"Danielle’s deep embodied knowledge informs her pathbreaking research at the intersection of old-style Irish dance, and sean-nós"
"When Danielle dances, she imbues grace, delicacy, and artistry.”
-Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh, Altan
step dance • damhsa • niimihk • jig • gigue
Danielle began life in ballet and modern dance, she spent her youth Irish step-dancing and fiddling, in her late adolescence she was introduced to sean-nós and regional styles of step dance from Ireland and North America, her twenties were spent researching and writing about historical and cultural paradigms of dance traditions in Ireland and its relationship to European and North American dance forms, and so far her 30s have led her to reconnect and reclaim the Métis and Quebecois traditions of her grandparents.
Danielle's depth and breadth of experience and cultural connections is unique in the traditional music world.
In the world of Irish dance, she has a toe in both competitive and old-style, sean-nós. She has direct links to the old dancing master lineages of Cork and Kerry and has carried out extensive research on the dance master traditions in Ireland. Danielle is one of few ethnochoreologists (dance anthropologists) to have completed a two-year master's degree focused solely on research and thesis. Her official area of study includes County Cork and ties to early European dance trends, other regions in Ireland, and traditions in North America. Having also lived in Northern Ireland, Danielle's understanding of historical and cultural paradigms in dance history extends to the history and conflict specific to the north.
As a fiddler, Danielle grew up immersed in Irish music with notable teachers and mentors in the US, Ireland, and Canada. Danielle holds a Diploma in Traditional Irish Music from University College Cork where she studied with Connie O'Connell, Matt Cranitch, Bobby Gardiner, and Peggy McTeggart.
Danielle's work in dance and music is also informed by the Métis and Quebecois dancing and fiddling traditions of her grandparents which she has spent time connecting to in recent years. And underlying her work in dance are lifelong studies in a variety of dance and movement modalities including ballet, contact improvisation, modern dance, Alexander technique, the Russian kettlebell system as taught by Pavel Tsatsouline, and subtle bodywork. Danielle has a level 1 Reiki certification, and has become even more aligned with the value of body and energy work as she navigates the physical and practical aspects of living with a brain injury.
fiddle • fidil • aen vyayloon • kitohcikan
Musicality and rhythm are central to Danielle’s approach as a dancer and musician.
Her deep knowledge of both the dance and the music provides a unique nuance in her work as a performer and educator. Danielle’s current projects and partnerships reimagine step-dance, digging into historical contexts, and forging new paths. In 2018 Danielle founded The Step Collective, a project that brings dancers, musicians, a tradition bearers from the various practices in North America, Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, and parts of Europe together in one space for education, exploration, and to deepen the understanding of shared connections and unique threads within the various traditions. Danielle's latest musical project with New York-based Bodhrán player, Anna Colliton, The Bad Neighbors Rhythm Project is a "refreshing" and cutting edge exploration into traditional rhythms, historical contexts, exploring rhythmic boundaries, and bringing two rhythmic and percussive accompaniment forms together in fresh, exciting, and thought-provoking ways.
Danielle has performed, taught, presented, and curated programming in venues across North America and Europe which include The Irish Heartbeat Tour, Germany; BBC Alba, Scotland; Milwaukee Irish Fest; The Old Songs Festival; The Flurry Festival; The New York Irish Dance Festival; The New York Trad Fest; The Center for Celtic Studies Summit at UW - Milwaukee; Munster Technological University; The Dance Studies Association Conference; Dance Research Forum Ireland; Brian Wicklund's Fiddle Pal Camps; and White People's Work: Anti-racism in Dance Pedagogy. Danielle has worked with and made appearances with performers including Paddy O'Brien (Offaly); Kieran Jordan, Nick Yenson, Sean McComiskey, and Josh Dukes (The Sole Mates); Altan; Paul Brock, Manus McGuire, and Enda Scahill; Daithí Sproule, Billy McComiskey, and Liz Caroll; Julie Fowlis; The Friel Sisters; Liz Knowles; John Doyle, Colin Farrell, and Kevin Crawford; Danny Diamond, David Munnelly, Jonas Fromsier, and Dom Keogh; Ann Heymann and Charlie Heymann; and Joey Abarta and Nathan Gourley.
Danielle holds a Diploma in Traditional Irish Music and an MA in Ethnochoreology.
Danielle's MA from Munster Technological University focused on dance anthropology through thesis and research. Her thesis examined dance in Ireland, Europe, and North America with a focus on historical and cultural paradigms. While on faculty at MTU Danielle also developed and taught courses in dance and movement for cultural studies, disability studies, health and leisure, and early childhood education. Danielle is also a trained teacher in the Waldorf/Steiner system which focuses on educating the whole child with equal focus on intellectual, emotional, and creative learning.
Danielle's Diploma in Traditional Irish Music from University College Cork focused on fiddle and was immersive in the Irish tradition. The Diploma program provided the opportunity for a comprehensive study of music and tradition which included ethnomusicology, music theory, and céilí band.
In Cork, Danielle was introduced to old dance master and sean-nós traditions.
She was among the first dancers in the USA to study and teach these dance forms. Having lived in Cork, Kerry, and Belfast, Danielle has worked with dancers with direct ties to some of the last itinerant dancing masters in Ireland: Cormac O’Keefe, Jeremiah Molyneaux, and Stevie Comerford. These influences have formed lasting foundations in Danielle's dancing.
Danielle has been most influenced by her studies with Peggy McTeggart (Cork), Sharon Phelan (Kerry), Jonathan Kelliher (Kerry), Robert Hunter (Belfast), Cormac O'Se (Dublin/Minnesota), Ellen Keane (Minnesota), Kieran Jordan (Boston), Pierre Chartrand (Quebec), Normand Legault (Quebec), Rodney Sutton (North Carolina), and Jane Peck (Minnesota); and musicians Connie O'Connell (Cork), Bobby Gardiner (Cork), Matt Cranitch (Cork), and Paddy O'Brien (Offaly).
Danielle's fiddling and dancing is influenced by her French Canadian and Métis roots.
She has studied the gigue (step dance) traditions of her great grandparents in Jonquiere, in Northern Quebec, with Pierre Chartrand and Normand Legault. Thanks to her relatives, Métis dancers, emerging elders and knowledge holders, jiggers, and fiddlers, Danielle has begun to reconnect to her Grandfather's Métis culture of St. Francois Xavier and Portage La Prairie in Manitoba. She descends from Bois Brûlés who fought beside Cuthbert Grant in the Victory of Frog Plain, is in the Métis citizenship process with the Manitoba Métis Nation, and is learning the importance of reclaiming her family's Métis/Michif/Otipemisiwak identity. Danielle's history, language, dance, and fiddle teachers and influences include her great-aunts Narda Nadon and Darlene Schley, Yvonne Chartrand (V'ni Dansi), Joseph Naytowhow, Madelaine McCallum, Patty Kusturok, and Natalie Pepin (The Gabriel Dumont Institute).
Danielle's work in research, education, and advocacy is wide-reaching.
She has worked in leadership roles in museums within historical and scientific contexts; has extensive experience in elementary school classrooms and in youth development; and has done advocacy work in various areas from disability, to education, to housing.
Danielle has a degree in Urban and Sustainability Studies from the University of Minnesota.
Her undergraduate work in Urban and Sustainability Studies has informed her sense of stewardship, cultural contexts of place and geography, and the interplay between history and the present day. Danielle has taught in elementary school classrooms in Berlin Germany through the UofM's Center for German and European Studies; and she has developed and taught college-level coursework for dance and movement for Early Childhood Education, Disability Studies, Cultural Studies, and Physical Education. Danielle was a primary classroom teacher for 5th and 6th grades at The City of Lakes Waldorf School in Minneapolis, and has completed part of a Waldorf Teaching Certification at The Sunbridge Institute, and an MA in Education through SUNY.
Danielle's work in Museums has also deepened her sense of community stewardship. She was the Special Programs Director at the Minnesota Transportation Museum where she oversaw exhibit development and museum programs, and partnered with other organizations to create Transportation Week, a week dedicated to sustainability and innovation in transportation. Recently, Danielle has worked with the Bell Museum of Natural History. She was hired to oversee resource management for the development of The Solution Studio, their self-produced rotating exhibit focused on current innovations in scientific research and translating them to real-world experiences in the museum. Danielle quickly became the project lead for the exhibit and collaborated with a team to develop the concepts, then oversaw development, implementation, and the live exhibit. Danielle worked as an educator for the museum's on-site school program, she taught a science-based course for elementary school students about pollinators.
Danielle's understanding of accessibility and equity have been strengthened by working with the Bell Museum, an institution committed to meeting individuals where they are and making learning accessible to as many people as possible. Danielle has been involved in housing justice issues in Minneapolis and has been involved in efforts with the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, AVIVO, and AIWC. Danielle's own experience with disability has led her to advocate for issues around accessibility and disability. Danielle lives with a traumatic brain injury and feels strongly that a world in which differing abilities are accommodated for is vital to community and human existence.