Clemmie Sveaas is a freelance dancer and actor. She trained at the London Studio Centre, and has since performed in several of Javier de Frutos' productions, including his collaboration with The Pet Shop Boys, The Most Incredible Thing. Clemmie tells IdeasMag why it pays to be brave...
Full name/age/job title:
Clemmie Sveaas, 27, dancer/actor.
Please give us an overview of your average day.
It is difficult as a freelancer to give an overview of an “average” day. The job, country, choreographer or director dictate the way a day can take shape.
But I usually start the day with a good breakfast and a warm up: either a ballet, contemporary or yoga class, followed by rehearsals. After a day in the studio, if I don’t have anything to prepare for the next day, I might go and see a play or dance piece, have dinner with friends or crack into the latest Danish boxset.
What is the most common misconception about your job?
That it must be “such fun” – ie not really work at all. I feel very lucky to have a vocation and a talent and while it can be very enjoyable, it is also a lot of hard work. No performer gets to a professional level without having earned it and this is something that never ends.
What is the hardest thing about your role?
That you always strive to be better.
When did you decide what you wanted to do with your life and how did you set out to achieve it?
When I was about 14 I did a ballet weekend with an ex-ballet dancer and she told me I should think about training seriously. Luckily for me I had extremely supportive parents. At the age of 16 I left school and began a three-year vocational training at London Studio Centre. There was no turning back after that.
What can you do to get a head start?
Work incredibly hard. Be patient. Develop your technique and set yourself ambitious goals, which can be slowly realised over time.
Could you describe the creative element to your job?
The most exciting and creative part of my job is in the interpretation of a character. This is fed by all art forms: books, films, paintings or simply observing people in every day life. Most of the dance I do is character led and so once the steps have been set, it is my task to make the movement relevant to the role. I’m so satisfied when I get to the point where the movement feels like the only way my character would express herself.
What’s the one thing you wish you had known at the start of your career that you know now?
That the braver you are, the more people will want to work with you.
Which organisations/websites/resources do you think would be useful for people entering your industry?
Clemmie Sveaas and Aaron Sillis will perform an excerpt from The Most Incredible Thing by Pet Shop Boys & Javier de Frutos on the Waterfront Stage at Latitude as part of Sadler’s Wells Presents… from the 13 to 15 July. Find out more.
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Image by Hugo Glendinning.