Up-and-coming actress Kaitlyn Jenkins stars in the hit ABC Family series Bunheads, about a ballet school in Southern California run by an ex-Las Vegas showgirl. Kaitlyn plays Boo Jordan, one of the students at the school, and it sounds like the part is a perfect fit – in real life the 20-year-old has been dancing since she was three and has trained with some of the biggest ballet companies in the world like ABT in New York City and Boston Ballet.
Kaitlyn talked exclusively with Celebrity Teen Scoop about how her casting on Bunheads came about and gives us more background on her wide-eyed character Boo. She also gives us a sneak peek into the upcoming season of the show – sounds like there’ll be lots of drama on the dance studio floor!
Celebrity Teen Scoop: Tell us what the show is about.
Kaitlyn: Bunheads tells the story of Michelle Simms (Sutton Foster), a former ballet dancer turned Las Vegas show girl, that becomes disillusioned with her life, suddenly marries, and finds herself living in a sleepy coastal town in California called Paradise. She
begins teaching in her new mother-in-laws ballet school and takes on a role as mentor to four of the ballet students.
CTS: Give us some background on your character, Boo Jordan.
Kaitlyn: Bettina “Boo” Jordan is a sweet, lovable, friendly, loyal, and somewhat innocent
sixteen year old girl. She carries the weight of the world on her shoulders but still
manages to do it with a smile on her face. Boo tries to maintain a positive outlook on
life and her prospects of becoming a dancer, even though she does not possess the
traditional ballet body.
CTS: How are you similar/different from Boo?
Kaitlyn: Growing up, especially in my teen years, I was very much like Boo. Like her, I
was uncertain of my future in ballet but I didn’t want to give up just because I was shaped different than most ballerinas. Boo and I also share the same passion for dance and are determined to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. We cherish our friendships and look for the best in people. The producer/creator of Bunheads Amy Sherman Palladino once said, “Kaitlyn isn’t Boo-like, she is Boo!”
CTS: How did your casting in the show come about?
Kaitlyn: My mom actually saw an audition notice on a casting website for Bunheads and
seeing how perfect the role was for me, immediately called my agent and manager who had already submitted me for the role. There was an initial audition and four more call
backs. The first audition I had to read two scenes and do a ballet variation in this tiny
carpeted casting office, then there was the callback with Amy, a chemistry read with the
other actors, a final dance audition and a screen test in front of producers!
CTS: Tell us a little bit about your dance training.
Kaitlyn: I started dancing when I was three years old at a commercial/competition dance
studio near Los Angeles where my mom taught ballet. I trained there for nine years and
studied all forms of dance including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, and even acrobatics.
At the age of twelve, with ballet as my first love, I decided it was time to switch to a
career track school where I could focus all my attention on my ballet training. I began
studying full time at the Anaheim Ballet where I got the opportunity to perform in many
full length ballets such as The Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland, Hans Christian
Anderson, Midsummers Night Dream, among others. I also began competing in the
prestigious ballet competition, Youth America Grand Prix, and placed in the top twelve
for my classical and contemporary variations.
I also spent many summers at intensive ballet programs with ABT in NYC, Boston Ballet, Kaatsbaan, Jillana School, and Anaheim Ballet. I still take classes as much as possible, because it is important, especially when we are filming, to keep my technique strong.
CTS: Is your role on Bunheads your first onscreen as a dancer? What other roles have you had?
Kaitlyn: Yes, Bunheads is the first television appearance I’ve had as a dancer or an
actress. However, I did appear in a few YouTube podcasts as part of the Anaheim Ballet’s, More Than Dance series, which is well known in the dance world and has viewers worldwide.
CTS: Are you going to continue to pursue acting?
Kaitlyn: I am and always will continue to pursue acting, no matter what happens! It is my
passion and I hope to be fortunate enough to spend the rest of my life doing what I love. I find auditioning exciting and would love to have a chance someday to be in a dramatic period film or an adventurous action film!
CTS: Who are some of your favorite dancers?
Kaitlyn: My favorite female dancer is Diana Vishneva. I have had the privilege of seeing
her perform many times and I admire her commanding artistry and flawless technique. I
even got to be onstage with her when I was fourteen and did a child’s role in Sleeping Beauty when the Kirov Ballet was on tour in Los Angeles!
Desmond Richardson is my favorite male dancer. I took a class from him a
couple of years ago and I loved the way he moved and reached through every moment
of the music. He is a great athlete, technician, and artist rolled into one!
CTS: What do you like to do when youre not on set?
Kaitlyn: I absolutely LOVE to dance, act, and sing when I’m not on set… really! It’s just
what I do! I’m always trying to better myself, there’s always so much I want to do to reach my goals and grow as an artist. It takes years to get where you want to go and the rest of your life just to maintain it! But, I guess you might also find me at the beach, shopping, or playing with my animals. They are my pride and joy!
CTS: Can you give me a sneak peek at what is coming up in the next season of
Kaitlyn: We start off with Michelle back in Las Vegas facing the aftermath of the Nutcracker macing. Back in Paradise, Fanny has temporarily closed the studio and the girls are dealing with their own family dramas. As the season moves forward we get to see Boo and Carl’s relationship develop as they meet each others’ parents for the first time and Sasha learns to grow up fast when she is faced with a life changing ultimatum. Ginny is busy dealing with her half crazed mom, taking on a lot of adult responsibilities and Melanie finds a new outlet for her unexplained bursts of anger. Then there are two new kids in town that start to shake up the bunheads world. You will need to tune in to find out how it all turns out!