Dancers Bend the Laws of Physics in a Mesmerizing Video for Sigur Rós

The story of a love affair, told through ethereal, explicit choreography. 

The story of a love affair, told through ethereal, explicit choreography.

Last spring, Icelandic band Sigur Rós asked 14 filmmakers to create short pieces inspired by their latest album, "Valtari." This installment from Swedish director Christian Larson features choreography from Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who recently crafted the famous waltz scene in 2012’s film adaptation of Anna Karenina.

Cherkaoui described his approach in an interview with The New York Times, "I love watching one dancer alone onstage, but, for me, solos are always connected to a form of loneliness ... When people are together, there is a union, and it can be tense, it can be romantic and dramatic and cold, but it’s about how we relate and how we look into the mirror, which is another person." Capturing similar themes in this short film, Cherkaoui’s choreography twists the bodies of dancers Nicola Leahey and James O’Hara to create astonishing shapes and a rather intense exchange.

Watch for almost-freakish feats of flexibility (not computer-generated!) and Cherkaoui’s experimentation with weight shifts – as he said about Keira Knightley and Aaron Taylor-Johnson when choreographing Anna Karenina, “they needed to connect very physically – not just in a polite way.”

For more videos from Sigur Rós, visit http://sigur-ros.co.uk/.

Via Nate Hochstetler.

Emma Green is the assistant managing editor of TheAtlantic.com, where she also writes about religion and culture.

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