Katie Parr Smith

Artistic Director

Born in Ohio and raised in East Texas, Katie began taking ballet at age five with Maryse Gobel.  Eventually she danced lead roles such as “Aurora,” “Cinderella” and “Swanhilda” in the annual ballet recitals.  During her junior year in high school she moved away to study with the Chamberlain School of Ballet (Plano) and then to the University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio) for her senior year.  She also attended Joffrey and Houston Ballet summer workshops during this time.

From 1999-2001 Katie studied in New York City with many teachers including David Howard and Trinette Singleton at the Joffrey Ballet School/New School University BFA program.  She performed as a featured soloist in “Corelli Variations,” “Jardin Animé” and “Viva Vivaldi.”  In 2001 she was chosen by David Howard to appear on the January cover of Dance Teacher Magazine and as one of four demonstration dancers in his ballet class teaching video.

Katie danced professionally with the Minnesota ballet from 2001-2005.  She performed major classical roles in Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Cinderella and Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie, and also danced in other modern, theatrical and jazz style performances.

After developing arthritis from a sustained injury, she retired from professional ballet and eventually found a new career in ballroom dancing/teaching.  In the first held “Dancing with the Austin Stars” fundraiser in 2007, Katie and her ballroom student Bill Jones, won first place performing a paso doble/salsa routine.  Click to watch:

Dancing with the Austin Stars 2007

Katie took over for her former teacher, Maryse Gobel, as Director of the Gobel School of Dance (GSD) in 2008.

In 2012, Katie was invited to be a counselor at the Joffrey San Antonio summer intensive. She was then asked to perform in Trinette Singleton’s new work, “Opus Elvis,” as well as the pas de trois from “Le Corsaire” in the workshop’s final performance.

Katie co-founded Dimensions Contemporary Ballet (DCB) with GSD instructor and SFA Dance Director, Heather Samuelson. DCB made their debut in May 2015 and has since performed at many venues including the Houston Fringe Festival and the Sam Houston Alumni Show.

Katie is currently living in Austin but will remain GSD Artistic Director. She is excited to announce that Kelly Young is GSD’s new business manager, and that there are wonderful new instructors joining GSD’s teaching staff this year. Katie is pleased that these wonderful people are helping her continue to bring quality dance instruction to the Nacogdoches community.