Karissa Royster is an LA-based performer, choreographer, and educator specializing in tap dance. Originally from San Antonio, Karissa is a graduate of NYU, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and was a Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar. Through her passion for carrying on the beautiful tradition of tap dance, she combines her knowledge of history and more than twenty years of training to equip her students with exceptional technique, musicality, and the ability to develop their own unique voice. Karissa enjoys connecting with students of all ages and dance backgrounds through her workshops at various institutions across the United States including UCLA, NYU, and as a guest at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Currently she is on faculty at Adrenaline Dance Convention.
While living in NYC, Karissa had the opportunity to perform as part of Dormeshia’s “Sophisticated Ladies” at the historic Cotton Club and also appeared with Emmy Award winner Jason Samuels Smith’s A.C.G.I. In April 2016, she made her Broadway debut as the Dance Captain and as a member of the dance ensemble in Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 & All That Followed, choreographed by Savion Glover and directed by George C. Wolfe. Karissa also performed in ABC’s “Taking the Stage: Changing America”, produced by Quincy Jones and in celebration of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History. She was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2016.
An open mind, curious nature, and a love for making music is the best toolbox to have for classes with Karissa. She encourages you to illustrate rhythm in a way that feels natural to your individual body while still maintaining precision and cleanliness in sound. For Karissa, sound is of utmost importance and it is through the grooves you create with your feet that the rest of your body is motivated to paint images. Karissa’s goals for your experience in class are to stretch how you hear, to equip you with the technique to uniquely express your musical voice, and to inspire you to keep your feet moving.