Top-played song on your iPod right now: Meghan Trainor’s “All about that bass” & Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” (Usually top hits and always some country!)
I started dancing at age: Six
Family: Mom, Dad, brother and sister
Hometown: Erie, Pa.
Pets: Two Golden Retrievers — Piper and Kensington. Kenzie is just a five-month-old puppy. They definitely take up half of the data on my phone in pictures and videos!
Favorite (Non-dance) Hobby: Sailing! I race on a 37-foot boat on Lake Erie.
Favorite Way to Relax: Enjoying some nice wine and cheese with friends or sailing with my boyfriend.
Favorite food: I love a good brick oven pizza with fresh, unique toppings.
Three things you always bring to the studio: My iPhone, my down booties, some sort of sweet snack or candy.
Backstage good luck ritual or prep process: I always do an ab series and Theraband exercises and eat a protein-rich snack.
If I wasn’t a professional ballet dancer, I would be… I used to want to be anesthesiologist.
Describe how you got your start in dancing.
“When I was very young I went to see The Nutcracker with my sister, my mom and my grandmother. I fell in love with the role of Marie. I aspired to do the part one day, and so my mom enrolled me in a local school that put on the production of The Nutcracker. I was always too tall for the role but have done nearly every other part in the ballet since.”
What about ballet inspired you to make it into a career?
“I can’t think of an ‘epiphany moment’ that inspired me to pursue this career, but I’ve definitely had a handful of teachers over the years who inspired me and helped pave the way.”
Describe one of your most memorable moments onstage.
“I still remember the first time I performed at the Benedum Center. It literally gave me chills when I first stepped foot on that huge stage and looked out at the 2,800 seats in the house. At that moment, I was still in PBT School and I was totally in awe and starstruck performing on the stage with the company.”
The Sleeping Beauty is one of the greatest classical ballet masterpieces. Why do you think it has remained so timeless, and, as a dancer, what does this production mean to you?
“I think that The Sleeping Beauty has been a benchmark for classical ballet for endless generations of dancers. Its pure classical technique showcases the combination of strength and grace needed to achieve the standard set by elite dancers and companies around the world. The Sleeping Beauty also continues to attract an audience without just an eye for technique because it is a well-known fairy tale loved by our society. And lastly, this ballet remains timeless because of the beautiful Tchaikovsky score, which narrates the story so precisely.”
DANIELLE DOWNEY’S STAGE MAKEUP PROCESS
Priming: “I start with a clean slate like a painter would have a clean canvas.” Danielle starts with a fresh face, prepped with a gentle cleanser (her choice is Purity Made Simple) and moisterizer. “It helps the makeup go on smoother.”
“The final step to prepping my skin is this eye cream…after a long run of shows all that makeup really starts to take a toll on your eyes.”
Tools of the Trade: Next, Danielle applys foundation and, before starting her eye makeup, she uses an Urban Decay eye shadow primer to prep her lids. “It really fixes the makeup in place…For my eyeshadows, I tend to use shades of grays and blacks or shades of browns. Today, I’m going to show you some gray.”
Eyes Wide Open: Danielle begins by sweeping a neatrual shade over the lid to act as a base before beginning to layer shades of gray shadows, blending well with a larger brush as she works.
“Next I’m going to start with this gray color and a slightly smaller brush and work on the outer corner of my eye, sory of creating a V-shape.” A well-blended layer of black shadow on the outer corner – and a sweep of light shadow on the brow bone – completes the look. “It really keeps your eye open.”
Give it Wings: Using a liquid liner, Danielle defines her upper lid first. “I really take it to the inner corner of my eye…and then I extend a little wing.” For the bottom, she extends a parallel line following her lashes. Then, with a skinny brush, she takes a deep-pigmented white eyeshadow between the two lines and near the brow bone. “It really brightens everything up.”
Voluminous Lashes: Danielle starts by curling her natural lashes so they’ll blend more naturally. Next, she applies a set of false eyelashes. “I really think that with all of this shadow and liner that it’s really important and it draws everything together,” she said of the lashes. “This is definitely the most tedious step.”
Contouring: Next, Danielle applies a bit of bronzer “that really adds definition and creates a contouring effect” and some bright blush to the apples of her cheeks.
“I typically don’t wear powder on a daily basis, but onstage…with the hot lights…it’s pretty important.”
Stage Ready: The finishing touch is a touch of bright red lipstick. “While I’m in the theater I listen to my iPod while I do my makeup; it really calms me down. Afterwards, I usually have a small snack, brush my teeth and spritz myself with perfume before I head down to the stage.”