Photographed for Dance Magazine by Jayme Thornton

Kaitlyn Gilliland has become one of the most sought after freelance dancers in New York City.


Kaitlyn’s journey in Ballet began before birth.  She was born into a most prestigious legacy of ballerinas.  Her grandmother is renowned choreographer and founder of Minnesota Dance Theater and  and “Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy” which just celebrated its 50th anniversary and is Minnesota’s longest running Nutcracker.  Kaitlyn’s mother, Lise Houlton danced with American Ballet Theater and Stuttgart Ballet and took over the leadership of MDT in 1995.   Kaitlyn began her training at the Minnesota Dance Theatre before moving to New York at age 16 to train with the School of American Ballet. She attended full-time for one year and in 2004 received the school’s Mae L. Wien Award for outstanding promise. From 2006 to 2011, Ms. Gilliland danced with the New York City Ballet, performing corps, soloist, and principal roles.

Kaitlyn with her mom, Lise Houton and grandmother, Loyce Houlton

Kaitlyn with her mom, Lise Houton and grandmother, Loyce Houlton Photo, Star Tribune

Due to an injury, Kaitlyn retired from NYCB in 2011 and pursuing an equally grueling goal as a pre-med student at Columbia University.  Today, she is a graduating senior with a degree in psychology.  Along her academic journey, Katilyn re-discovered her passion for dance when she was coaxed into the studio by then budding choreographer Emery LeCrone (also a previous Balancing Pointe guest).  After this Kaitlyn began working with the  Columbia Ballet Collaborative.  Since that moment, Kaitlyn’s renewed dance career is skyrocketing.

In fact, Kaitlyn is becoming an icon for freelance dancers worldwide as she is not only making a name for herself; but she is purposefully designing her path along the way ~ a feat few dancers are able to accomplish.

Since returning to her passion, Kaitlyn has not only danced on stage and on film with BalletNext, BalletCollective, Ballet Tech, Emery LeCrone Dance, Intermezzo Dance Company, Minnesota Dance Theatre, New Chamber Ballet, Pontus Lidberg Dance, Trainor Dance, and Twyla Tharp Dance, performing work by Charles Askegard, Constantine Baecher, Mauro Bigonzetti, Gemma Bond, Marcelo Gomes, Adam Hendrickson, Gabrielle Lamb, Pontus Lidberg, Brian Reeder, Jillian Pena, Troy Schumacher, Twyla Tharp, and Michele Wiles, among others.  Kaitlyn also continues to inspire the next generation of dancers as she is on the teaching faculty of The School of American Ballet (SAB).

Kaitlyn is not only humble and kind, but extremely insightful in the most extraordinary ways.


With Michele Wiles in Brian Reeder’s Surmisable Units. Photo by Stephanie Berger; Courtesy BalletNext.

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Gilliland with Rina Barrantes in Intermezzo’s Verdi String Quartet, section choreographed by Marcelo Gomes. Photo by Sarah Sterner, Courtesy Intermezzo Dance Company.


Photo: Richard Curtis

Photo: Richard Curtis















Kaitlyn’s website

NY Times Article

Dance Magazine – “Why I Dance” written by Kaitlyn Gilliland

Meet the Artist interview with Kaitlyn on Ballet Collective blogspot

Dance Magazine “On Her Own” by, Joseph Camron