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25 Things You Didn't Know About: EDT Founding Executive Director, Katie Mann

Updated: Jul 22, 2019

Katie Mann, as you may know, is the founder of Exhalations Dance Theatre. She is the reason that trained dancers in Pittsburgh have an outlet to continue to express the art of dance in professional performances on stage, even if they've chosen non-dance careers.

The moment you meet Katie, see her choreography, or watch her dance on stage, it's immediately clear that she's an excellent dancer, choreographer and perhaps most importantly, a visionary for our company. However, here are 25 fun things you likely do NOT already know about Katie, in her own words!

1. My full-time career is being a clinical pharmacist for a hospital. This pretty much means I dose a lot of IV antibiotics for patients, and try to save the hospital money by reviewing medication costs.

2. My favorite dance movie ever is the original “Step Up”

3. I competed in the Miss America system as a pageant contestant! I won Miss Moraine State which allowed me to participate in Miss Pennsylvania.

4. My dream dinner guest is Oprah! Who wouldn’t want to meet Oprah if given the opportunity?!

5. The stage makeup item I couldn’t live without is Lipsense in blu-red. It is the perfect bright red for stage and doesn’t go anywhere! Especially when changing costumes you don’t have to worry about getting it on anything.

6. My Dad is my role model. He has multiple sclerosis, but still practices medicine every single day as a physician. I admire that he constantly works through his daily challenges while maintaining to help all of his patients.

7. My favorite musician is… TSwift! I admire her so much. Seriously. She is the one celebrity I can think of who can always turn something negative into something positive. Every heartbreak she has turned into millions.

8. The last thing I read was the Warrior Chronicles Series, a fantasy adventure series; but really I’ll read ANYTHING. When left to my own devices with free time (like vacation) I can read 1-2 books per day!

9. I realized I needed to create Exhalations when I was in pharmacy school at Duquesne University and I realized there was no outlet for me to dance. I had a hunch that others missed it as much as I did.

When 50+ individuals showed up at our first audition, I knew I made the right decision and that Exhalations was no longer “mine” but it belonged to all the dancers who needed and loved dance in their lives.

10. The dance apparel item I could never live without is black Nike socks; the men’s athletic ones. They’re perfect for turning!

11. I actually don’t carry a dance bag! I just have the most enormous purse with everything I might need in there.

12. I have a Big Fat Greek family on my Dad’s side. He was born in Greece and in just my generation I have 18 cousins!

13. I’m a total water snob and I only drink Aquafina!

14. A more recent favorite dance I've been in was the Frank Sinatra Suite by our artistic director, Lea Fosbenner. The 50’s costumes paired with the amazing music make it a tough one to beat!

15. My favorite dance fashion trend is things with pretty/intricate backs! Growing up this was leotards, but now that trends have shifted, I love that so many sports bras have pretty backs!

16. I get my choreography inspiration from my music choice; I always choose the music first. From there, I think about what’s important to me and society at that moment and let that drive the movement.

17. My personal mantra is “reframe.” When approaching any problem or negativity, I try to remind myself to reframe the situation which makes them usually easier to tackle, or even gives me the ability to see silver linings.

18. I give myself one mess-up per show. We have to be forgiving of ourselves and realize we’re not perfect!

19. Seeing Hamilton in Chicago is probably my favorite stage production I’ve seen in a long time and will be tough to top!

20. My favorite food in the whole world is lima beans!

21. Every day, I wear a necklace with charms and symbols that represent the nationalities I represent either by birth (Greek Orthodox) or by adoption into the culture by family and friends (my husband is Croation and my best friend is Ukrainian).

22. My favorite vacation memory ever was in 2013, in Croatia, when my husband proposed to me! It was pouring rain under an umbrella in the center of Zagreb and I was completely surprised!

23. I couldn’t go a day without my podcasts! I like being informed, and I need my daily fix of true crime!

24. I LOVE the hip hop genre of dance, but I’m not very good at it! Good thing Exhalations is a contemporary company!

25. My biggest inspiration are the other dancers of Exhalations. Seeing how they are able to create and how much they love what they do inspires me to be better and do better each season.

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