Part of what makes concerts so fun is that it turns music from something we listen to into a whole experience full of stunning visuals, immersive sets, and incredible choreography that we try to teach ourselves once we get back home (we might fail miserably, but that’s beside the point). From the performers to the crew, there’s so much involved from start to finish with a tour. And dancers like Katee Shean are a big part of the magic!
Katee has participated in everything from So You Think You Can Dance to Taylor Swift’s Red Tour, as well as pursuing acting, so you already know there’s no limit to the heights she can go. We recently got to ask Katee all about working with Taylor, acting as a mentor to the next generation dancers, and more! So check out some of Katee’s standout dance moments below and keep reading to learn more about her work and mind-blowing career.
This interview is part of our Flashbacks & Echoes series, which celebrates the artists, performers, and creatives involved with Taylor Swift’s 2012 Red album! See more posts from the series here.
What do you most remember about the Red Tour?
Oh man, I remember so many moments and experiences being on the Red Tour. It’s honestly one of those things where in the moment I knew how exciting it felt to be a part of, but the more time that goes by, the more I appreciate just how big of an opportunity it was and all that we got to experience. One of my favorite memories was being in New Zealand (the arena was HUGEEE) and Taylor had asked everyone to put a light on if they had a phone. The whole arena lit up in the dark with white lights, and I just remember thinking how beautiful it was to look at and how special those moments were with so many people together cheering and singing.
Were there certain moments of the show that particularly stood out to you?
I think Taylor put on a VERY entertaining show from beginning to end. The backdrops, graphics, and size of the stage alone were impressive. The beginning of the show was always one of my favorite moments. We had a track that played before the show started and you could always feel the audience’s anticipation and excitement as soon as it cut to a blackout and the RED logo appeared on stage. The second Taylor made her reveal and came on stage, the crowd was always SO loud and it hyped all the dancers up knowing we were going to have a great show.
Which song was your favorite to perform and why? Is that song your
favorite song from Red?
I personally loved ’22.’ Our choreographer, Tyce Diorio, is one the best choreographers I know, and he just made all the movement really fun and specific for each dance of hers. He’s so smart with choreography and being able to fill a stage up with movement. During ’22,’ we also got to dance in the audience, which was neat to be able to see the crowd up close. I think my favorite song that she would sing was ‘All Too Well.’ She sang it during a wardrobe change for all the girls, but you can bet that we were belting it underneath the stage.
What was it like to meet Taylor for the first time?
She was very kind to all of us, and I think we all knew instantly that this was not just any tour. We were going to travel across the states and internationally and be able to perform with one of the most popular artists of our time. I still have our cast photo that she framed for all of us to keep, and I will hold on to that forever!
What was your favorite costume you got to wear during the show?
My favorite costumes were the ones we wore for ‘Love Story.’ We looked like wind-up dolls with a lock and key attached to us. They were beautiful and enchanting.
Were there any challenges you faced on the tour, whether it was something like a hard dance move or feeling homesick?
The physical wear and tear on your body is always difficult when you’re
performing multiple shows in a row, and I definitely missed my two little puppies!!!
It’s no secret that Taylor has some of the most devoted fans out there – what was it like to see how excited the crowds were at each show?
By far, one of the coolest things about being on tour was seeing Taylor and her fans. Her fans were SO LOUD every show, knew all the words, and were so happy to see her all the time. Even when we would land at airports, fans would already be outside lined up just to see her. It’s one of my personal goals to be able to impact and make a difference to other people and it was incredible to witness what a positive impact she has on so many.
A few years before you joined the Red Tour, you were a standout contestant on So You Think You Can Dance! Is there anything you learned on the show that has stuck with you throughout your career?
Yes! So You Think You Can Dance was such a whirlwind experience and I had to learn so much choreography in such a short period of time, not to mention it being live television! I think one of my main takeaways was how flexible you need to be with last-minute changes and still be able to look confident while performing. You have to be a professional and not be frazzled by changes or choreography adjustments even right before the show, and go on stage and nail it.
I have also always been taught to work hard and have a positive work ethic, but being a part of a show like SYTYCD or Taylor’s tour were great examples of how every person involved is important, and that the show isn’t going to work without the crew. Being respectful and kind to EVERY person on the crew and team is something that I really try to instill in the younger dancers. As much as we as performers love the spotlight, I feel it’s important, even from a young age, to be aware that the show would be non-existent without all the help and work from so many others who are not on stage.
In addition to being a dancer yourself, you now also teach dance to young students in the U.S. and Canada! What’s your favorite part about working with the next generation of dancers?
I love working with the next generation of dancers! I had very memorable teachers, for better or worse, as I was growing up. Some who told me I was never going to dance professionally, and should find something else to do with my life… some who very much believed in me and pushed me to be better… and some whose impact I know shaped me into the dancer that I became. It warms my heart to be able to be a positive influence on the up-and-coming dancers, because I know how much they love it and how exciting/scary the dance world can be. I know four-year-old Katee just wanted to perform and be on stage, and loved dancing so much. It truly means a lot to me to now be able to share some insight that I’ve gotten over my career in hopes to help make all their dancer dreams come true, too.
Tell us what you’ve been up to more recently!
I am still judging dance competitions and teaching master classes whenever I can, but over the last few years, I have actually been working as an actor. It’s always been a passion of mine and I have been really fortunate to train with wonderful teachers here in Los Angeles. It’s given me another fun creative outlet to express myself. I have also recently begun teaching after school theatre programs as well as acting classes for kids.
Is there anything else about working with Taylor/the Red Tour you’d like to mention that the questions didn’t touch on?
We got to travel SO much! This was one of the best things about being on tour with an artist like Taylor, and it allowed me to quite literally check things off my bucket list. We would perform a show in one country and then get on a plane and wake up in a different country to do it all over again. We got to experience so many amazing places: London, Shanghai, New Zealand, all over Asia and Australia, Germany, and more. On our off days abroad, as tired as we were, we would always try to venture out and do something fun. We got to see kangaroos in Australia, bungee jump off a bridge in New Zealand, walk across Shibuya Crossing in Japan, and just witness so many different cultures. It is a time in my life I will never forget and I am so happy that so many of my own friends and family got to come see this incredible show that I got to be a part of.
We don’t know about you, but we had a ton of fun getting to ask Katee Shean about her work! Thank you so much to Katee for sharing your time with us and giving us so much cool info about some of our all-time favorite performances.
Now we wanna hear from you! What’s your favorite project Katee has worked on? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! And for more exclusive interviews, click here.