All Articles by Matthew Donnell

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Matthew Donnell

About Matthew Donnell

Matthew C. Donnell, a native of Mt. Airy, North Carolina is the Director of the Preparatory Dance Program of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he is also received his early childhood and formal training. After graduating from UNCSA in ’99, he trained at the Rock School in Philadelphia, and while there, he performed with Pennsylvania Ballet and placed second regionally in the inaugural season of Youth America Grand Prix. From there, he enjoyed a ten-year career with the Kansas City Ballet, where he performed soloist and principal roles by the great ballet and contemporary masters to critical acclaim, and was named “30 under 30 artists to watch” by the Kansas City Star. Following his time in Kansas City, he moved to New York City to focus on acting. His theater credits include Kansas City Starlight Theatre, Kansas City New Theatre (where he also served as Dance Captain and Assistant Choreographer), Houston Theatre Under the Stars, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Together with partner Alana Niehoff, he wrote, produced, and performed in his first one-man clown/physical comedy show The Chapeau Show in NYC benefitting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. His silent short film series, The Adventures of Jim has been screened in film festivals based out of Winston-Salem and Los Angeles. He is a contributing writer for the online publication DIY Dancer, and currently sits on the board of governors for the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), the union that represents ballet and opera performers and the board of The Arts Based School, Winston-Salem. As an instructor he has taught for and rehearsed professional ballet companies and schools across the country including UNCSA, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Dance Festival, Montgomery Ballet, Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, The University of Alabama, and Alabama Dance Theatre. He is an ABT® Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

Ballet is hard, and seeing students discover this fact is both exciting and painful at the same time. Once serious ballet training begins, a student will spend a lot of time facing the barre, and in most studio settings, this means they’ll be staring at a blank wall for months. So how does one instill…

Syllabus. Curriculum. Dance Teacher Training. These are terms, which have garnered some negative attention in the ballet world as of late. I have witnessed school directors and teachers back away from them as if they were dirty “four letter words.” I believe this is simply because ballet teacher training has rarely been required in our…