009 season closed with a momentous performance in the Blue Lagoon choreographed by Erna Ómarsdóttir. The audience were literally immersed in the show’s physical setting, raising the bar on drawing the spectator into the performance. This has set a tall order for the company in the upcoming season, but they are not shying away from the task, going onward and upward. “The season ahead is quite ambitious,” says Jóhanna Pálsdóttir, marketing director at ID, “what we’re trying to do is offer something for everyone, for young and old, for people who have just started to attend dance and people who are really into it.” They kick off in September with their annual Family Performance, which puts together a collage of their best shows and favourite pieces. The family oriented, kid friendly show will be on Sunday afternoons in September and October and free for children under 12, making it a great weekend activity. They will also travel up to Akureyri in October for two performances, bringing three of their most popular pieces to the Northern capital. In November, they’ll delve deeper into the avant-garde with Jam Week, a four night run of two-for-one performances. These performances will be more experimental and unpredictable, where the choreographers will have to work with whatever happens. It may appeal to a more experienced dance fan or to the daring uninitiated who is up for a more challenging and exciting show. Throughout the month of December, ticket holders at the Reykjavík City Theatre will be treated to a twenty minute dance appetizer prior to the play they have come to see for only 490 ISK extra. This will give the theatre lover a chance to become a dance lover as well. The Company will then take a brief lull as they prepare for their big February show choreographed by Alan Lucien Oyen, one of Norway’s bright young talents. Oyen is reputed for a very lyrical style, incorporating elements of speech into his beautiful, flowing pieces. Finally, something to look forward to in the long-term will be the closing performance in May 2010, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Fordlandia with the Reykjavík Symphony. This performance will be put on during the Reykjavík Arts Festival and will be a spellbinding way to close the year and start next summer. GOTTA DANCE NOW? The first week of September will be a big one for the little guys. The Reykjavík Dance Festival is coming back for its 7th year from September 3rd to the 7th at the Hafnarfjörður Theatre. With independent choreographers and performers out the wazoo, and presenting no less than six new Icelandic dance pieces, they will also continue their goal of bringing contemporary dance into the public eye with two Dance Parades in downtown Reykjavík. In addition, it will be attended by several directors of international dance companies and festivals. The festival is one of the few opportunities that independent choreographers and dancers in Iceland have to show their work, so it is a great chance for them to be seen by the big wigs, as well as a great chance to expose new people to modern dance who might not get to otherwise. Halla Ólafsdóttir, a founding member of Samsuðan & Co., has been involved with the festival for the past two years and will be performing in ‘Grease, The Deleted Scenes’ this year. She describes the festival as a true celebration of dance and a way for the dance community to collaborate and pool their resources. “What I think is very exciting about the Icelandic dance scene right now is that people are extremely willing and excited about doing things,” says Halla, “the community really wants to share and make things happen.” It is still a matter of economics though—they only received funding from the municipal government, but not the state—so they are operating on a much smaller budget than previous years. All the performers are volunteering their works, and all the shows will be free with a request for donations to help fund next year’s festival. For those without wheels to get to Hafnarfjörður, there will be a free bus departing from downtown at Karamba (Laugavegi 22) forty-five minutes before each performance and coming back after. Students of the University of Reykjavík have been doing good by their peers. This spring five of them—Haukur Guðjónsson, Peter Rydahl Mols, Þórunn Jónsdottir, Jóhanna Dýrunn Jónsdóttir, and Þórdís Katla Bjartmarz—identified a need among young people for something to do during the summer, so they dedicated their time to creating a course so that they, in turn, can create jobs for themselves and others. Organised in cooperation with Innovit and KLAK, the entrepreneurial course brought young people together twice weekly to brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other, listen to input and advice from business owners, entrepreneurs and teachers, and go through the process of starting their own companies. More than 200 people attended the first lecture at Hugmyndahús on May 18th and attendance stayed strong throughout the summer. “It’s the situation in Iceland now, I’m in school and most of the people organising this class are as well. We noticed that there aren’t a lot of opportunities now, it’s difficult to get a job now over the summertime,” explained course creator Haukur Guðjónsson. “We saw that a lot of students have nothing to do over the summer and thought about what we could possibly do to help the situation. We had a little bit of background in starting companies ourselves, so we thought it would be a good idea to help people start their own companies so they could be using their time wisely.” A business student, Haukur, 27, started his first company in 2005: a small service business that leased coffee machines and water coolers to other companies. He has since been involved with several entrepreneurial endeavours in Iceland and abroad. After some rough calculations, Haukur and his peers were optimistic in May that the course they organised would result in the establishment of approximately 50 new companies and, a few years down the road, the creation of nearly 200 new jobs in Iceland. Once all was said and done the reality is that more than twenty companies are in the process of being established, some of them having already started up. “We’re hoping that if those companies continue to grow, the number of jobs may increase to 400 or so in the next two years,” Haukur projected. “The average aluminium factory has about that many people and the government is always implying that big companies are the solution, but we at the seminar agree that the solution lies in the small ones.” The course is considered to have been a great success. It wrapped up at the end of July with a small ceremony to present certificates to those participants who had submitted completed business plans. For future instalments of the course the young organisers are hoping to get sponsors onboard to invest 500,000 ISK toward the start-up costs of the most promising companies. “That is the minimum amount of capital you need to start a company, so we want to take away that obstacle. Plus sponsoring these new companies would be a good way for larger companies to advertise, since they would be associating themselves with helping the community.” Haukur admits that planning and running such an endeavour takes up a significant amount of time for the young organisers, all of whom are doing so entirely without pay. With the response to the premiere seminar so positive, there is already a waiting list for yet to be planned future instalments. It is likely that the course will be repeated in the autumn or next winter. For more information about the entrepreneurial seminar or to get on the waiting list for upcoming seminars, check out their blog, ww.stofnun. Opinion | Rebecca Louder Rebecca Louder is our latest and greatest intern. She hails from Montréal, Canada, and word has it that she has a tattoo of Iceland. Which is kinda scary. Dear guy in the black SUV, Maybe you missed the memo, but it is fairly common knowledge that the order of movement at an intersection is pedestrian-car-pedestrian-car. It might have gone to you junk folder. It happens. Still, I don’t really understand why you felt the need to go pedal-to-the-metal on my ass when I had patiently waited for the car in front of you to go by and started scuttling across Pósthússtræti. First of all, you were tailgating the person in front of you, which is a pretty dickish move to begin with. I mean— unless you enjoy breathing in extra carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes from other cars—what’s the point? You might as well just grab a paper bag, huff some gas and chill out (note: I do not in any way condone huffing gas. It’s beyond gross). Second, I know I am incredibly short and there is a chance you can’t see the top of my head up there in your two-storey high driver’s seat, but that ain’t my fault either. If you did your driver’s education right, you should be watching out for tiny moving things like myself no matter what the size of your car. Truck drivers seem to avoid killing me, so why can’t you? But I know you saw me! I fucking made eye contact with you as I started crossing and right before you tried to plow me down! YOU EFFING SAW ME. Thanks tons for stopping before breaking my hip. Even at the quick pace I walk, I wouldn’t have been able to dodge your massive bumper. So yeah, I stopped and gave you the ‘I’m walking here!’ look and refrained from smacking the hood of your car and actually shouting it. So what is your problem anyway? Nearly all motorists in this city have good enough reflexes to stop when they see a moving human in front of them, and most are kind enough to wave us through ahead of them. I build my karma by giving them all a gracious nod in return. So who are you trying to be? The exception that proves the rule? Some kind of colossal jackass? Were you just busy and stressed and preoccupied by your very important life? Chill out man. I would appreciate not getting killed. Yours, Rebecca An Open Letter to the Guy Who Tried to Run Me Over Culture | Dancing, yeah, dancing REBECCA LOUDER CATHARINE FULTON JULIA STAPLES Dance Party! What’s on tap for fall? (Surprisingly, no tap) Doing it For Themselves Students help students help Iceland, as it were Welcome to Iceland Here’s how to find WHAT? WHO? WHERE? People Businesses Maps Direction Quick guide to the information you need while enjoying your stay For all your dance festival needs: full schedule at


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