Daniil Simkin (born 12 October 1987 in Novosibirsk) is a Russian ballet dancer and principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. His parents Dmitrij Simkin and Olga Aleksandrova are also ballet dancers. The family left the Soviet Union in 1990. His parents were engaged to dance in Graz, then took engagements in various cities in Germany before settling in Wiesbaden in 1993, where he spent the rest of his childhood.
Unlike most professional ballet dancers Simkin did not attend a vocational ballet school. He was coached privately by his mother, who became a ballet teacher after retiring from dancing in 1999,
Simkin's first professional position was with the Vienna State Opera Ballet, where he was a demi-soloist from 2006 to 2008. During this time he made his debut in a principal role as a guest with the Lithuanian National Ballet. In 2008 he became a soloist at the American Ballet Theatre in New York, and in 2012 he was promoted to principal dancer. He is a regular on the international ballet gala circuit, and presented his own gala in Athens in 2009 in collaboration with his father, who now works as a choreographer and stage designer.
Simkin is often spoken of as one of the most significant male talents to emerge in ballet in recent years. He is relatively small and lightly built, and of a youthful demeanour, but he is noted for his exceptional jumps, the speed and precision of his pirouettes, and his instinctive communication with the audience.
Simkin has been noted as one of the first ballet dancers to be active in Web 2.0 media such as YouTube and Twitter, and has spoken in interviews about the need for ballet to open up, demystify itself and modernize the way it connects with audiences.