Erna Ómarsdóttir graduated from PARTS (performing arts research and training studios) 1998 under the direction of Anna Teresa de Keeresmaeker. Following her graduation she worked with Jan Fabre on several of his creations as well as with Ballet C De la B and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in Foi. She is a founding member of collectives EKKI from Reykjavik and PONI from Brussels. Erna has toured extensively with her own work. In 2002 she created IBM 1401 (a users manual) and THE MYSTERIES OF LOVE (2006) in colloboration with Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. She also created and directed a number of works for the Iceland Dance Company, including WE ARE ALL MARLENE DIETRICH FOR (2005) in collaboration with Emil Hrvation (Janez Janza) and TRANSAQUANIA - OUT OF THE BLUE – (2009) and TRANSAQUANIA - INTO THIN AIR (2010) in collaboration with Damien Jalet and Gabríela Friðriksdóttir. Commissioned by the Melbourne based company Chunky Move, Erna created and directed BLACK MARROW (2009), in collaboration with Damien Jalet (presented at the Melbourne International Arts Festival). In 2008 Erna founded her own company, Shalala, together with Valdimar Jóhannsson. Recent works include TEACH US TO OUTGROW OUR MADNESS (2009) – premiered at the Scene Nationale des Quartz in Brest, WE SAW MONSTER (2011) at the National Theater of Iceland (Reykjavík Arts Festival), THE TICKLING DEATH MACHINE (2011) at Kunstenfestival in Brussels, TO THE BONE (2014) and A LECTURE ON BORDERLINE MUSICALS (2014), both premiered at the Reykjavík Dance Festival. Valdimar and Erna also form a theatrical band called LAZYBLOOD and Erna remains a member of the trio SKYRLEEBOB together with Guðni Gunnarsson and Lieven Dousselaere.
Erna Ómarsdóttir has collaborated on several occasions with the Icelandic visual artist Gabríela Friðriksdóttir (Venice Biennale 2005) and musicians such as Björk, Sigur Rós, Ólöf Arnalds and Ben Frost. She was an associate curator and artist at LES GRANDES TRAVERSEES in Bordeaux in France in 2007 and co-artistic director of the Reykjavík Dance Festival in 2013 and 2014. Erna Ómarsdóttir has been nominated a number of times for her work in the Ballet Tanz annual reviews. She is currently artistic director of the Iceland Dance Company, the country’s only state run dance company. The company’s new project, SACRIFICE, which opens in Reykjavík on March 16th, is a collection of new works based on the relationship between art and religion, by Erna Ómarsdóttir, Valdimar Jóhannsson, Matthew Barney, Ragnar Kjartansson, Margrét Bjarnadóttir, Bryce Dessner and Gabríela Friðriksdóttir.