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One dancer's journey to becoming a doctor

Danielle dancingAs far back as she can remember, Danielle Burton always knew that she was going to be a ballerina. After dancing since age 3, her plans to become a professional ballerina straight out of high school were dashed when she sustained a stress fracture in her foot her senior year.

Danielle instead attended Smith College, where she double majored in dance and chemistry. Upon graduation, she realized her dreams as a professional dancer with American Midwest Ballet. During that time, she began teaching dance as well. But upon seeing her students struggle with illness and injury, Burton began to wish she could do more to help and care for these children. 

After three years as a professional ballerina, Danielle's heart was telling her it was time for a change. With the goal of helping young dancers overcome physical and Danielle Burton headshotmental health concerns, she did a complete 180 and went back to school – medical school. Upon graduation from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 2019, Danielle was accepted into the Triple Board (Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry) residency program at Tufts Medical Center. 

“My years as a dancer have helped me more than anything else in my new career,” she said. “Dancing taught me the importance of hard work and teamwork, discipline and empathy, and provided me real life experience in facing and overcoming adversity – all things that have served me well in my training to become a physician.” 

Today, Danielle has found a new way to intertwine her two passions, collaborating with American Midwest Ballet on a video project on life in a hospital during the pandemic, and using dance to provide hope to keep people going through challenging times. The video is set to premier in July 2021. She is living proof that you can never take the dance out of the doctor.