Karina Thendean (’23) dances pre-professional with the Boston Ballet


Carol Xu, Karina Thendean

Karina Thendean (’23) has been dancing ballet since three years old, and now aspires to go professional.

Karina Thendean (‘23), a former AVHS student, has just finished her first semester as a junior at Boston Pre Pro, a school partnered with Boston Ballet, known all over the country as a prestigious and internationally acclaimed ballet school.

Thendean’s love of ballet started when she was three years old at the San Francisco School of Dance. It was love at first sight – she never enjoyed any other form of dance. Her efforts expressed her great love for ballet. 

“My mom was the first one who told me I should do this… even if I didn’t become a professional it was going to be good for me. Everyone does dance when they’re little, but I just really liked it so I continued,” said Thendean

Until freshman year, Thendean never thought about pursuing ballet professionally. Even though she loved to dance and everyone who knew her could tell ballet was a part of who she was, Thendean never considered it as a career until she was finishing her freshman year at Amador. 

“During quarantine I had a lot more time to think about it. I saw people my age either quitting ballet or going to professional programs and pursuing dancing, so I thought, this is the time to sort of think about it and what I want to do,” said Thendean

Afterwards, Thendean’s ballet teacher approached her with an opportunity: audition for a ballet program in Boston. After a competitive audition process, Thendean was accepted into the program, and moved to Boston to pursue her dream career. 

“I don’t know why my teacher chose to recommend me out of all my classmates. I know I felt really happy and accomplished when I got in, and grateful to my teacher for believing in me,” said Thendean

Thendean went from dancing 12 hours a week and attending a regular high school to practicing 18-20 hours a week at a school that had only three classes a semester. 

“It is pretty competitive, but I like that everyone is focused on what they want and not on other people. They’re just looking towards their goals and what they want to achieve,” said Thendean

Although Thendean misses her friends and fondly remembers her time at Amador, she is excited for the future and believes her new school is the better choice for her career aspirations. 

“When Karina told me she was going to move I was sad, because my friend was going to be across the country, but I was happy for her because she has done ballet for a long time. I knew she would be doing great things with her life. I could tell that ballet was her passion,” said Shreya Modak (‘23), Thendean’s friend since elementary school. 

Modak and Thendean’s other friends love to see her progress through her Instagram page, where they keep in touch. 

“I really admire how she pursued something she really enjoys, and I feel like she’s at a place that gives her the best chance at that. I’m really proud of her,” said Mya Lee (23’)

Thendean admits to thinking about quitting only once in her life, when she was in 7th grade. Thinking back, she’s glad she never gave up, even when it became hard. She sees her life going in one of two directions: getting into a company is the dream, but she also wants an education beyond high school. If she decides to go to college, she’ll choose one that has a really good dance program, so she can continue to do what she loves. 

“I [really] enjoy it, and it’s a really big part of … who I [am] as a person,” said Thendean. “I would tell my younger self and dancers like myself to figure out early on what you want and work hard for it, because ballet is something where if you keep at it you will get better.”