STEINUNN AND BRIAN

“STEINUNN AND BRIAN” is known for their untraditional compositional style, sarcasm, humor and drama and for playing with dance and text in a way that induces wild laughter and honest tears.  The duo has been choreographing together since 2007 when they began their trilogy of duets about love, sex, and relationships with Crazy in love with MR. PERFECT.  It was followed a year later by Love always, Debbie and Susan and a year after that with The Butterface. Love always, Debbie and Susan won first place at the Keðja Dancesolutions Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark. Steinunn and Brian have been nominated twice for the Griman Award in Iceland and been selected two times a Priority Company at the Aerowaves Network of Dance Festivals across Europe, where their pieces Crazy in love with MR. PERFECT and Love always, Debbie and Susan were chosen for the Top 10 Best Works out of 400 applicants.  They have given 75 performances of their work in twelve countries in Europe, touring to the UK, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg, Italy, Lithuania, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Iceland, as well as twice to New York City. Their work Heilabrot, commissioned by the Icelandic Dance Company, has been performed in Iceland and Germany. They premiered their most recent work, Steinunn and Brian DO Art; how to be Original, in Reykjavik in 2011. Since it has toured to Estonia and Sweden, Montana, Cologne, Germany and most recently to Canada.  Their piece MEAT, commissioned by the University of Montana Dance Division, was chosen to represent the Northwest Region of the country in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center in May 2012.  Steinunn and Brian are still wonderful friends and currently continue to choreograph on their own, but the dynamic duo is excited to reunite one day soon.

CRAZY IN LOVE WITH MR PERFECT     [2007]

As a young culture obsessed by love, we relish the opportunity to discuss, examine, dissemble and reassemble any fictional or factual relationship with which we come into contact. We watch exquisite love stories, “not a chance in hell” romantic comedies, and less than likely ”inspired by real events” miracle unions, and wait… For what? For it to happen to us? And if fiction is based on fact, why doesn’t it happen to us? Are the love stories we compare and measure ourselves by, in fact, neorealistic; fictional transpirings, set in verifiable, historically accurate settings? And if so, did romantic love ever exist in the first place?… How is it two people come to be “together” in love?  In Crazy in love with MR.PERFECT two young people, one male and one female, both in search of the perfect man discuss, obsess and confess their personal relationships.

  • Premiered at Reykjavík Dance Festival, September 2007

  • Aerowaves selection in 2007

  • Nominated for the Icelandic Theater Awards (Gríman) in 2008

“One of the most innovative, funny and interesting pieces of dance I have seen.” (Scots Gay News)

…”Icelandic choreographer Steinunn Ketilsdottir and Brian Gerke explore their need for love, with beautiful, sweeping choreography interrupted by genuinely witty dialogue.”… (the Scotsman)

…”the dance became truly engaging, as the performers revealed more and more vulnerability, and my own heart peeled itself open in response.”… (Dance Magazine)

LOVE ALWAYS, DEBBIE AND SUSAN   [2008]

"My friend Carol’s husband’s brother’s mother Charlotte. Now her daughter’s best friend Amy Sennett, she was sadly single until she was thirty two years old! Then one day, as all hope was lost, she randomly moved into an apartment with some man named Steve. Two weeks later they we sleeping together, three months later they were engaged, and now (two years later) she is happily married with a beautiful baby living in LA, Los Angeles, California! Now THAT is worth waiting for."


  • First prize at Dansolutions Choreography Competition at Dansescenen, Copenhagen 2008

  • Aerowaves selection in 2008

  • Nominated for the Icelandic Theater Awards in 2010

“…– they improvised and let themselves be drawn by the power of the moment and the other´s reaction. They didn´t lack playfulness and joy from performing. Speaking of technique they were both very good, so in their piece everything could come together to create an amusing and interesting performance. Thanks to Debbie and Susan the audience could leave the theatre with smiles on their faces.” (Tanceni Aktuality)

“Icelanders energetically and unsparingly display hurtfulness and humiliation of sexual accessibility,…” (Zagreb,Croatia translated by Marno Milotic)

THE BUTTERFACE    [2009]

A beautiful, romantic, sweet fairytale slowly succumbs to the nightmarish insanity of two people who become lost in the terrifying wilderness of their own psyches; encountering dangerous altered versions of themselves whom ultimately express their darkest inner thoughts.


  • Nominated for the Icelandic Theater Awards (Gríman) in 2010

“…a hybrid of modern dance, theatre and soap opera, which deals with love, sex and self-perception.”

…”While the first half of the program strikes with sombre tension and minimalism, the second half surprises with adifferent, rather unconventional approach. American choreographer Brian Gerke and his Icelandic dancing partner Steinunn Ketilsdottir present ‘The Butterface’, a hybrid of modern dance, theatre and soap opera, which deals with love, sex and self-perception. They dance, run and mock-fornicate on a stage equipped with campy props, such as a giant garden gnome. Occasionally, the dancing is interrupted by casual, satirical dialogue about sexual encounters and body images, which is quite hilarious at times, but distracts from the otherwise beautiful and intense performance.”… (The Copenhagen Post)

“Tchaikovskys polonæse, en svingende lysekrone og en herre med kalvekrøs, der danser en fejende vals, mens en kvinde smadrer en buket hvide roser ned i gulvet. Anslaget er flot og bizart. Steinunn Ketilsdottir og Brian Gerke er et fornøjet par fra Island, der nu danser ud i deres sidste duet i en trilogi om forhold, kærlighed og sex. Det er muntert, overraskende, egoistisk, småpludrende og Torneroseagtigt. Just be pretty – be my self.”  (byenkalder.dk)

HEILABROT    [2009]

“Are you waiting for something to happen? Oh, are you waiting for something great? Greatness?” Four individuals collide as their realities and unrealities cross, conflicting and collaborating, to create a hysterical, ecstatic episode that twists and turns in and out of focus. Jesus Christ Cabaret meets Glamour Stylist Makeovers as the performers amplified emotional states eventually turn, targeting each other. Babies, lost loves, self esteem, and suicide; Life is beautiful, life is a disgusting mess needing to be broken down and sorted out. As the exposed rev themselves up to move forward, can they find hope through the chaos?

“The piece encompasses a sharp criticism towards the modern society which appears clearly in the interplay of words and actions.” (Sesselja G. Magnúsdóttir, Fréttablaðið)

“The content of the piece is our daily life, contemplation about the meaning of life in this plastic world and the search for happiness. This is a sarcastic piece that props questions about the purpose of our existence.”  (Bryndís Schram, Pressan)

“A fun and humorous piece that also touches the audince in a tracicomic way.” (Margrét Áskelsdóttir, Morgunblaðið)

Here you can view the full work on Vimeo

STEINUNN AND BRIAN DO ART: HOW TO BE ORIGIONAL    [2011]

Steinunn and Brian examine “art” using original texts, dance, and music. Lying, stealing, birthing, rehearsing, reversing, time traveling, and mutating, Steinunn and Brian attempt to categorize themselves in the world of art.  In the process, their exploration takes a violent turn off track exposing their relationship; a pathetic exhibition of two desperate, angry people struggling to create something, anything at all.

“At moments tender, at others violent, their work is irresistible in its fearlessness.” (Melissa Mylchreest, Missoula Independent)


Above all, this is smart dance that is not only aesthetically fascinating but conceptually intriguing as well. The pair makes successful and perceptive social commentary not just through the vehicle of dance, but about dance too. At times sarcastic, humorous, and poignant, the two of them integrate conversation, sound and the theatrical well. (Melissa Mylchreest, Missoula Independent)

A humorous as well as intelligent venture, that deals with the central issues of Contemporary Dance: How can I be original and authentic? (Thomas Linden, Kölnische Rundschau)

“…the two Icelanders succeed in creating a production that comes across freshly and honestly.” (Thomas Linden, Kölnische Rundschau)

“Steinunn and Brian took great risks in this performance because the concept they chose to work with touches upon delicate issues, but they were truly successful in creating an unforgettable dance piece.”  (Margrét Áskelsdóttir, Morgunblaðið)

MEAT     [2012]

MEAT was commissioned by the University of Montana Department of Theater and Dance, and features 11 undergraduate student performers.The work premiered in Missoula, and traveled to ACDFA northwest regional conference in Salt Lake City, Utah where it was selected for its outstanding artistic merit by a panel of esteemed adjudicators to be presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.

THE BODIES    [IN PROGRESS]

The Bodies is an exploration of moving flesh. Bodies in space, roaming their environment, follow an elusive logic. Sensation drives them, as well as an instinct for the order and the form of the group. Steinunn and Brian began this project with an investigation of the unique, inner knowledge of the human body. Now they find themselves on the outside, looking in. “We follow a line of questioning that led us from the concept of the body as a container for stories and memories, to the idea that our experiences echo inside our skin, shaping our perception of reality even though they are invisible to those around us.” (Steinunn and Brian) How can our interior landscape, existing beneath the superficial skin of the body, be revealed by a performer and then perceived by an audience? These ideas percolate through the works the duo has made in residency, and will inform the final full-length premiere of MEAT. Intentionally stepping away from the performance and theater based works of their past, this new work will be one of pure physicality.

 
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