Bonnie Story: Emmy Award Winner and Mother of a Chance to Dance’s Bayli Baker

One of the contestants on A Chance to Dance has some famous family members.

Some of you might remember Kelli Baker from Season Four of So You Think You Can Dance. If you keep up with Emmy winners, the name Bonnie Story might ring a bell.

Well, Bayli Baker is the sister of Kelli and daughter of Bonnie. This family obviously has a lot of talent. Both Kelli and Bayli were dancers in High School Musical. And Bonnie? Well, she won an Emmy for her choreography in High School Musical’s 1, 2, and 3.

Bonnie Story is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and five children. While she is best-known for the incredible dance scenes in the High School Musicals, she has a very impressive resume. In 2002, she was a co-choreographer for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City’s opening and closing ceremonies. I remember being absolutely mesmerized by those performances — my roommate from my freshman year of college was actually in them.

She started out as a dancer before taking on choreography — in fact, she started dancing when she was five years old! She often put together performances at her house and would invite everyone in the whole neighborhood. She definitely started out her career early on in life.

As I mentioned, her most well-known work was done with High School Musicals. Bonnie had worked with Kenny Ortega, the director, during the Olympics, and that’s where they first became acquainted. After that, he asked her to help with the choreography, and it took off from there.

In addition, Bonnie has also done choreography for a variety of television shows, movies, and commercials. She is the Associate Artistic Director of Odyssey Dance Theatre, which is also where Eldon Johnson is an instructor. 

In an interview, Bonnie relays how it felt to win an Emmy:

Receiving an Emmy nomination and then actually going home with one was very surreal. It was amazing! I feel honored to have received one. Every time I look at it, it reminds me of the commitment that was given from everyone. There is never a project where you do it on your own. The concepts, music, direction, art direction, the whole crew (I could go on and on) — without their contribution, the Emmy wouldn’t be there. I am grateful for being able to work on a project that made a huge impact on a lot of kids and adults.

I was excited to learn more about Bonnie, seeing as I was a huge fan of the High School Musical trilogy — in fact, I remember when there was a special on the Disney Channel where they taught how to dance to some of the songs. Even though I was in high school, I totally dance a long (though, I’m glad that it was never recorded).

I’m sure it was an added plus to be able to have both her daughters on set during High School Musical. That must have been a lot of fun, and I’m sure the girls were thrilled to be able to be in that project.

Bayli was unfortunately eliminated from A Chance to Dance. I found that to be a shame, because I really thought she was pretty talented. Even though she didn’t make it here, I won’t be surprised if she becomes a successful dancer. Who knows, maybe she will follow in the footsteps of her mother and become a choreographer. Either way, this family sure is full of talent — and there are three more children in it. I wonder if we’ll see them on any dance shows in the future?