During the week in Montreux I met with Clairemarie Osta, Inka Keränen and Carl Sjögren from the Royal Swedish Ballet School to ask them about their experiences from the choreographic project.
Did you prepare anything from this choreography before you came here?
Carl: No everything is made here in the studio.
How was your first day here?
Carl: We started with a class with Clairemarie and got to meet the other students, from France, Cuba, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Hungary, Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark. After class we started with the choreography. We got most of the material already the first day. We had to learn very fast.
Inka: Maruo also wanted to get to know us as dancers and to decide how he wanted to use us in his piece.
How is the atmosphere among you dancers?
Inka: It’s been very inspiring everybody has been very open. I think we have created a very nice group. That is necessary to be able to dance together and to present strongly to the audience.
Carl: It’s been easy to make friends. When you dance together you are very close, so in a short time you make contact.
What has been the biggest challenge for you?
Carl: Maruo's style is new to us. There are very big differences within the choreography. Sometimes it’s very fast; sometimes it’s very slow, he works with big contrasts and various phrasing.
It’s also been a challenge to take space. We from the Nordic countries are a bit shy so we stay at the back in the studio not like the southern Europeans; they go to the front right away. It’s not that they’re impolite in any way; I need to learn and dare to show myself more.
Inka: When Maruo gives the material you have to get it right away. You have to be present and ready to try the choreography immediately. It’s more like working in a professional company I guess.
What’s the best thing about being here?
Inka: Everything, We have been very inspired by working with the other students, the teachers and to have the opportunity to work closely with a choreographer like Maruo. In my opinion he’s a genius, to see how he uses the dancers and creates.
What new experiences will you bring from here?
Carl: We have made new contacts and we have both learned a lot. We have realized how important it’s to be fast to pick up new choreography and to take space.
Personally I’ve developed my contemporary technique. I have been challenged in new ways here that are different from what I have done at school.
Would you like to take part in the competition in the future?
Carl: No it’s not for me, I would be too nervous. It’s been great to be here to be able to take part of the teaching, to work with Maruo and to make new friends.
Inka: I have really appreciated the way it’s been here. We have been able to take part without too much pressure. I think I’ve been able to enjoy this more than if I had competed. The competition is of course a wonderful occasion that offers many opportunities.
Clairemarie Osta:I would like to comment on what you said about being here taking part without the pressure of the competition.
When the candidates have gone through the experience of the competition they will have achieved a strength that they didn’t have before.
For example, a strength you need as a dancer when you go to an audition. I’ve been taking part in Prix de Lausanne, in the competition in Varna and in Concour Mediterranean.
It was like a journey like taking part in the Olympic Games, hard but an educational challenge. I’m not against what you said but want you to consider what you can gain from taking part in the competition.
Of course it's hard but try to think on the positive side of it, what you can learn. If you have a talent you should be generous with it. It’s not about winning it’s about challenging yourself.