Katie Elster was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA her whole life and has always had a passion for the performing arts. She began her dance training at the age of four at Santa Barbara Festival Ballet, learning Classical Ballet and Modern Dance, under the direction of Denise Rinaldi, and with instructors Michele Pearson, Emmy Lou Crawford and Christina McCarthy. While attending SBFB she performed in The Nutcracker for ten years, and in her last season participated in a very special production of Don Quixote. She quickly added Jazz to her dance repertoire and began taking classes under Steven Lovelace at Santa Barbara Dance Arts (formerly known as Santa Barbara Jazz Dance Academy). From there, Katie continued her dance education, taking a variety of Hip Hop classes with Tamarr Paul at Rhythm Dance and Fitness, and immediately became a member of the infamous Rhythm Street Crew, which she participated in for two years. While attending Santa Barbara City College, Katie played an active, vital role in the Dance Department and, under the training and guidance of SBCC Dance Director, Tracy Kofford, she spent five semesters continuing to pursue styles of dance such as Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Contemporary, Broadway Jazz and Hip Hop. She became one of the first dance students selected to have their choreography featured in the SBCC Dance Collective showcases in April 2013 and 2014.
After graduating from SBCC with two AA Degrees in Liberal Studies (one in Arts & Humanities and the other in Social & Behavioral Sciences), Katie transferred to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where she was accepted into their prestigious and highly competitive School of Film and Television. She majored in Screenwriting and minored in Theater Arts and after graduating in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, Katie’s very first television script she wrote for an original series titled CROSSBONES was nominated for Best Undergraduate TV Pilot/Teleplay at LMU’s Film Outside the Frame Awards in September 2016. With this added excitement and yearning to write, Katie worked as a Trainee in the Development/Creative Production department of Columbia Pictures within Sony Pictures Entertainment, and pursued a career in becoming a screenwriter in the film and television industry.
After a year, she made the decision to move back home to Santa Barbara to focus on her other passion, which is working with children and becoming a teacher. During her first year back in SB, she became a Lead Teacher and Assistant Dance Director at My Gym Santa Barbara, where she joined forces with Director Charles Fossett-Lee in being part of her fourth My Gym Dance Showcase as a guest performer, but her first as a Creative Director and Assistant Choreographer.
Katie is happy to be back in Santa Barbara and is excited to be joining Betsy and the Momentum Dance Company family in order to continue to share her love of dancing, performing and working with children of all ages. She has found her niche in styles such as Stylized & Broadway Jazz, Street Hip Hop, and character driven Contemporary. Katie finds comfort in being unique and different with her performance style and “beautifully dark” choreography and takes pride in her ability to tell a story with her body using intense characterization and quirky movements. She strives to continue combining her passions for dance, performance, writing, acting and teaching and push children and young adults of all ages to be unafraid to be themselves. You can often find her writing in coffee shops around town, so if you see her, be sure to say hello and chat with her about dance and the film industry! She’s very bubbly and sweet and excited to meet everyone!