June 18, 2014
Photo Credit: Joris Jan Bos
Fernando Hernando Magadan
Location:The Hague, The Netherlands
Originally a gymnast, Fernando joined the Nederlands Dans Theater in 2001, and has since offered his talents to the company as both dancer and choreographer. He studied at the Royal Conservatory of Dance in Madrid and the London Studio Centre before enrolling at the Central School of Ballet. His work reaches audiences in the US, Russia, Germany, and the UK. His latest creation, Royal Road was performed by Grammy Award Winners ‘Turtle Island Quartet‘ and the Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago. Fernando is also a sought after teacher, receiving invites from schools of dance all over the globe.
Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor:
What made you want to participate in this project?
Inspiration. I find the whole idea behind this project very inspiring. I find it fascinating how different artistic expressions can compliment and feed each other. How they can reveal different layers and the secret essence of things. I’m passionate about other artists work and the curiosity of how my interpretation of a piece of music could contribute to a whole chain of creative impulses.
What was your first reaction to hearing the music? What images, movements, memories, tastes, emotions etc came to you?
A mixture of feelings. A combination of courage, fragility, loneliness and hope. An image of a vulnerable figure peacefully accepting his circumstances, trying to find his place, surrounded by crowds in a very busy street where everything takes place with a very fast tempo. Or, the same figure in an empty or neutral space, detached from everything, where the spontaneous current of his thoughts are leading his actions without him being conscious of them.
What part of the song informed your interpretation the most? (a lyric? melody? instrumentation?)
A combination of the lyrics and the melody. I felt especially inspired by the whisper. Not the literal meaning but the feeling of reflecting and meditating about something that matters.
What did you imagine the songwriter was trying to express with this song? (emotions, story, message?)
I imagine the artist was thinking of their feelings or attachments towards a particular place they are especially connected to. It could be internal or external, it doesn’t really matter. Something sacred and holy.
What did “Life is Angry, life is Holy in the Puckerbrush” mean to you?
The capacity of a remote place, or a memory, to bring out the best or the worse out of you.
What did “I can only be heard by the silence” mean?
Solitude. Incomprehension. The inability to communicate certain things through words. The capacity of silence of being very meaningful and expressive.
What part of your dance came to you first?
The emotional state. The idea of self – exploration. An introspective feeling.
What was your process? How did you turn this song into a dance?
By imagining a particular situation or situations. Then experiencing the raw improvised physical interpretation of the music. Structuring that feeling into the space by giving it directions and shape.
How do you normally choreograph? How was this experience different?
My approach to choreography depends pretty much of the source of inspiration. Sometimes can be an image, others a sound, a music, a text, a concept, a situation or a location. I like collaborating and sharing ideas with the people I have in front of me. I get inspired by people and I like to see how their own experiences and abilities can contribute the development of a dance. The strategy to create choreography can vary depending on the project. Sometimes I would start by imagining the atmosphere, the texture, and the energy of the choreography. Other times I will start by designing the space where the dance is going to take place. A place that will support the dance and add an extra layer to the meaning, or the intention, of the choreography. Usually this design will be an interactive decor or an installation. A place that will give the dancer the possibility to relate an interact with certain revelatory objects. In the studio I will usually start by proposing the first approach to movement, certain physicality, certain tasks to explore, certain ideas. Together with the dancers we will create and develop a dance vocabulary. All sorts of dance combinations, solos, duos, trios etc depending of the needs of the choreography. Physical frames for me to use as a pillar to keep building, crafting and organizing ideas on top. Then the compositional process is combined with the additions of more content and meaning.
This experience has been different basically because of the nature of this project. The idea that my interpretation of the music will be passed on to another artist to keep contributing to the chain of reaction made it particularly special. I gave myself more the freedom to trust my first reaction to the music, a style of music I never choreographed on before.
What techniques/tools/strategies did you use to help you express you’re interpretation? (certain place/room? movement choices? Thoughts going through your head? Emotions in your body?)
More than a certain specific technique or tool, I based my interpretation more in my honest, raw reaction of the music. I choose a dance studio. A neutral space without references of any kind, for the pure dance to be exposed and the essence behind the dance to be portrayed.
I noticed you used shadows in this work. Can you talk about that?
I decided to use a shadow to suggest the internal dialogue that any creator has at the time to face creativity. This is a theme I’ve been exploring lately. Psychologist Carl Jung wrote.- “Everyone carries a shadow,” – An unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not recognize in itself, one’s link to more primitive animal instincts, which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind. Jung believed that “in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow may be the seat of creativity.” Any creator is in constant confrontation with his own creativity. At the same time, from my perspective, the shadow portrays another layer of myself, something introspective, an inner dialogue. Something intangible.
Are there certain choices you made (melodically/vocally etc) which mean something specific to you that the observer might not know?
The audience should have the freedom to interpret what they see the way the feel it, taking into consideration their own experiences, feelings and emotions. If there are choices I made that mean something to me that the audience won’t perceive doesn’t really matter. What matters is if they connect to the work, and how.
Extra credit: Did you enjoy this project?
I enjoyed it very much. I’m thrilled about the idea of my work being interpretated by another artist and following the artistic chain reaction.