Best Advice to Young Dancers
"If you round off all your corners to "fit in", you'll wind up losing your edge. Nurture your quirks. They are what sets you aside from the rest."
Favorite Thing about an NYCDA Weekend?
“The hustle, the non-stop movement, and the exchange of the most valuable commodity - inspiration.”
Dana was born in Aurora, Colorado, and studied many styles of dance at Michelle Latimer Dance Academy. She was a past NYCDA Regional Outstanding Dancer, and at age 18 moved to Los Angeles to follow her dreams. In little time, Dana found herself working in contemporary companies, commercials (Target, Verizon, Southwest, Amazon Prime to name a few), for every artist from Hozier to Justin Beiber, in movies, and on two tours with Justin Timberlake. Even while performing and teaching around the globe, Dana prioritizes training and focuses on keeping a diverse skill set. Dana learned locking from the one and only Toni Basil of the Original Lockers. She got her understanding of Popping from Popin’ Pete, who’s brother, Boogaloo Sam, created a style. Her love of old school street styles is matched only by an appetite for the new. Marty Kudelka, the godfather of “new school” is one of Dana’s mentors and now colleague. Dana is either on camera, on stage, free styling, or fine tuning her performance technique with acting, improv comedy, and even mime training.
Dana’s stage performances are too many to list, recently, and most notably, she completed her second world tour with Justin Timberlake, and accompanied him on the 89th Academy Awards. She has graced the stage of every other award show from the MTV VMA’s to the Grammys, and Golden Globes as well. Dana. Dana has also contributed choreography for the live performances of Miley Cyrus, Joe Jonas, and The Backstreet Boys.
Dancing in the opening scene of La La Land was a career highlight for Dana (and the 20 other dancers that made that magical scene come to life). She is also featured in JT and The Tennessee Kids’ Netflix Original, Charlie Wilson’s War, and she is the movement behind the animation for Fiona in Shrek 4! On the smaller screen, you can spot her in episodes of Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Dancing with the Stars, and she was a guest choreographer on Season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance.
Dana has been a part of JT’s creative team since 2007, and recently contributed choreography for Miley Cyrus, Joe Jonas, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar with Robin Thicke, and Vance Joy. Dana also makes up one third of the wildly original and imaginative group “The Seaweed Sisters” adored and admired by a wide range of audiences from toddlers and their parents perusing YouTube, to the screens of the Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival. Drawing from her 13 years of work as a dance instructor, Dana started the “The Bureau of Nonverbal Communication” to investigate and exercise dance on a conceptual level. In 2015, Dana got GoPro's attention for her 365 consecutive daily videos on Instagram (@danadaners), and also established a relationship with 360 camera company Ricoh as an influencer.
Dana is based in LA, where she pops up to teach master classes at Millennium Dance Complex, Movement Lifestyle, and Kinjaz Dojo. She also loves teaching at Broadway Dance Center when in NY, and has been featured in several other workshops in Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and all over the United States. You can also find her online with CLI!