Meet Daphne Fernberger, Dancer with L.A. Dance Project, Filmmaker and Choreographer

May 25, 2022

From the time she was 7 years old, Daphne Fernberger knew she wanted to pursue a career in dance. “I was in ballet class, and it was the first time I was asked to demonstrate,” she says. That moment ignited a passion that brought her to American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and The Juilliard School, then to Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company and, in September 2021, to L.A. Dance Project. “I’m very excited by multimedia, the inspiring artists that I get to dance with, the choreography that’s created and set on us, and Benjamin Millepied’s vision,” she says. Exploring dance through different media is part of Fernberger’s work as a choreographer, and to date she’s created three dance films. “Being a dancer is my main focus, but I’ve begun to feel passionate about nurturing and sharing my own vision.”

Making Movies

For her dance film Environment as Self, Fernberger worked with her father, cinematographer Peter Fernberger, and friend, film editor and former Cunningham dancer Daniel Madoff. They collaborated again on The River Within, her next dance film.

Her Pre-Performance Routine

“Every day is different, but I’m always searching for connection within myself and my surroundings. Sometimes that means I need to close my eyes and sense, sometimes I need a hug.”

Modernizing a Classic

“Recently I had the honor of dancing female Romeo with my female Juliet in Benjamin Millepied’s Romeo & Juliet. It feels so exciting to bring this epic classic into a more contemporary world.”

Getting Intentional

“The dancers that inspire me the most are deeply alive with sensation and intention. Practicing meditation, particularly movement meditation, is my way of tapping into that.”

Sculpting Intentions in Her Own Work

“I give myself time with the concept, exploring it and maybe making a mood board or collection of inspirations and thoughts for myself and the dancers. I often like to begin rehearsals with a check-in, guided improvisation and then create movement by movement.”