The Ritual

An endurance performance art project that tells an original, deeply personal fairy tale, “Breaking My Spell” lives at the meeting place of art and magic.

The fairy tale is the story of a horse who has been turned into a walrus. In order to break the spell, the walrus must journey to a magic foreign land, receive help from the local guides and complete a heroic quest.

Michelle Morby, creator of the tale and director of “Breaking My Spell”, plays the role of the horse on this transformative quest. The magic foreign land is Iceland. The ritual stage is the streets of Reykjavik. The heroic quest is completing the Reykjavik half marathon in a stunning parade of 9 fantastical costumes that tell the tale.Lead designer for “Breaking My Spell” is Icelandic artist Melkorka Helgadóttir, A.K.A. Korka. For an interview with Korka, click here. For more information about her work, you can go to

The performance is the entire undertaking, from training to the journey to Iceland to the costuming collaboration to the documenting of the tale to, finally, a gallery show in the summer of 2012.

Personal Mission

The fairytale speaks the deep wish I have to create a new sanctuary within my body. It also speaks to the power that I believe art has to serve as a ritual of transformation in my life and the lives of others. Since 2000 I have added 150 pounds to what used to be my active dancer’s body.  I feel like I have just begun to wake up, literally, from a spell. I am healing old wounds that made this soft armor necessary, regaining joy and presence. I am learning so much about myself, about the messages my body holds and about the challenges we all face to be who we most feel we are inside.

This fairytale and project brings my personal quest directly and meaningfully into my creative process. It harnesses all the wisdom and magic of art to create the foundations for a healthy rich life. And … it takes me to Iceland–to me, one of the most magical places on Earth.

Iceland inspires me. I am captivated by its music, its land, its culture. My love affair began with the Sugar Cubes in high school, grew with my first visit during the Air Waves Festival in 2002 and continues with every new discovery. I am thrilled to realize a longstanding desire to collaborate with Icelandic artists.

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