Getting to Know Danielle

Danielle Downey has been dancing with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre since the 2007-2008 season.

When I was a little girl, I used to get all dressed up and go see The Nutcracker. I decided I wanted to be Marie one day and danced around my bedroom until my parents enrolled me in ballet. Except for a year when I didn’t want to go to Saturday morning class because I would miss cartoons and sleeping in, I quickly fell in love with ballet and wanted to be at the studio every day.

I left home in the summers to train at different summer programs. After graduating high school in Erie, I moved to Pittsburgh to join the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School Graduate Program. I was so happy when Artistic Director Terrence Orr offered me a contract with PBT. I love dancing with this company, and I also enjoy being close to my family and friends up in Erie.

Hometown:  I was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, but I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Number of years as a dancer: Next season will be my sixth season with the company, but I took my first ballet class at age seven.

Training:  Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Lake Erie Ballet, and summer programs at Boston Ballet and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Greatest Influence: My parents have been and will always be huge influences and role models in my life.

Favorite thing about dance: I love the thrill of stepping on stage and performing for others after many hours of rehearsals.

Favorite food: Buffalo chicken pizza.

Family:  My mom and dad (Harvey and Louise), a younger sister (Allison), a younger brother (Garrett), and two Golden Retrievers (Piper and Annie).

Hobbies:  Sailing! I race on a Beneteau 36.7 at the Erie Yacht Club. It is such a fun sport with a great group of people.

Favorite vacation:  A few years ago I went sailing in the British Virgin Islands with PBT dancers Chris Budzynski and Alexa Kochis. It was a lot of fun and very relaxing.

Future plans: Although I am not sure of future plans yet, I’m currently taking classes at the University of Pittsburgh hoping that a degree will take me anywhere I want in life after my ballet career.

Advice to students:  Work your absolute hardest every day in class and rehearsal. The work ethic that you build as a dancer will carry over to all aspects of your life.