Karina Johnson, Special Instructor

B.F.A., University of Utah | karijohn@nmu.edu

Karina Johnson started ballet at the age of four in Irvine, California, and was trained by such accomplished teachers as Charles Maple, Amanda McKerrow, and John Gardner from American Ballet Theatre, as well as Evelyn Cisneros from San Francisco Ballet. She attended ABT, Boston Ballet, and American Academy of Ballet summer intensives throughout her years of training, as well as competed in the Youth of America Grand Prix competition for five consecutive years. Starting in 2007, Karina worked on a degree at The University of Utah as well as guesting with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s The Nutcracker for three years. In her senior year of college she became a trainee with Ballet West, performing as a supplemental corps de ballet dancer. Karina graduated in 2010 with a BFA in Ballet, and afterwards spent a year as an apprentice at Smuin Ballet in San Francisco before moving to join the Sacramento Ballet. There she had the privilege of performing in such renowned ballets as Ron Cunningham’s The Great Gatsby, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carmina Burana, Rite of Spring, Cinderella, and The Firebird, as well as Trey McIntyre’s Wild Sweet Love, and George Balanchine’s Western Symphony, Who Cares?, Rubies, and the First Regiment Lead in Stars and Stripes. One of the highlights of Karina’s career was performing the first act Pas de Trois, and Cygnettes in Swan Lake, one of the hardest and most rewarding ballets to perform.

After retiring from her career with the Sacramento Ballet in 2015, Karina helped found the dancer-run company Capital Dance Project, choreographing, performing, and organizing their summer performance series. After eight years of dancing professionally, and 5 more of helping run a project-based company, she decided it was time to pass on her love and knowledge of dance to the next generation... bringing her to NMU! Karina and her husband Iver, who was also a professional dancer with the Sacramento Ballet, moved to Marquette in May 2020 to pursue new career paths, be close to family, and start a family of their own. While not teaching ballet, Karina spends her time with her baby girl Juniper, and on the side painting and selling large abstract paintings at art festivals and shows.

Karina Hagemeyer