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I’m thrilled to introduce DIYdancer’s newest contributor Matthew Donnell. Check out his answers to our Dd survey and stay tuned for his up coming posts on being an artist in New York City and the dance profession at large.

Dd's newest contributor Matthew Donnell

1.  ART:  Performance or visual?  What place does art have in your life?

I am a fan of both performance and visual art. Although given the choice, I will usually opt to go to a performance rather than a museum.  I am a person first and an artist second.  That said, I really can’t imagine my life without the arts.  They have shaped me since I was an infant, as my parents first sang to me and began introducing me to theater.  I’ve been performing since before I could walk.
2.  CRAFT:  Knit or Crochet or Other?  What is your craftiest project to date?

You name it, I’ve dabbled in it.  When I danced for Kansas City Ballet, I had a tradition of making a Christmas ornament for every member of the company every year.  I also kept one for myself, so I have a complete collection.  And yes, I made Chanukah ornaments for those to which they applied.
3.  DESIGN:  Classical or modern?  What designer or architect inspires you the
most?

Classical or modern…That’s too hard to decide between!  I am open to everything and anything. It also depends upon my mood.  If I must choose, I’d have to say I lean toward classical.  I can’t really pinpoint a specific designer or architect off the top of my head, but I have always had a fascination with cathedrals.  A European cathedral tour would make me quite content.  I love seeing such impressive buildings, built centuries ago.  I wish I could leave a legacy that would be as long lasting.
4.  FOOD:  Salty or sweet?  Do you know how to make your favorite dish?

I’m a salty/savory guy.  In the Donnell household, we have a food item that is a Christmas morning tradition, a simple croissant and gouda creation. For lack of a better term, I call this delicacy the Donnell Family Christmas Tradition Cheese Thingy.
When this simple treat is first described, many people say, “Hmmm…that sounds pretty good.”  Then they taste it and are ready to shout it’s praises from the mountain top.  There are only two ingredients necessary.  A canned tube of crescent rolls – Pillsbury or generic – and a wheel of gouda cheese.  I find the cheap kind in the red wax from the cheese aisle to be the best.  One begins by “whomping” the can of rolls against a hard surface which not only releases the sweet dough, but is insanely fun.  Next, you create a star by separating the rolls and placing the base of each triangular piece together with the points going away from the center.  You then place the unwaxed cheese in the center and fold the points of the dough across fully covering the gouda.  Once completed, you can get as artsy-fartsy as you wish, pinching the dough together into a pattern or leaving it as is.  Bake the bread and cheese until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted in the middle.  You may have to bake at a lower temperature than the rolls call for in order to get the ratio of melted to baked just right.  Remember…this is high art.  Upon completion, cut as you would a pie and serve with a fork.  People are always offering ways to improve this dish, with questions such as:  “Have you tried it with marinara?” “You know, this would be amazing with peperoni in the middle.” To this I say, go ahead.  Do whatever they’d like. But in the case of the Donnell Cheesy Thingy, less is more.  Now that I’ve ‘left the nest,’ I like to carry on the culinary tradition.

5.  THOUGHT:  Fiction or Nonfiction?  What form does the bulk of your own reading and/or writing take?

Again, how do you compare apples to oranges.  I must say, I’m guilty of getting swept up in pop-culture fiction such as the Harry Potter and The Hunger Games series, but that’s usually so I can look cool.  Seriously though, I enjoy thought provoking and philosophical literature.  The bulk of my writing is non-fiction, but I’ve recently written a short film which I will be releasing soon.

6.  FUN:  Where in the world do you want to go or be stranded?  What five things would be in your bag?

Once again, this depends on my mood.  Lately, I’ve been craving trips back to Austria and Germany.  For now, lets say Vienna.  No Munich.  No Vienna.  Too hard!  In my bag would be my computer, my phone (hey, you didn’t say I was without power and internet,) my journal, my dog Tyson, and my toothbrush…and toothpaste.  Ok, that was six things.

Written by Stephanie Wolf

Stephanie Wolf

An Atlanta native, Stephanie Wolf has performed professionally with the Minnesota Ballet, James Sewell Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, and Wonderbound (formerly Ballet Nouveau Colorado). She has a BA in Liberal Studies from St. Mary’s College of California. Her writing has been published in national and regional media outlets, including Dance Informa, Indianapolis Star, and the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Currently, Stephanie lives in Denver, where she is a public radio producer and reporter. She loves bluegrass, cooking, Netflix, and owls.