Karen Uphoff began her ballet training with Jehrin Alexandria and Bud Johansen at the age of ten in Olympia, Washington. She continued her training in Killeen, Texas under the tutelage of Margaret Newcomb and Renee Gillenwater. At age fifteen, Uphoff was accepted to the prestigious Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC and awarded a scholarship to study for three years under renowned ballerina Alla Sizova and Ludmila Morkovina. Upon graduaion from high school, Uphoff joined the Colorado Ballet, dancing the roles of Medora and an Odalisque in excerpts from Le Corsaire.
Uphoff joined American Ballet Theatre in 2003 as a member of the corps de ballet, performing worldwide for thirteen seasons. Her repertory with the Company includes the Winter Fairy in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, Rosaline in Romeo and Juliet, the Queen in The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, a Big Swan in Swan Lake, Anna in La Sylphide, Terpsichore in Sylvia, soloist roles in Black Tuesday and Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once, and a leading role in Sechs Tänze, along with roles in several Balanchine ballets and all of the major classical ballets. Uphoff retired from the company in July 2015.