Ekaterina (or Katya) Winkeler was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. As a child, she trained for competitive figure skating, which in those years meant much formal training in classical ballet and dance. Later, she studied ballroom dancing, which in the Soviet Union consisted of three ballroom dance categories: the Standard Dances, the Latin Dances, and the Soviet Dances. These were formal, stylized versions of traditional Slavic and Baltic folk dances.
Recently, Katya has continued her passion for dance by studying Salsa under Alvaro Gomez, one of the early pioneers of Salsa on the world stage. She has taken master classes from Vasiliy Kleymenov (Василий Клеймёнов), Art Director and Choreographer of the Moscow Flamenco Theater. She has also studied Hawaiian Hula dance and African folk dances.
Katya has a lifelong passion for folk dances of different cultures with an emphasis on the traditions of European countries such as Italy, Greece, Poland, Ukraine and Russia. She has taught international folk dance and choreographed Russian musicals at the Russian Language School in Austin.
She now works as a Salsa Dance instructor, a folk dance instructor and choreographer, and a licensed Zumba, Zumba Gold, and ZumbAtomic instructor.