Chandler Teen Pursues Dream of Being a Professional Ballerina

When Malorie Lundgren was 2-years-old, her mom enrolled her in a dance class where she learned ballet, tap and jazz.

“I loved dancing from the start and never really stopped doing it,” Malorie says, adding that when she was 7, she realized that she wanted to focus on ballet.

When she was 11, Malorie attended a summer course in California taught by The School of American Ballet.

“That really opened up my eyes to the world of ballet,” she says.

For the next three summers, Malorie enrolled in a five-week course taught by the school, only she traveled to New York City instead of California for the classes. At the end of her third summer in New York City, Malorie was asked to stay for the winter term.

Malorie loved studying ballet so much and was showing such promise, she asked her parents if she could move to New York City to train with the elite instructors at The School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center.

After receiving permission from her parents to make the cross-country move, Malorie headed to New York at the age of 14 to follow her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina.

In order for Malorie to pursue her passion for ballet, she enrolled in Arizona Connections Academy when she was in the eighth grade.

Despite her busy dance schedule, Malorie was able to work ahead at the online school, graduating this spring.

Now 17, Malorie is living full-time in the Big Apple, where she spends between 15 and 20 hours a week training.

“I also do Pilates when I’m not doing ballet,” Malorie says.

Malorie lives in a dorm with about 60 other boys and girls who are studying ballet. She travels to Chandler to see her parents for Thanksgiving, winter break, spring break and during the summer.

“My parents will also come to see me when they can, like for my birthday and for when I’m doing performances in New York,” she says.

While Malorie has definitely enjoyed her time studying at The School of American Ballet, this fall she will experience some new and exciting changes.

“I will be in Columbia University’s general studies program part-time, where I’ll take one or two classes,” she says. “Also, during the last week of the school year, I was offered an apprenticeship with the New York City Ballet, which was totally unexpected.”

Although Malorie definitely misses her family in Chandler, she says being so busy and having so much happening in New York prevents her from feeling too homesick.

As for young kids who dream of being a professional dancer but are not sure if they have what it takes, Malorie offers these words of advice: “Hard work is crucial if you are doing something like ballet—you have to work really hard. Also, never forget your goals.”