Karissa Royster is a performer, choreographer, and educator specializing in tap dance. Originally from San Antonio, Karissa is a graduate of NYU with a BA in History and recently received a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.
Her formation as an artist and practitioner began under the tutelage of Barbara Phillips and Third Coast Rhythm Project. While continuing her studies in NYC, Karissa had the opportunity to perform as part of Dormeshia’s “Sophisticated Ladies” at the historic Cotton Club. She also appeared with Jason Samuels Smith’s A.C.G.I. at Brooklyn Dance Festival. Karissa credits these experiences, in addition to the knowledge she gained while taking class from Derick Grant and Marshall Davis, Jr., as fundamental to shaping her identity in this form.
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 performed at the 70th Annual Tony Awards with the company of Shuffle Along, nominated for Best Musical and Best Choreography, as well as on ABC’s broadcast of “Taking the Stage: Changing America”, in which she had the honor of performing with Savion Glover and fellow cast members for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. She was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2016.
Karissa teaches workshops at various institutions across the United States and is passionate about preserving and sharing the beautiful tradition of tap dance, as well as exploring its roots in American history & vernacular music.
Terrence" Taps" Bennett
Terrence "Taps" began studying the art of tap dancing at the age of nineteen at Norma’s Academy. Within a year he moved from the Adult Beginner’s Class to the Advanced Level. Within two years he began performing with the Senior Company. He is available for private tap lessons as well as guest teaching opportunities. He even offers innovative online tap dance lessons & tap dance music recommendations!
Terrence's style relies on improvised steps that contain complex rhythmic and musical expressions. Students learn to utilize every part of the tap shoe to express their creativity. The focus of each class is on getting students to complete tap combinations with speed, clarity, style, and ease. Eventually, many students develop the ability to improvise their own solos in addition to strengthening their own skill at producing choreography.
In addition to teaching, Terrence has accumulated extensive performance experience. He has worked as a regularly featured performer in Atlanta restaurants & clubs, where he stunned audiences each week with improvised solo performances. He has also performed well over 500 shows as part of the dynamic tap dancing duo known as "Tip Tap Two", on top of hundreds of solo performances in Texas libraries and schools. He was even called upon to perform for special events such as the Caribbean International Literary Festival in Antigua, the National Association of Energy Distributors Trade Show , & at the Sphatika Corporate Launch Party in the world famous "Rainbow Room" atop 30 Rockefeller Center.