Not bad for a farm girl from FargoAugust 19, 2014
As a young girl growing up on a farm outside of Fargo, ND, I spent many of my days dancing around my living room (listening to Xanadu over and over) and dreaming of becoming a famous actress someday. Thankfully, my parents allowed me to dream and were willing to help me any way possible. They were in business for themselves, so they were not afraid of me trying to be something that can seem unattainable. I began with community theater at the age of 7. “Swiss Family Robinson” was the show, and I played the daughter. While doing the show, the production manager mentioned to my mom that if I wanted to be a “triple threat”, I’d need to start taking dance classes. Thankfully, he knew of just the people. A couple from NYC had recently moved to raise their family in Fargo, and teach at one of the local universities. I signed up for Jazz Dance and thus began my path to becoming the actress and performer I wanted to be.
The couple, Kathy and Eddie Gasper, had had the life that I wanted to live – movies, Broadway, ballet companies, musical theater, everything I wanted to be a part of. Eddie had been Bob Fosse’s assistant on Broadway for many years and now here I was learning the original choreography from “Sweet Charity”! When we did “A Chorus Line”, Kathy called Michael Bennett to get the original Broadway choreography. What a gift!
My whole life was up at the dance studio. I went to middle school and high school because I had to. Not that I didn’t plan on going to college, that was always a given, but rather nothing in high school interested me. My days and nights were all spent up at the dance studio. My mom would drop me off right after school, I’d assist one of Kathy or Eddie’s classes, I’d do homework, have some dinner from the restaurant down the street, take a dance class or two, and then rehearse for whatever show we had coming up until about 11 pm every night. The studio was my home and my family. The friendship that I share with the dancers continues to this day.
Kathy and Eddie taught me how to perform. They tapped the desire inside of me and let it grow. In the summers, they would teach at an arts park in Fargo, of which I was a part of every year until high school graduation.
The mornings began at 8 am, the day was filled with dance classes, voice lessons, acting lessons, stagecraft, and then rehearsal for the big summer production. This was every day of my summer, starting at 11 years old, and continuing until I graduated high school. I always wanted to be a performer and I can’t even imagine where I’d be were it not for Kathy and Eddie. Unless you’ve been a part of a theater company, it’s hard to explain what it’s like. It’s a family. You do everything together. We toured the US, we performed in Russia together, we would hang out at the studio and just dance – long after rehearsal was done. When I got married, my first dance was with my husband, the second with my dad, and the third with my “second dad”, Eddie. Eddie and I danced like Fred and Ginger at my wedding – him in his 70’s, whipping me around like it was nothing. The memory of him and I dancing is something I’ll remember forever and always cherish.
I attended Emerson College in Boston and then moved out to LA to pursue acting. I am so thankful that my parents never said I was crazy for wanting to pursue an acting career, and fostered it every step of the way. Being an actor is always a struggle. But, Kathy and Eddie instilled a work ethic in me that I am grateful for. Even when I was waiting tables, I was the hardest working waitress there! I give 100% because of them, and I’m no stranger to hard work. Well, let’s be honest, them and the fact that I grew up on a farm and had to do chores my kids couldn’t even conceive of. I want my kids to find that thing they love and throw themselves into it. I knew I wanted to be an actor and performer from the time I was 4 years old. My parents found a way to get me out there and get the classes I needed. Kathy and Eddie shaped who I am as a performer and for that, I am eternally grateful. I feel I’ve had a pretty amazing life and career – not bad for a farm girl from Fargo, ND.
Rachel Quaintance was born in Moorhead, Minnesota. She is an actress, known for Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010), Camp Takota (2014) and High School (2010). She has been married to John Quaintance since 1997. They have two children. Check out her full bio on IMDB.