Matthew Donnell was born and raised in Mt. Airy - “Mayberry,” North Carolina. At age ten, after studying ballet from his Mother, he was accepted into the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studied under world renowned teachers such as Duncan Noble and Melissa Hayden among others. After graduation, he studied at the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet where he performed with Pennsylvania Ballet.
Upon completion of his year there, he was invited by William Whitener to join the Kansas City Ballet. In Kansas City, he danced soloist and principal roles ranging from the works of George Balanchine to Merce Cunningham. As his artistry developed, his talents extended beyond the realm of classical ballet technicality, and he was critically noted for his character work in roles such as Herr Drosselmeyer in “The Nutcracker” and Iago in “The Moor’s Pavane.”
Theatrically, Matthew has worked for the New Theatre of Kansas City in their productions of “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Oklahoma!,” “All Shook Up,” and “The Sound of Music.” He has been seen at KC Starlight Theatre in “Cinderella,” and with Houston Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS,) in “Guys and Dolls.”
Donnell has instructed, choreographed, set repertoire, and rehearsed professional ballet companies and schools across the country including CPYB, UNCSA, Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, The University of Alabama, Kansas City Ballet, The Montgomery Ballet, and Alabama Dance Theatre. As Director of the UNCSA Preparatory Dance Program, Donnell helped grow the program to artistic and financial stability over the last four years.
Matthew currently sits on the board of governors for the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), the union that represents ballet and opera performers.