Interview with Claire in Zug 2021

Tell us briefly about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Sweden with a British father and Swedish mother. I danced, did gymnastics, high diving, ballet and jazz, juggling and moving around! I left Sweden when I was 17 to study performing arts in California where I rediscovered myself and my mission: dancing and performing. I lived in the U.S for six years, co-creating a performing arts group and getting a master of arts and lots more. I came back to Sweden because I could work and get
funding as an artist.

Why young audiences?
I believe in circumstances coming together just at the right time and place. In Sweden I performed at theaters, created performances for clubs, at museums and outdoor spaces. Transgressional work with musicians and visual artists. Toured internationally. Worked at The German Staats Ballet. But it became hard and tiring and then funding decreased and time was tough. A Swedish dance producer suggested I create a piece for young audiences. I was quite surprised and answered: «I don’t know anything about kids! I don’t know how to talk to them!»

However… I like a challenge and I said yes, creating Kinder Garden which was a seminal piece in Sweden and toured for years. I met a lot of kids and slowly my fear changed into a mission – to create high-quality work for young audiences. In 2013 I created Marmalade for audiences from 2 and up. In that process, I found magic and inspiration in circus artist Victor Gyllenberg and dancer Mira Björkman. I see Marmalade as a «gesamtkunstverk» where a meeting of movements, soft circus in a fantastic scenography becomes a sensory and inclusive meeting with young audiences and their adult companions.

Soon after creating Marmalade I received several awards and invites to international festivals. Our funding increased 100%.

How would you define yourself as a choreographer?
From people who have worked with me I often hear «we have so much fun». We laugh a lot while creating the work – a meeting of wide and narrow matters in fun and focused situations. To be in the intersection of humour and existentialism is my favorite part in creating. To be in a wide situation where everything is possible. A potential space, where things are created in collaboration with the performers is perfection for me!

What are the most important values and elements in your work?
To wait. To pause. To expect. The body as imperative – the physical first and the mind follows! A visual companion in the scenography – adding elements. Sensory and interactive with the audience. Something else. A puzzle that unfolds and explains itself/ becomes clear on the way. Where the audience pieces it together with the performers.

This year’s theme in Young Dance is resilience. What is resilience for you?
I have a paper weight at home with a Winston Churchill inscription «Never, never, never, never give up».
It has helped me a lot during the hard years. It has also helped me focus on working and being strong when things are hard. To keep my focus on the path I’m on and to trust my choices!

How do you take care of yourself?
I love my work and when I rehearse or see my dancers performing and meeting audiences I can feel a most lovely way. When it all falls in place I feel blessed to be in this dance setting!
I also basically take care in treating myself to a cup of really good coffee, eating an ice cream, or interacting with people.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I would love to say I do yoga (there has been no time during these pandemic times I’m sad to say).
Last year I acquired a summer house in the Stockholm archipelago – a dream I have had for many years. It has a big garden and I cut the grass, pick weeds and look at everything green growing everywhere. I swim in the ocean every day and pick strawberries from the garden.

Our second theme is cultural rights for children. Do you see that they are taken seriously, that children in Finland/Sweden/Switzerland (your country) have equal access to culture?
Sweden is known for high-quality and ambitious work for young audiences. There are political directives and a strong will in local, regional, and state cultural policies with focused funding prioritizing young audiences. There is unfortunately a discrepancy in representation; are we representing the whole of Sweden’s young children?

What was the most memorable work you saw/did?
A turning point was seeing work by the choreographer Pina Bausch. I knew then that I wanted to create dance performances and be an artist. Memorable was also a solo I created for myself to a Billie Holiday song. Seeing my breakthrough piece Marmalade perform and hear lots of bubbling laughter from the audience is also wondrous!

Tell us something that many people don’t know about you?
Maybe that deep down – I like to be really silly, tell funny jokes and funny movements! If you know that about me – you probably don’t know I love a surprise at birthday parties.

Your secret skill?
I’d like it if my secret skill was juggling or twiggling my ears or raising one eyebrow (it used to be).
I’m really fast at typing actually – does that count?

What is your message to young audience?
Hallo! So happy you are here! Let’s go and see what is this Yellow is about – together! Thank you!


Im Rank 146 CH-6300 Zug   +41 79 616 95 05

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