Erika O’Neill and Simon Hjortek is a first time collaborative duo from Sweden who together created the dance film ‘A Part’. Erika have her background as a dancer/choreographer and have created the choreography for music videos for artists such as The Tallest Man on Earth, David Joseph, Hanna Turi etc. She has many years of experience as a contemporary dancer with her educational background from Balettakademinmen in Stockholm. As a choreographer Erika wants to interact with her viewers though awakenings thoughts of self awareness while inspiring the audience to see the bigger picture as well as the details with in it. Through body language and dance expressions she wants to communicate far beyond words.
Simon Hjortek is a Swedish visual artist using photography and filmmaking to create his imagery.
Fascinated by the unknown and mundane, Simon aims to keep challenging the viewers perception and imagination.
The images created are often short glimpses into worlds where nothing is as expected.
Simon finds beauty both in the movements of dance and through strange machinery and scenarios where people appears to be stuck in loops or doing tasks which at first appears random.
The main focus is always to raise questions than giving answers.
During the pandemic, I realised that my work as a dance teacher/Choreographer is more important than ever. When the public schools where shut down and many activities for kids where cancelled, I could see how my ongoing dance lessons became a sacred garden for releasing thoughts and feelings. The importance of expression through movements became the foundation of the storytelling in the film. How dance can create a better mental health and stronger mental environment for children and teenagers.
As reports of increased mental illness among kids caused by the isolation and the pandemic in general flooded the Swedish media, the adult world didn’t seem to worry about anything else than stockpiling toilet paper and hand sanitizers. I could see how my young students were suffering and I wanted to act in the strongest way I know – through the art of dance. Since all the theatres were shut down I decided to go bigger and make a film that could spread the message of young dancers throughout the world.
The film ‘A Part’ is based upon statements regarding real life events and feelings from my amazing dancers point of view. The dancers are from the age of 14-18 and as a adult, choreographer and a mother I felt the urge that I needed to help them tell their story.
The film is funded by Kultur Gävleborg (which is a regional funding resource for cultural events) who gave us a scholarship for 20000 sek (2000 euro). We made this film basically from a non profit standing with the hopes of raising awareness to the mental health of todays youth as our main goal.
I want to thank the dancers for sharing their thoughts and bringing their souls and professionalism in to this piece of art.
The film wouldn’t exist without their courage and dedication.