Dance: It’s Everywhere


Dance Throughout the Years

3300 BCE (First Dancing): Earliest records of dance are found in tomb paintings and are thought to have been religious practices. They depicted Egyptian priests using musical instruments and dancers to tell stories about important events, such as the gods or cosmic patterns.

1400 (Ballet): Ballet first began as a graceful dance where the dancers performed in geometric patterns, before director of festivals Baltazar de Beaujoyeulx created the first dramatic ballet in 1581. The first ballet companies were in France, created by King Louis XIV in 1600’s.

1800 (Modern): Modern dance is created by dancers as a rejection to the rules of classical ballet. Dancers performed in free movements, as opposed to the strict technique found in ballet. 

1900 (Jazz): Jazz originated from African dancing, but was transformed into a more theatrical dance. Today, similar to traditional ballets, some companies use jazz dance to depict their stories.

1920 (Tap and Salsa): Salsa is created from a mix of multiple latin dances, concluding in multiple styles of the dance. Tap also originated from African dance, but it was mixed with Irish and jazz dance to create the style we know today. 

1970 (Hip Hop): Hip Hop is originally inspired by African dancing, but it continues throughout New York as a street dance, where DJs find ways to break down the movement and create new movements. 

Day in the life of professional dance teacher and choreographer Katie Taintor

G: What does a day in your life typically look like?

K: Oh, that can change a lot depending on the project. Right now a lot of mornings I wake up and go to yoga, sometimes it’s yoga, sometimes it’s ballet class. I try to keep up with training, when there’s class opportunities for me to take that fit in my schedule. Then I will get on my computer for a bit. Drive to Chaska, get ready for class, teach. If I’m in a rehearsal process I usually try to balance my conflicts between being at the theater and being [at the studio]. Sometimes there’s creative problem solving that needs to happen. So then, maybe before rehearsals, you’re meeting to try to figure out how to change the scene or the choreography… or you’re in a production meeting talking about things like the scenic and design elements for something. Balancing the admin work in between and then teaching at night, usually. 

Katie’s first year of dance (Katie’s parents): Picturing Katie Taintor at one of her first ballet classes. In this photo she is around 4 years old.
Portrait of Katie ( A professional dance photo of Katie Taintor. All credits to
Behind the scenes: This picture is what it looks like backstage before a show. Specifically, Matilda at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. (Katie Taintor)

An Interview with Dancer Katie Taintor

Some of the most important people you will meet in the dance community are the teachers. They have the most important knowledge and skill, but also the most experience. Katie Taintor is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer who embodies all of those traits. Her dance journey began at the Chanhassen Dance and Performing Arts Center and after she graduated high school she went on to get her BFA at the University of Minnesota. “When I was in third grade I was like ‘I wanna be on Broadway,’ that was my dream,” Katie explains. “Then I was in college trying to figure out what I actually wanted to do (for a while I was thinking about movement therapy) and then I think it was a year or two later that I performed in a show (Thoroughly Modern Millie). And I was like, ‘No, I wanna perform and teach and choreograph and work in the arts.’” 

Katie teaches multiple nights a week at River Valley Dance Academy (RVDA) and just one night a week at Hopkins Dance Company. “It’s so fun,” Katie emphasizes. “I leave feeling better than when I came in, energized and happier than when I started. It’s cool to help people achieve things that they didn’t think were possible. I like being creative, I like being silly and it’s cool to get to work with young people that are passionate about the same thing that I am. Opening doors of possibility for people I think is really special.” 

She has also had the opportunity to do performances with Collide Theatrical Dance Company, “[They do] a lot of jazz dance musicals, sort of storytelling through jazz dance, which I really love because that’s one of my favorite things to do. I got to perform in some really beautiful theatrical spaces like the Ritz Theater or the History theater, but then I also got to do this show called Fright Lights at the Mall of America [and] various other kinds of gig work.”

One of her proudest accomplishments has been working with the Children’s Theater Company. “That is a place where I grew up seeing theater… probably the first place I ever saw a play…” Katie remembers. “I’ve gotten to work on a number of shows there. I’m really proud of the choreography that I helped with for Matilda. [Our team was] trying to figure out how to accurately and consistently tip the glass over, and I came up with a solution. They ended up trying it and it worked, which was really cool. Just to be among these really smart, really talented, professional, incredible people and then to be able to share my own ideas and see them work on stage was really cool.” 

She continues to influence the lives of her students, pushing them to places they never thought they would go. “Sometimes it’s really hard,” Katie says. “Nothing about the journey is what you think it will be, but it’s worth it.”


Bibliography and credits (Dance throughout the years):