Dani Cunning was born and raised in Alexandria, VA. Originally a flute player, she joined her high school's indoor drumline in 2006, where they went on to win a WGI Bronze Medal in Percussion Scholastic A class. She continued her career as a cymbal player with the George Mason University indoor drumline from 2009 to 2012, where she was the cymbal line section leader as well as a founding member. She was a member of the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps cymbal line from 2011 to 2012, aging out in 2012 as the cymbal section leader. She was the recipient of an I&E gold medal in 2012, as well as Veteran Member of the Year award. In 2013, Dani joined the Gateway Percussion cymbal line, where she aged out in 2014 as the cymbal line section leader.