This post is sponsored by The LEGO Group.
It’s 3pm and Bella Klassen is right on time for our interview. “I wake up at 5:30 every morning, I workout, I go to school, I have tutoring, I have acting classes then dance, and then I eat dinner with my family,” she says. This has been Bella’s life since she was 11 years old.
Bella’s rigorous routine, self-discipline and stellar dance moves have not only helped her gain thousands of fans across social media, but have also drawn the attention of the iconic LEGO® brand. Bella is now the official Assistant Choreographer for the Kids Creative Studio, a kid-led, in-house creative studio inspired by LEGO® VIDIYO®, the brand’s new music video maker app. LEGO VIDIYO is uniting notable young creatives to collaborate on official LEGO content while showcasing their skills for the world.
Trained at the Alberta Ballet School, Bella, now 16, is an elite dancer with the YYC Dance Project in Calgary, Canada, where she lives with her parents Christine and Allan, and her two older brothers, Zak and Ty.
Her YouTube channel, which launched in 2015, has 142K subscribers. One of her most popular posts, with over 1.4 million views, is called “Day In The Life Of A Ballet School Student!” In it, she looks at her phone and says, “It’s 5:58am,” and adds, “I love this part of the day, honestly, because I just get to jam out to music.” And of course, she gets to dance.
Dance has always been a significant part of Bella’s life. She started dancing at the age of three and enrolled in formal lessons at seven. After only four years of training she was selected to be a dancer in Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour in 2017 for his show in Winnipeg, Canada, and says, “I’m so lucky that I got to do it at only the age of 11.” In that same year Bella appeared in a music video by indie-rockers Animal Years.
Along with being the only Canadian selected to join the Kids Creative Studio, Bella says that one of her biggest accomplishments is competing at the Break the Floor Productions Dance Awards and winning the title of Best Dancer. She says, “When I was 12, I won the national title with one of my best friends and we basically got to tour the whole year. We got to tour and travel around and assist all these amazingly accomplished artists and choreographers.”
Photos: Amy Gardner
Excited to be on the LEGO VIDIYO team, Bella says, “They saw me through my YouTube channel which is super cool because I’ve always been known as Bella Klassen the dancer. This is the first time I’ve done anything because of my YouTube channel. So, I’m super excited to be working on this project.”
So far, they’ve kicked off with a Zoom meeting, with more creative take-aways to come in the weeks ahead. “We’re starting to get really close,” Bella says. “Because of the pandemic, we’ve never actually met face-to-face, but we are going to start working on the project very soon, which is super exciting.”
In her official role as Assistant Choreographer, one of Bella’s first assignments will be to work with the LEGO Group’s Head Choreographer, Nicole Laeno, and other young tastemakers to develop the first major multi-platform content campaign for LEGO VIDIYO—Bella’s passion for movement and her innate talent for creating fun, engaging videos content makes her a natural ambassador for the iconic brand’s foray into augmented reality. With LEGO VIDIYO, kids can direct, produce and share their own music videos, starring LEGO minifigures, while using tracks from UMG artists and adding fun digital effects. Once music videos are produced, they can be shared with other kid creators the world over in the LEGO® VIDIYO® App. Here, users are anonymous and comments are moderated to ensure a safe, positive sharing environment which encourages creation.
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With an already packed schedule, Bella has recently started teaching dance to young kids. “I teach little nine-year-olds at my studio and I have fallen in love with them,” she says, “I love seeing them grow and progress. Even though they’re so young, they can stay so focused and it gives me motivation to work hard on my craft.” When asked why she feels it’s important to give back, she says, “I don’t even think of it as giving back because it’s also something that I enjoy. It’s almost like a selfish good deed. I just know that when I was their age, I had a whole bunch of inspirations and I know that I would have loved if they taught me. So, getting to do that with my students is something that I really appreciate and love and I hope they feel the same way.”
Clearly, Bella is an achiever, but her big dreams come with hard work and sacrifice. “I missed a lot of birthday parties when I was little and lots of parties now,” she says, “we try to do Sunday family dinner, but I’m never there.” Although she doesn’t lead a conventional teen life, she says, “I think it’s all worth it. I’m really enjoying my life and my craft and everything I’ve worked for.”
Photo: Amy Gardner
Her thousands of fans have enjoyed sharing in her journey and many have come to idolize her. “I feel like their big sister,” she says. “I never really want to be their idol. I make mistakes. I do things that any other normal teenager would do and I learn from that. I have those experiences and I talk about that on my YouTube channel and I think it’s really important to show that I’m not perfect and I mess up and I have bad days.”
Bella says her family and friends are her biggest supporters and constantly inspire her to work harder. “They’ll be there for me,” she says, “and that just really inspires me, because as much as I don’t want to let myself down, I don’t want to let those people who are constantly behind me and push me to be better, down either. So, I’m really, really grateful to have those people in my life because without them, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”
via Instagram @bellaKlassen9