Updated: May 20
This is Dani.
Dani, tell us more about how you got into dancing?
I grew up in a very small country town in the middle of Pennsylvania.
There wasn't ample access to the arts there, so it was a challenge to really train and expose myself to that world for a long time.
I am the youngest of three, and like a younger sibling trying to emulate their older sibling, my older sister was the reason I started dancing in the first place.
When my older sister was three, she went to go see some children's theater show, and was enamored by the dancers.
Shortly after that, my mom had her in dance classes.
Following in her footsteps, and probably my parents desperate need to occupy my energetic self, I started dancing at the very young age of three.
I danced at a studio named "Long's School of Dance" about an hour away from my hometown and as I grew older, it practically became my home away from home.
I always was a go-getter in the dance world even before I could imagine it turning into a career.
As a child, I was always trying to learn the choreography the older class was doing.
I think the challenge was exciting to me even at a young age. I continued to train all the way through high school.
In my later teen years was when I was introduced to my love of circus, learning aerial skills, acrobatics and contortion.
I picked up singing during that time of my life thanks to a wonderful school teacher I was lucky enough to have named Mrs. Smrcka.
She actually picked me out of a group in class singing in choir and told me that I had a "big voice."
At the time, I just thought that meant I was loud and went with it.
She really helped me hone this craft, and gave me some of the most important advice that has carried me through my career thus far.
I probably have lightly morphed it over the years, but it's called the "Ketchup Speech."
Essentially the speech talks about how some days you want ketchup on your meal and some days you don't.
That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with ketchup. It just means that's not the flavor you want that day.
However, someone out there wants ketchup on their sandwich and ketchup will have it's day.
This is so relevant to the life of a performing artist. Some days you have to remove yourself from the rejection and understand that you will have your day in the sun.
Just because you weren't the right flavor for one casting doesn't mean you won't be for the next.
This advice got me through the various college auditions I applied for both as a musical theater candidate and a dance candidate.
I had never experienced repetitive rejection like that before, but I knew if i kept at it, I would come out on the other side.
After a long audition season, I was accepted as a Dance BFA student at Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia.
I worked and trained harder than I ever thought possible at this school. Day in and day out, I tried to absorb all of the incredible knowledge at my fingertips.
There was so much more to the dance world than I ever thought, and I always wanted more.
It was so meaningful to be in a room full of people with the same dream as mine, because I never really got to experience that growing up.
Dance was never just a hobby for me, it was a part of my being, and allowing myself to be fully immersed in that world was more than fulfilling.
Throughout college I got to train with different dance companies, and started working professionally.
I also began a dance collective called DMD (Dani Maloney and Dancers) and began to set my own work and have it performed in different venues.
I have been out of school for about two and a half years now, and am really thankful for the different twists and turns my career has taken thus far.
At this point in my career I have been incredibly lucky to work with, Diavolo Architecture in Motion as a company member, the LA Philharmonic as a dancer in the cast of "The Tempest," Cherry Boom Boom as a dancer, Interlaced Productions as a dancer and acrobat, TMU Events as a contortionist, Belluscious as a dancer, Cedar Point as a dancer and contortionist and a few others and I'm also represented by Go2Talent agency.
You truly are a jack of all trades; where do you get your inspiration from?
I love the fact that there is always room to improve.
In all of these art forms, there is always something that you can do better and it doesn't matter how long you've been performing or training.
I can't tell you how many notebooks I go through when touring a show or prepping for a performance because I’m constantly driven to be better than I was yesterday.
Knowing there isn't an endgame is so inspiring and humbling. Your endgame is where you set it, so why not just keep climbing?
I also draw inspiration from all of the fierce and talented people that are out there in the game hustling for the same dreams I am.
Everything has it’s ups and downs, but social media keeps us all so beautifully connected.
If I ever feel uninspired, I just pick up my phone and scroll through all of the phenomenal artists' accounts I follow.
Watching someone else train, create, sing a beautiful song, dance a fun dance, show off an awesome skill; I instantly throw all of my support to them and cheer them on, and then it's easier to cheer myself on after that.
Having a community full of inspiring people is a constant supply of motivation and positivity.
Dancing isn't easy! What would you say to aspiring dancers who look up to you?
There is so much to say about this field but I will keep it short and to the point!
Don't give up, believe in yourself, and get to that audition!
Every audition I almost didn't make it to happened to be the jobs I have booked.
I literally always end up in the wrong building in New York, so if you are in NYC and you went to the wrong location you better be sprinting across the street to make that 8 AM call!
If signing the list at 5 AM seems a little too early for you, go get a coffee and make it happen. If LA traffic just never agrees with you, leave an hour early.
The first step is taking the first step. Make those auditions!
If you want to turn dance into a career you need to train hard, be consistent, and have focussed goals.
Just like any other profession you have to take the necessary steps to accomplish the task at hand.
However, the arts can be a little fickle because we are our art.
It is not something that can be easily separated and the rejection feels more personal because they're not just saying no to your resume or school GPA, they are saying no to you.
When we don't get cast it's easy to blame it on our bodies, ability, hair, legs, and the list goes on.
To be a dancer you have to love yourself, and disallow the negative thoughts to affect your self worth.
Set your goals and work towards them.
Surround yourself with supportive and inspiring people.
Be happy with where you are and strive for a better tomorrow.
If you do have a bad day, just remember, ketchup is delicious and they’re going to put you all over their french fries at that next audition.
Do you have anything new or upcoming that we can expect to see from you?
I am planning on relaunching my dance collective DMD this year which I am so excited about!
I haven't traveled my work for some time now due to my focus being on my performance career.
However, in wake of the pandemic, I have had a lot of time to reinvigorate my creative mind.
I have a couple dance film ideas on the drawing board and am working to produce my own live showcase of my work when it is safe to do so.
I am currently living in Las Vegas and believe that will be the temporary home of my contemporary dance collective.
By 2021, I am planning to have my own group of project-based company dancers.
Pending what happens in the live performance realm due to the pandemic I would also love to be performing live again.
However, I am happy to do my part and continue training and working from home until it is safe to open theater doors again.
The day the audience can be with us again will be a beautiful one!
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