Katherine McDonnell

Katherine McDonnell
Guest Artist, Principal Dancer,
Company Choreographer

A native of Virginia, Ms. McDonnell studied from age 8 with Ballet Russe premier danseur Oleg Tupine. Prior to graduation from the School of American Ballet she began her professional career in ballet as a guest to Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet under the direction of Balanchine ballerina Maria Tallchief. Following, she was invited to join John Clifford’s Los Angeles Ballet company, where she rose to soloist ranks, and then as a principal with Nevada Festival Ballet, becoming rehearsal assistant to director Maggie Banks and various guest choreographers.


During her 20-year performing career Ms. McDonnell was fortunate to dance on stages around the world. Her repertoire includes many of the principal roles in the classical idiom, as well as ballets by Balanchine, Clifford, Vassili Sulich, and Ian Horvath, in addition to works by Peter Martins and production shows with Emmy Award-winning choreographer Michael Darrin and Juliet Prowse’s choreographer David Chavez.


She was on the faculties of Nevada Festival Ballet School, Nevada Dance Theatre Academy, the University of Nevada, Ballet Arts in Tucson, AZ., and School of Ballet Arizona before joining Phoenix-based AZDance Group as production assistant to choreographer and artistic director Kenda Newbury. For four seasons Ms. McDonnell danced, choreographed, cast, costumed, staged and lit productions, staged ballets, rehearsed the company, taught company class, and adjudicated at auditions.


Ms. McDonnell retired from the stage in 2008, when two years later she was asked to be Convergence Ballet Company’s rehearsal mistress for the company’s second season. In 2011 Ms. McDonnell was lured from her teaching duties at SBAZ to serve as West Valley Ballet’s founding artistic director.


She holds a B.A. degree in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, and received a teaching license from the New York City Ballet Education Department. Ms. McDonnell conducts regular Master Classes, and guest teaches at summer intensives in Arizona and California.