Darnell Pierre Benjamin has been a professional actor, dancer, director, choreographer, and educator for about 15 years. Beginning with dance, Darnell started exploring the world of ballet. That eventually led him to study modern, ballroom, jazz, tap, and hip hop.
Darnell attended University of Louisiana at Lafayette and earned a BFA in Performing Arts, since his credits bounced back and forth between theatre and dance. At this time, he mainly studied the Stanislavsky, Alexander, and Laban Techniques in theatre; and he studied Modern, Tap, Ballroom, and Jazz in dance. Following undergrad, Darnell attended University of Houston, and earned his MFA in Classical Theatre Performance, with an emphasis in Shakespeare. There, Darnell studied the Tadashi Suzuki, Viewpoints, Brechtian, Stanislavsky, Laban, and Lecoq Techniques. It was also there that he honed in on his personal connection with the Michael Chekhov Technique. Currently, he's working on his certification in the Michael Chekhov Technique, as he primarily uses it in his teaching and personal development as a performer.
After landing in Cincinnati in 2009, Darnell has become an Associate Artist and Resident Ensemble Member with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. There, he works as an actor, choreographer, and director in the season's offerings. He's also become the co-producer of a successful, annual cabaret that gives all of its donations to local, deserving LGBTQ organizations. In addition, Darnell regularly works as a proud Actor's Equity Association performer and choreographer in Cincinnati's arts scene at places like Ensemble Theatre, Know Theatre, and The Carnegie Performing Arts Center.
For eight years, Darnell has led students at Seven Hills Middle School by understanding Shakespeare from the actor's perspective over a two-month residency. He has also been working with local dance group, Pones, as both an educator and board member, where he leads students of all ages through different dance styles and understanding the history of how certain dances came to be; he's been doing this since 2011. Darnell has taught at College-Conservatory of Music, at University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, and University of Houston. Currently, Darnell is working at Northern Kentucky University and College-Conservatory of Music.
Darnell is also the director and choreographer of the "Interactive Operatic Radical Dance Film," 13th & Republic, which takes learnings from the 2001 Cincinnati Riots and puts it in the context of looking at police brutality as a direct link to mental health challenges in the Black community.