An Interview with Danielle Cortier!

M / L
Some of you may know Danielle from working gigs in NYC. She's an OG Laner and one of Kristal's first hires. After many years on the field, Danielle was brought on internally as a Project Manager and we couldn't be more thrilled. She is a huge asset to our recruiting team and her attention to detail cannot go unnoticed. Danielle recently moved to Austin, TX where she works remote! While enjoying her new city, Danielle is also gearing up for all of our SxSW events! She's meeting with our Austin Laners and figuring out who is the right fit for each gig!!

How long have you been working for the Lane and what has been your favorite ML gig?

I have been with Mustard Lane since August 2008! That feels like forever ago, yet time has flown by. I am the longest term employee besides our CEO, Kristal! As a dancer, some of my favorite ML gigs during all that time have been in the dance field. I once did back-up dancing for a Battle of the Bands. It is always such a rush and great time dancing to live music! Another recurring gig I did with 3 other Laners was a mini flash mob. We worked with a DJ and would pretend to be guests at events. It was always a really fun time making up character backstories on the way. In the middle of the event, the DJ would cue up our songs and we would throw down on the dance floor and do our routine. Since we were only 4 dancers, we didn't feel like we qualified as a mob, so we jokingly rebranded ourselves as the "Flash Crash".

What has your journey with ML been like?

My journey at ML has been incredible! From street teaming to now working internally as a Project Manager, I have done it all. I have learned so much, and have picked up several new skills along the way. I am so thankful to have witnessed this company grow from something small to the beast that it is today. Watching this growth firsthand showed me that success stories do happen, and where hard work can take you. I have seen how hard our CEO Kristal has worked over the years to ensure the success of Mustard Lane. She has surrounded herself with the best team there is, and all that hard work has paid off. It's such an inspiration! As the company has grown, I have met many wonderful new people, and made several great friends that will be friends for life. Some of these friends have even been my roommates in NYC over the years. Quite a few of my college friends work at Mustard Lane as well. It is a blessing to work alongside people you love spending time with so much that they bleed over into your personal life. They make the journey so much better!

If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be and why?

Using one word, I would describe myself as: versatile. Professionally, I enjoy learning how to do new things. I have always worn many hats at all my jobs I have had over the years. I like to know about how all the pieces fit together to make things work. What better way than to learn as many pieces as you can, and then do them to see how they fit together? It also helps make you indispensable. Being versatile has helped me in my dance career as well. I do ballet, tap, modern, jazz, a bit of hip hop, and even know some beginning clogging. I have been lucky enough to perform in many different styles of dance. In addition to performing, I have been a dance captain, rehearsal director, company manager, assistant choreographer, and assisted with production over the years. Versatility can be found in my personal life as well. I am usually up for just about anything. Going out vs staying in, listening to music vs enjoying quiet time, eating at restaurants vs cooking at home, seeing a movie vs reading a book, going hiking vs going to a museum or fancy event- it all sounds good to me! I am almost always willing to go with the flow.

Do you have any side hustles or passion projects outside of the Lane?

As are most Laners, I am in the Performing Arts. I am a dancer currently working with a dance company based in Osaka, Japan called Keiko Fujii Dance Company. The US chapter of the company did a show in NYC shortly before I moved, and it was such a fantastic experience. We have performed in Japan, and I love it there so much, I can't wait to go back. (I need that sushi again!) I'm looking forward to seeing what we do next, and where we will perform next...maybe even in TX?! Throughout my dance career, I have also been a dance teacher, and am looking forward to teaching at new places in Austin and beyond.

What's your highlight of 2019?

2019 was a busy year! Many wonderful things happened professionally and artistically, but the highlight of the year was getting engaged to my fiancé, Jonathan. In an incredibly romantic and sweet gesture, he proposed to me on a Broadway stage after seeing a show on our anniversary! He is my perfect match, and I am ecstatic to spend my life with him. It has been such an adventure moving across the country together to Austin, a new place for both of us, where neither of us know many people. I can't help it, he turns me into a big pile of mush.

What makes you excited/passionate about working at ML?

So many things make me passionate about working at ML, but the people I work with is definitely at the top of the list. I have met countless Laners, and they are good people. So many multi-talented, wonderful people from all over make up this Laner network. The internal team is the greatest as well! A few were my friends before we started working together on the Lane, but the whole team is kind, knowledgeable, and helpful. Everyone was so supportive as I learned the ropes of how things work internally. I am so thankful to everyone for sharing their wisdom and knowledge with me as I diversified and changed my role at Mustard Lane. Thank you so much to Kristal, for being incredibly supportive all these years. #MustardFam

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you live?

This is a difficult question! I have so many places I still need to see and visit. I love busy cities, but also love beaches, mountains, the country, and the woods. The best answer is probably I would have beach home in Bora Bora or The Maldives, a mountain home in Colorado or the like, a country home in the wine country of France, and multiple city pads in NYC and across Europe and Asia. That's reasonable, right?

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Mishawaka, Indiana. It's right next to, but basically a part of South Bend. South Bend is known as the home of Notre Dame University, and more recently, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Starting at the age of 16, I would live in NYC over the summers, and would stay with my older siblings who lived there. I eventually moved to NYC after finishing school.

What are some things you've learned about Austin since you've moved there?

It has been a lot of fun exploring Austin! Here are several fun facts in random order: Austin is a super dog-friendly city. People take their dogs with them everywhere. My fiancé and I will most likely be adopting a dog in the near-ish future! Everyone knows Austin has live music all over, but food trucks are also everywhere. The food truck game here is strong, and I have yet to get something at a food truck that wasn't pretty good. Many bars have a food truck in their backyard or parked nearby. The BBQ and Mexican food here is also fantastic. Even breakfast is commonly served in taco form. Austin houses the largest North American urban bat population. The Mexican Free-Tailed Bats migrate to Austin and stay from late March to early fall under the Congress Avenue Bridge downtown. Locals and tourists alike come together to watch the bats fly at sunset, and by the end of the season can see around 1.5 million bats flying in the sky! Austin is also home to a population of the Monk Parakeet! Someone captured a pair in South America and were taking them somewhere in the 1970s (it's unclear where and why), and during the trip the birds escaped from their RV in Austin. They created a local population that has grown a lot recently since cell phones became widely used. They like to nest in very high places, and they like cell phone towers for that purpose. I actually googled that last weekend because I was shocked when I spotted two decently sized lime green birds fly by while I was on my roof enjoying some beautiful weather. At first I assumed someone's pets escaped!

What are you looking forward to in 2020?

I moved to Austin at the end of 2019, so I am looking forward to doing more exploration in my new city. There is still so much to see! SxSW is around the corner, and I am very excited to experience it for the first time. It will be a busy time here for the Lane, but our team will be enjoying every second. I am also excited to see the Mustard Lane presence grow here in Austin, and see what new opportunities will arise! Outside of the Lane, I also look forward to better acquainting myself with the dance community here, and to eventually getting married to the love of my life! 2020 will be busy. Bring it on!