Helena Jónsdóttir


Helena Jónsdottir studied at the National Theatre Ballet School of Iceland, with additional studies at Alvin Ailey, New York. She has performed in and choreographed countless productions for television, film, music videos and the stage. Helena has also written, choreographed and directed many choreographic films – physical cinema, including Breaking Voices for the Reykjavík Art Festival in 2002, screened at the Reykjavík Art Museum; was one of 10 winners at the Moving North project with the film While the cat’s away in 2003; then Zimmer which won first prize at the IV. Videotanzpreis 2003/2004 of SK Stiftung Kultur in Cologne, Germany; the award-winning short television/film Another/Teine that won the Grand Prix at the Cinessonne Film Festival in Paris, France in 2006; a collaboration with Estonia Broadcasting service ETV, EBU European Broadcasting Union, Arte Germany, YLE, SVT, DR, SDF, NRK, NPS; and her latest work is GONE, an award winning film with Ingvar E. Sigurðsson.

Helena is recognized internationally for her work in Scandinavia, Europe and the USA. In recent years, her work in video and film has been screened at various art spaces and festivals, national and international. She was nominated as the best choreographer at the Music Video Production Association Awards in Los Angeles in 2001. Helena won the first prize in the Icelandic Dance Theatre Awards in June 2003 with the work Open Source. She developed Open Source into a full evening production and made an Irish version, which premiered at the Galway Art Festival in Ireland, and a Belgian version, which premiered at Ghent Art Festival in 2004. Lastly, she created an Icelandic version for Iceland Dance Company which premiered at the Reykjavík City Theatre in 2005. In 2007, she recreated a touring version with a new cast that opened the Guangdong modern dance festival in China and ran at the Reykjavík City Theatre in autumn 2007. Open source was selected by the Belgian press to go to Belgium, Brussels, performing at the BOZAR in 2008. Her latest theatre work, Episodes, was performed at the Oslo Opera house in 2015. Since then, she has been focusing on her films, video works and Physical Cinema Festival.

As a visual artist, Helena created an installation project titled Freeze in 2009 in collaboration with Studio Granda, Iceland, shown in Alaska and organized by the Alaska Design Forum and the International Gallery of Contemporary Art. Another visual art project, Birgir, an installation, was shown in the UK as well as Hinterland on the River Trent in Nottingham. Furthermore, Helena was part of the travelling exhibition “100 artists see god”, curated by John Baldessari and Meg Cranston 2002-2006. And recently her film GONE has been shown at the Ming Contemporary Art Museum in Shanghai, China, Her work has been presented in galleries, museums and festivals up-to-date.

In addition to her creative projects, Helena is an associate professor both at the Iceland University of the Arts and at Stockholm Art Academy in Sweden and internationally she works as a lecturer and workshop leader. She was selected dance artist of the year by the Icelandic press and culture in 2017 for her work in physical cinema. Outside of her own works, she runs the Estate of Þorvaldur Þorsteinsson, writer and artist and taking care of the festival physicalcinemafest.com.

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Photo: Sarah Blee