Mikael Svanevik

Photo: Tina Axelsson.

Where do you come from?
I was born in Gothemburg on the west coast of Sweden. When I was 10 years old, and against my will, my family moved us all to Kalmar, a city on the opposite coast. This particular event turned out to be a unexpected success for me. After 2 years of crying over my distress, I found a new universe in Kalmar and spent time in musical groups and institutions. I start playing in a pop band, with the symphony orchestra, a jazz trio and more. Soon there were no more musicians to play with in Kalmar and I escaped back to Göteborg as soon as elementary school was over with. I started to tour and spend my time working with music. I moved to Stockholm and worked with more music. I like it here.

Some highlights from your career.
I have composed music for theaters and free-lance groups in Sweden and the hard work has been very rewarding. I am proud that I have toured with the Swedish rock band Urban Turban in Roskilde and playing live with Ragnarök in Tokyo. I spent a year setting up a musical portal called Undertones, often used by production companies and for television, radio, webb and more.

I have made music for adults and young audiences in many shows I am proud of and since 2008 with Claire Parsons Co. I remember a particular highlight when we created the piece Signal for Dansens Hus in Stockholm. There was a pioneering sense surrounding it. We were forging something new – amidst a stressful process in a fantastic and daring project. When Viktor – in an action changed at the last moment – at the dress rehearsal brought a child in the audience whose movements Viktor mirrored in a beautifully choreographed moment. This touched me deeply. It was fantastic in so many ways.

Why do you work with performances for young audiences
What is fun and challenging in working with children and young adults is the necessity in finding that vernacular, that common denominator for all ages and that which affects us, chafes and amazes. It has to be personal but it also needs to respect those we are creating it for.
In developing a dance piece, there is no set text/dialogue. Instead things are explained through movements, sound, light and stage design. Creating for young audiences is easier because they are so close to their intuition and they experience things intuitively much more than adults. They laugh easily and they are tickled by physical movements. They rarely need chronology or a learning curve of comprehension. Children often have their own interpretation. To work as a composer with abstraction and ”to paint with a large paintbrush” and ”big colours” is immensely joyous. Claire always presents interesting elements in the interception of the existensial and the comical.

Young audiences are special. They are not polite and civilized. It is easy to see if they are amazed, bored, laugh, move their bodies, look around, are mesmerized or zoom out. These reactions give immediate answers to understanding possible strengths and weaknesses in the performance. Maybe their reactions make us so happy about working with young audiences. It is – in its own very particular way – very much for real.

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