In her first work for Cullberg, choreographer Halla Ólafsdóttir takes inspiration from the mythological creature the sylph, an ethereal being with the power to shape-shift.

Rougher, rawer and louder than humans, the sylphs have an airy voice and a giant body. Like the wind, sylphs are constantly on the move. They wander in and out of the ballet’s mysterious forest, dancing, whispering, rustling, knocking and chewing. They call this hobby “listening to the wind,” and for many sylphs it becomes an obsession.

Sylph is created in collaboration with the dancers, the composer Shida Shahabi, set and lighting designer Chrisander Brun, and costume designer Hanna Kisch. Sylph examines what happens choreographically when sound, costume, set design, lights and dance have equal roles. Sylph dabbles in the occult, merges it with classical ballet and explores sounds that are meant to generate a sensorial experience, a sort of a low intensive euphoria.

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.

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. 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.


Choreography: Halla Ólafsdóttir
Music: Shida Shahabi
Set and lighting design: Chrisander Brun
Costume design: Hanna Kisch
Performers in Helsinki: 
Anna Fitoussi, Eleanor Campbell, Elin Hallqvist, Eszter Czedulas, Freddy Houndekindo, Lilian Steiner, Shai Faran, Katie Jacobson, Noam Segal, Mohamed Yousry Fathy, Vincent Van der Plas
Makeup design: Johanna Larsson
Rehearsal directors: Agnieszka Sjökvist Dlugoszewska, Patricia Vazquez-Iruretagoyena
Co-producer to the tune House of Sylph: Daniel Fagge Fagerström
Production: Cullberg
Premiere: May 4, 2023, Dansens Hus / Elverket, Stockholm

Set and costume are made by Riksteatern’s workshops and the tailoring atelier LiLaRo.

All text in the performance by the dancers.