Ms. Katie Gunderson Joins Dance Department

Ms. Katie Gunderson Joins Dance Department

By Risha Sur, Marketing Director

Ms. Katie Gunderson is the newest addition to the dance staff. She has vast knowledge in many dance forms and currently teaches Ballet, Jazz, Dance 2, Advanced Dance 1, as well as assisting with Warrior Pride. Although her career revolves around dance now, Ms. Gunderson’s passion for dance didn’t start until her teenage years.

“I started dancing when I was in high school, and I just joined drill team because all my friends were in it. It turned out that I actually loved it and that I loved dance, so that’s where I got started,” Ms. Gunderson said.

Ms. Gunderson further pursued her love for dance in college. Through the course of her college career, she had to make some important decisions which have benefited her career.

“When I went to UT as a dance major, I had a family situation come up where I realized I needed to have a stable career, so I added on with a program called Dance Studies, which is a dance education program,” Ms. Gunderson said. “I decided I need to make a solid career move and have a plan, and that’s where I fell in love with it. I didn’t know I loved teaching until I took that program.”

Before joining Westwood, Ms. Gunderson had a lot of experience through teaching dance to children at different levels. She taught around the country at different companies and schools, including Dance Associates Austin, Polaris Dance Theater, and Ballet Austin.  

“I also student taught here with Mrs. Valk, and then I was a long-term substitute,” Ms. Gunderson said. “I knew most of the kids, and I loved the whole community here. The way that Westwood thinks about art is really supportive.”

Ms. Gunderson hopes for her students to learn a lot about dance and about themselves by the end of the year.

“I have many different types of goals for them, like movement goals, but more important than movement goals for me is personal goals. I want them to feel confident and comfortable moving, and I want them to get to know their own artistic voice,” Ms. Gunderson said.

Even in the few weeks that school has started, Ms. Gunderson has received a warm welcome from both teachers and students.

“I love it here,” Ms. Gunderson said. “The community is really great and everyone is really supportive here. Especially the first few weeks all the new teachers were here together, the staff is really helpful and the students are great. It really is a dream.”