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Niklas Blomqvist

Niklas Blomquist. Foto Hampus Westin

Brave staking of young dancer – creates new company in Stockholm

STOCKHOLM: I had an interesting talk with Niklas Blomquist, just in his starting pits to create a brand-new dance company. This is a rare occasion. Read about his thoughts and expectations.

Niklas started to dance after having spent a lot of time with his parents at the Royal Swedish Opera, where they both were dancers. He found the environment exciting and inspiring.

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Niklas Blomquist. Foto Cristian Hillbom

When Niklas chose to apply for the Royal Swedish ballet school, his parents were slightly hesitant. Soon they supported his decision. He went all the way through the school, some eight years, and says he appreciates his time there very much.

Next step was to go to Russia. After the last year in the school, when he also worked a lot with the Royal Swedish ballet, he took the chance to do something different.

After going through the tests, including video films of “every possible step in the classical syllabus”, he was accepted in Moscow.

A year was spent there, with various experiences. Living conditions were tough. Grown up in Södermalm, Stockholm, with café latte at popular cafés and so on, Niklas came to sleep in a small ice-cold room, with three roommates, plus the rats…

The difficulties did not stop there, he says he was not far from giving up and go home after the first month, being totally ignored by his teacher. Eventually, after giving all possible efforts, he got recognized and got a lot of help. Niklas says it was a great experience and nothing he regrets at all. This was a purely classical training.

I ask how the idea to start a new company came to him? Niklas thinks for several moments.

Niklas has worked in the Peter Shaufuss Ballet, National Ballet of Ireland, New English Ballet theatre, and a greek company.

A feeling was growing while working in these companies, that you do what you are told, and it is not very often that you can express yourself. This does not always fit everybody. As a dancer you are a tool for someone else’s visions.

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Niklas Blomquist. Foto Hampus Westin

Despite his youth he says he has always had a wish to do more than being employed, to do his own thing.

“The artistic vision for the new company is that all participants should feel that they are a part of what we present. A very honest performance, were the dancers can express their best, and be themselves. I do not request very many dancers, but I want them to be responsible in these senses. This has actually not been done before, it is a new concept, young thinking.”

What about competition?

“It does not bother me at all. I know so many good dancers that have so much to offer. Many of these people share a common urge to create. Freelancers have a hard time and I feel the institutions need some challenge. They are sometimes too comfortable.”

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Niklas Blomquist. Foto Carl Thorborg

I ask the crucial question, about the economy!

At this time, he has sent in several applications and is waiting for answers, often a very long procedure. Of course, it is hard to say anything before having the answers.

He does not mention whether he has possibilities with other sources, such as private donors. But, he is determined to launch his idea even if he must do it with his own money.

Niklas says he will then hire a theatre for a single night just to make them be seen and heard of. To get the story out.

“If you want to start something new in Sweden you must understand it will not be easy.”

In this context he explains that he wants his group to work together and share responsibility, that it will be hard to start with demands of a big salary…

Have you spoken to any others about how to run the “business”, or do you plan to do this by yourself?

“No, no,” Niklas shakes his head, “of course I want to cooperate with friends. I have had discussions with some people that are interested to participate, as well as freelance dancers both in Sweden and abroad. This is in the making.”

Practically, starting a group like this means finding the empty spot where the freelancing dancers are free from other engagements. That can mean two months when everybody is available.

Speaking of cooperation, are you interested I doing things together with other groups?

“I have nothing against that, I think it could be great fun. There are of course benefits in such a solution. You can perform with two groups together, you can share one stage, you get a bigger audience.”

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Niklas Blomquist. Foto Cristian Hillbom

How are you going to attract your dancers, who will be good enough for you and how will you make them enter your ship?

Here I notice the passion shines through.

First, says Niklas, there is the possibility of making something new. Then to be able to use your whole artistic capacity, to be part of a creative process, and have more freedom in your expression, in the repertory.

The repertory should come from themselves, there are no plans to buy works. He says that he wants to choreograph himself, of course. He thinks that only works that come from the group can make a unique signature.

Curious about style, I ask about the direction in the dancing. Niklas answers that he likes neoclassical and modern style, but he really appreciates technical skills of different kinds in a dancer.

“Dance is a language. The more knowledge, the better training you have, the better instrument you are for yourself.”

To blend the styles with an up to date expression is naturally a difficult task.

At this moment, to survive, Niklas is grateful to the Swedish organisation “Dansalliansen” which provides some support between jobs.

Niklas och Carl Billy

Med Carl "Billy" Sjögren. Foto Sören Vilks

The time plan is optimistic. Niklas dreams of getting one performance together before the fall. It will be a small production, but he has dancers ready. Regarding venues nothing is scheduled so far. There are many in Stockholm, among the obvious “Dansens hus “ and their smaller stage, but also private theatres. Niklas images four-five dancers only for the first production. He also wants to dance himself.

Niklas also talks about the audience in Stockholm, the polarization of the crowds. He really wants to change what he feels is more stereotyped in Stockholm than in many other cities.

We can't forget “Billy Elliott”, the musical with Roine Söderlund as choreographer and director, where Niklas has done 121 performances as the grown up Billy at Stadsteatern in Stockholm. Of course a special experience. He felt that they had worked really well with the young Billy's . But to work every evening for such a long period is a totally different feeling when you are not used to it.

Motion unbound” is the name of the new company. Found it on Instagram @motion_unbound

Of the many freelancing dancers around, this young man decides to start a new project.

Far from everybody would jump into that deep water. Niklas Blomquist, age 27, does.

Marie Louise Waldenström

28 May 2018

Jag ville bara dansa
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