Karla Etienne, of Haitian origin, began her dance training in modern dance. She studied African dance for four years starting in 1991 under the dancer and acrobat Oumar N'Diaye of the Grands Ballet of Guinea. Subsequently she studied under Zab Maboungou of the dance company Nyata Nyata and trained with members of the group Fakhass Sico from the Ballet of Senegal. Since 1996 she has performed regularly with the group Takadja. She danced with Yoro Sou from 1998 to 2000.