DAVID FERNANDEZ CHOREOGRAPHY
Award-winning contemporary choreographer and dance filmmaker, master teacher from NYC
Ballet, contemporary, modern dance. International ballet competitions.
David Fernandez: Choreographer based in New York.
David's most acclaimed choreography, Five Variations on a Theme, was created for New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Joaquin De Luz. The work premiered as part of the acclaimed Kings of the Dance tour. It was performed to standing ovations in NYC, LA, London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. Other notable choreography commissions include pieces created for leading dancers of the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Kings of the Dance Tour, Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, Youth America Grand Prix Gala Concert, and many others.
David is an award-winning filmmaker: his latest dance-on-film accomplishments include the Lost Angeles Olympus Film Festival Award for Best Public Service Announcement. David’s award-winning short, Moving Though It — Phases of an Emergency through Dance, uses a revolutionary approach of making a public service announcement through dance. Ideated and directed by David Fernandez, the project was commissioned and sponsored by the NYC Emergency Management and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
Other film festival achievements include:
Moving Through It; Official Selection Best Short Competitions, 2019;
White Shirt, Black Tie, Black Pants XXS, Director and Choreographer. The short premiered at the Dance on Camera Film Festival at Lincoln Center in 2012;
Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear, Director and Choreographer. Premiered at Dance on Camera Film Festival at Lincoln Center in 2007;
Icarus APR, Director and Choreographer. Premiered at Dance on Camera Film Festival at Lincoln Center in 2009.
David is happy to be part of the Palermo Ballet Summer intensive.
Recently he traveled to New Zealand School of dance where he set up his piece "Five Variation on a Theme" to be part of the graduation performance in November 2019.
MOVING THROUGH IT: ENGAGING DANCE TO CONFRONT DISASTER
I have been commissioned to create a filmed dance for New York City Emergency Management.
Filming: Visual Mercenary
Script: Emily Benedek
Sponsor: NYC Emergency Management Department
Director: David Fernandez
Christopher Grant, New York City Ballet.
Dona Wiley, Cello Pointe Soloist
Morgan Stinnett, Cello Pointe Soloist
Miku Kawamura, Brooklyn Ballet
Paunika Jones, Brooklyn Ballet
Traci Finch, Susan Farrell Ballet
Shannon Maynor, Eglevsky Ballet
Charlotte Barrato, Westport’s Academy of Dance (Student)
Julian Wanderer, School of American Ballet (Student)
ABOUT MOVING THROUG IT
Our piece examines the phases a community goes through in the face of an emergency, which in this piece is represented by an oncoming hurricane. The dance will follow the phases that our partner, the NYC Emergency Management Department, and others in the emergency management field refer to as the “disaster life cycle.”
PROJECTS- ALWAYS CREATING
"JANE AUSTEN'S HEROINES" BALLET
Status: In Pre-production
“Jane Austen’s Heroines”For a while, I have been sketching out a pas de deux for my one of my favorite Jane Austen characters, Elizabeth Bennet, and her paramour Mr. Darcy. But something always kept the work from gelling. Now, suddenly, I realized what was wrong. I love Austen’s characters, but it’s Jane herself who really who has held my attention and admiration all this time. And finally, I understood what my project wanted to be. Today I announce that I am choreographing a work about my four favorite Austen heroines, each dancing solos that reflect the complex, independent people that they are. And in the final segment, I will join them up with their creator Jane! It will be delightful to see how they all dance with each other. We will feature music from Jane Austen’s songbook collection, as well as pieces from her favorite composers. I will choreograph with a classical ballet vocabulary, but I will also add a form popular in Austen’s day: Regency Dancing. Collaborating with Emily Benedek as literary and artistic advisor, together we will make a full classical ballet that will bring the best-known Austen women to life, as they dance with their creator.
"GLASSY WORDS" PROJECT
Dance On Camera short film
A short film with dancer Emilie Kristen Gerrity
Music Andy Stott
Status: On production
"NEW YORK DUETS" PROJECT
A documentary short film
A documentary about the collaboration with Peter Wiley, Nikki Cho, Aks La Cour and Lloyd Night.
Status: In production
"MISERY DOVE SON!"PROJECT
Dance on camera short film
A film with Claire Deane, music by Mozart.
Status: Background Video editing
David Fernandez’s Choreography Process
When I'm commissioned to create a piece, the most difficult thing is to find the right music. With CelloPointe as an example, this was not the case, because the vast repertoire the company offered me was full of great pieces. So that left me with the difficulty of choosing just one, and that is a good problem to have.
I have chosen Haydn’s Divertimento in D Major for Cello Trio because I loved the different dynamics of each of the four movements. It will also be a trio for Shannon, Dona and Chihwan, so it makes sense to have the three dancers represented by the trio of cellos.
With the music and cast settled - elements I call the pieces of my “playground” - I start the incubation process.
I play the music over and over, to the point of almost memorizing the full divertimento. This process helps me get to know the music, counting it from beginning to end and writing down all the counts.
Once the music is on paper, I start to divide the sections of the music - the introduction, development, repeat, a bridge, change of tempo, finale. Any movement that starts to pop into my head, I write down. This also starts to tell me who is going to be dancing what part. For example, this sounds like something Shannon would love to do; this part sounds perfect for Chihwan; this allegro section will make Dona look great; this sounds like everyone is all together; here comes the canon; or it’s time for crazy eights.
When the process of finalizing the sections is done, I'm ready to go into the studio.
Setting the piece
I'm time-driven. That means that I have to finish sections in times that I set myself to finish a piece or a section. No cleaning, just get to the end. While choreographing, I do short runs to give me a sense of how the piece is going, and it also helps the dancer get the benefits of running the piece again and again. Without stopping, without cleaning, let's just get to know the piece together and, at the same time, finish it quickly.
Then there’s the review. Here is where the real work happens, where what I like stays, and what I think or feel could be improved is changed. I'm very open to the dancers’ input; by this time, they are connected to the piece that the suggestions are always on point. I have never rejected a suggestion from a dancer.
Then, after the piece is set and done, I do runs to check for memory, to see if the dancers have a hesitation about what's next.
Once this is done, we go for stamina - to start and finish the piece with lots of energy. In order to do that, we talk about when to push the power and when to coast during the piece.
And finally, interpretation.
When a dancer knows the piece and can do it like it is nothing, then the mind is free to play with the piece, and here is where the audience gets really engaged. They get to see the dancer hang on to that arabesque a little longer, or to hurry up this section to get to the next section, or to choose what instrument they want to hear, and to release the emotion on the right time with the music, to truly show us the music through their body. And they can give us a look and say, “Did you see that?” At this point, all that I do is sit and let them be. I just hope the audience sees or feels that we have worked hard to carefully put a piece together, and our aim is to present it to them as a gift.
About what inspires me: very simply, the music and the dancers.
The music makes me think of something, but the dancer’s unique qualities have the last word of what I will do at that moment when we stand right there, shoulder to shoulder at the studio.
“Choreography is simpler than you think. Just go and do, and don't think so much about it. Just make something interesting.”
BECOME A BENEFACTOR
I'll be happy to talk to you about the many ways I need help to create my projects. Lets do it old fashion way. Call me.
“Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well”