Amanda Apetrea

Amanda Apetrea (born in 1981 in Uppsala, Sweden) is a performer and choreographer based in Stockholm. In her work she integrates political theories such as feminism, sexpositivism, body positivism and queerutopism. Apetrea went to Ballet Academy in Stockholm and has a masters degree in choreography from DOCH (University College of Dance and Circus), Stockholm.

Her works are marked by her feminist point of view, calling into question larger power structures of the modern world through the performance of western classical and cultural dance, spectacle and conceptual performance. Her current works challenge structures that restrain and inhibit the microcosm of the choreographic field as a reflection of society at large.

As Apetrea has continued to critically examine, integrate and inhabit the above mentioned overlapping politically radical theoretical concepts, her work has significantly hinged on the collaborative process and ethos fostered with the ÖFA-collective that Apetrea co-founded in 2004, as well as Samlingen started in 2014. Some of these collaboratively authored works are: I Ass Jazz with Emma Tolander and Lisen Rosell, EDIE&EDIE with Emma Tolander, Beauty and the Beast with Halla Ólafsdóttir featuring Lisen Rosell and Chrisander Brun (jardin d’europe 2013 prize winner), DEAD with Ólafsdóttir, Samlingen - en danshistoria (Riksteatern) with Nadja Hjorton, Zoë Poluch, Stina Nyberg and Halla Ólafsdóttir, I’m a Very Understanding Woman, SPRINGITME and There Will Be Men with Mica Sigourney (SF, USA). Grottbjörnens Folk with Nadja Hjorton and Lisen Rosell and Stolthet och fördom with Lisen Rosell.

Halla Ólafsdóttir

Halla Ólafsdóttir is a dancer and choreographer with an MA in choreography from Stockholm University of the Arts (formerly DOCH). She works collectively in various constellations, looking for ways to expand the notion of choreography. A big part of her work revolves around recognisable material from art and pop culture, which she uses to explore what happens when set in another context.  She often makes use of convention and cliché, trying to find working methods that break and erase. For Halla, the meeting between the artist and audience beyond 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 practitioners.

Halla has been touring 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. Sälkvinnorna (Seals) (2023) is the duo's latest work. 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 Cullberg, the Postdance conference, the Works at work festival in Copenhagen and at Riksteatern (The Swedish National Touring Theatre).

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 and with Iceland Art Academy. Together, they have created the works Bitch (2021) and Granddaughters (2022). With Erna Ómarsdóttir Halla is currently working with their piece Romeo <3 Juliet (nominated for “DER FAUST Awards” 2019)  with Iceland Dance Company, and with a new work called The Juliet Duet (2022). 

Sälkvinnorna

At dusk in the darker stage of twilight, we see the outlines of their bodies. They lie there, on stage, stranded in a muddy quagmire, the seal women. At first glance, they look paralysed. They are stuck in a hybrid body of seal and woman. They grunt and snort. We do not know if these are sounds of pleasure or torment. Perhaps both at the same time…

In Sälkvinnorna (the seal women in English), Amanda Apetrea and Halla Ólafsdóttir explore horniness, desire, the body and animality/femininity. They have nurtured these physical practices through work with their rock star alter egos in Beauty and the Beast (2011) and in their latest more poetic performance DEAD (2017). The seal women give expression to bodies that are shameless, sexually aggressive, grotesque and that dare to take up space through their dance and with their voice.

Sälkvinnorna by Amanda Apetrea and Halla Ólafsdóttir is a dance performance that moves in and out of a mythical landscape within which Amanda and Halla shapeshift between seal and woman. With sound by Lune, a set design by Chrisander Brun and cinematography film by Ester Martin Bergsmark, the Seal women float weightlessly through a muffled, dark and epic soundscape.