One is a former soccer player. The other used to be a member of a synchronized skating team. Together they’re on their way of becoming the first ever same-sex dance partners to compete in an adult category for Iceland internationally. Halla Þórlaug Óskarsdóttir met with Margrét Sigurðardóttir and Sigrún Þuríður Runólfsdóttir to talk about their participation in the EuroGames 2015.

When I arrive at Margrét’s house, Sigrún is putting her daughter in a baby carriage and tells me she’s supposed to sleep during the interview. Laughingly she adds that her daughter sleeps on demand. Margrét’s daughter, on the other hand, is a bit too old to be sleeping in carriages, she is eleven and somewhere out playing in the sun. Her smiling face greets me on the wall when I enter the house.

MARGRÉT: “She’s the best thing that has happened to my life.”

She says this with such cogency that I feel like I’m missing out a lot for not meeting this important little girl. While Sigrún puts her daughter to sleep, Margrét prepares some refreshments. She tells me that she’s absolutely starving and admits that she is rather recently awake, although it’s passed noon. She was dancing untill dawn yesterday.

MARGRÉT: “Páll Óskar was playing and I was pretty much soaking when I got back home.” [laughs]

Sigrún enters the rooms and joins her aunt laughing.

SIGRÚN: “That’s exactly what I love about dancing. You lose yourself, forget time and don’t notice the workout untill the next day when your muscles are sore!”

adsf

Margrét (left) and Sigrún. Photo by Halla.

While Margrét pops out to get some milk from the neighbors Sigrún tells me about her aunt’s incredible energy and drive. She didn’t have to, though. It was obvious from the first handshake. But she’s eager to.

SIGRÚN: “She’s not a person that gets an idea and lets it drift away. She carries it out.”

And that’s exactly what Margrét did, when she got an idea to compete in a big international LGBT sporting event, not in soccer – which she used to compete in internationally – but something completely different. Hello, dance section of the EuroGames 2015, you better watch out. The first ever same-sex contestants from Iceland are on their way!

MARGRÉT: “I first heard of the competition in 2009 and it has been a dream of mine ever since. First of all, I love dancing, but secondly I find it a bit humorous to participate.”

And they might seem like a funny pair on paper; a middle-aged soccer-loving lesbian and her ice-skating niece, but in real life they are quite the team. Because even though they enjoy the training and rehearsals – and laugh quite a lot – they take their participation in the EuroGames very seriously.

SIGRÚN: “We’ve hired one of the most competent dance coaches in this field in Iceland. Her name is Elísabet Sif Haraldsdóttir, and she’s currenly living in Canada. We just decided to get a real coach. Someone who could get us far. We’re aiming for the finals!”

MARGRÉT: “That’s the only way to do it. You don’t set your goals too low, that simply doesn’t lead to success.”

It’s obvious that this woman knows what she’s talking about, being a soccer coach herself.

SIGRÚN: “We love a challenge. We want to compete with talented people.” [laughs]

MARGRÉT: “Still, I believe our goals are realistic.” [doesn’t laugh]

Taking up the challenge

They definitely have the spirit. But have they got the talent?

adsf

Margrét (third from right) and her teammates in Breidablik celebrate winning the 1991 Icelandic women’s cup in football.

MARGRÉT: “Well, I’ve never actually practiced dancing, but I’ve taken some courses. I took a two-semester course here in Iceland some years ago, along with a random group of lesbians. And then I joined a group in Australia, when I was living there, also a LGBT-group, but it was a mixed group. You could decide if you would lead or follow, no matter if you were male or female. My favorite partner was a 6’5” man who always wanted to follow. I had such a good time! We laughed through most of the classes. So to answer the question, I do have some experience but nothing compared to Sigrún over here.”

SIGRÚN: “Well it’s almost 20 years since I quit ballroom and latin dancing.”

MARGRÉT: “But you started learning when you were four years old!”

SIGRÚN: “That’s true.” [pauses] “Practicing dancing can be tricky because of how dependent you are on your partner. When I was thirteen I decided to quit the sport because I didn´t have any partner at that time and finding male dance partners was not an easy task. And really it’s sad because I just didn’t have the imagination to find a female dance partner. There always seem to be more girls practicing dancing and they tend to fall out because of this tradition of men and women dancing together. So when I quit I decided to start practicing other types of dancing, where you’re solo or in a group, and then I practiced synchronized skating for ten years.”

Sigrún definitely wins the dance-experience duel. I can understand why Margrét got her niece to be her dance partner. She’s a pro.

Sigrún (third from left top row) with her skating team.

Sigrún (fourth from left top row) with her skating team.

MARGRÉT: “That’s exactly it. You have to think: How will I succeed? And I thought: I need to team up with someone who’s really talented.” [laughs] “We’re not going out there to fool about. It’s a challenge. For me, at least, I’ve never competed in dancing before.”

SIGRÚN: “But she’s the one with the guts. She’s the one that’s making this happen. I might have gotten an idea like this, but I never would have followed it through, like she does.”

MARGRÉT: “That’s human. No one wants to look stupid, we’re all so sensitive and scared of making mistakes. But you should stand up for yourself and do what you want to do. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else. And in this case I don’t think we have anything to lose – no matter how it goes.”

Making history

They sound like a great team. And not only are they a great team, they’re also making history, becoming the first same-sex dance couple competing for Iceland internationally. And it will also be the first time Iceland has a dance-couple in EuroGames.

MARGRÉT: “We contacted Styrmir, a LGBT sports club and asked if they were interested in us as a part of the team. They welcomed us with open arms. The team is amazing. We will have a blast.”

SIGRÚN: “We’re competing in Latin Dances and right now our coach is planning our routines. We’ll be dancing Cha cha, Jive, Rhumba, Samba and Paso doble.”

They have a year for preparation and their program is on course, but how about their costumes? Dancing is full of traditions and heteronormativity. Will they be wearing a gown and a suit?

adsf

The ladies will be the first Icelandic dance contestants in the Eurogames.

MARGRÉT: [both laugh] “That’s a good question. We’ve actually given this quite some thought. There is definitely some tradition that you must follow, although the costumes can vary. We want to wear something fancy but comfortable.”

SIGRÚN: “I think we would like the costumes to resemble our personalities rather than our role in the dance. I want to wear a dress because that’s how I feel most comfortable on the dance floor.”

MARGRÉT: “I don’t think I would feel good wearing a dress. But I don’t want to wear a suit. Maybe some kind of a fancy overall. Glitter, maybe?”

Margrét is obviously still under Páll Óskar’s influence from last night. Alright, so they also have the costumes under control. Are they nervous at all?

MARGRÉT: [without hesitation] “No.”

SIGRÚN: [laughs] “Magga (Margrét) is never nervous.”

She probably has no reason to be, wearing a glittery overall. And besides, they probably wouldn’t have signed up for such a big competition if they hadn’t got what it takes.

SIGRÚN: [laughs] “She did it!”

MARGRÉT: “Well, for all I know, you only live once, and you better make the most of it. If you got some dreams – why not make them come true?”

While I take their photographs they continue talking about dancing, telling me that Icelanders are shy when it comes to dancing, that in Paso doble the man is the bullfighter and the woman is the red veil, laughingly suggest that the woman should be the bull, and as I take the last photograph and thank them for their time, Sigrún’s daughter wakes up.

Perfect timing.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

        Your Name (required)

        Your Email (required)

        Subject

        Your Message

        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


        PGlmcmFtZSBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lmdvb2dsZS5jb20vbWFwcy9lbWJlZD9wYj0hMW0xNCExbTEyITFtMyExZDI3ODQyLjM0NzA2NDA3OTU4ITJkLTIxLjkwMDg1MDg1NzkxODQyITNkNjQuMTQxNzA3ODE2NzAyMDEhMm0zITFmMCEyZjAhM2YwITNtMiExaTEwMjQhMmk3NjghNGYxMy4xITVlMCEzbTIhMXNlbiEycyE0djE0MzMzMzc5MTUyMjYiIHdpZHRoPSIxMDAlIiBoZWlnaHQ9IjEwMCUiIGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyPSIwIiBzdHlsZT0iYm9yZGVyOjAiPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
        Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.