In May 2015, Dance Informa teamed up with Australian company Dance Upon a Dream, an online dance video database for the competitive dancer. The site invites dancers to upload their videos, which will in turn appear alongside other dancers’ videos from around the world. Each month, Dance Upon a Dream rewards dancers they find outstanding. Often the company encourages casting directors to use their site to find talent.
The gifted Bella Klassen was dubbed “Most Outstanding Dancer” for May from Dance Upon a Dream and won $250 from Dance Informa to use toward training. Aside from Dance Upon a Dream, Klassen recently won 1st Runner-Up for “Best Mini Dancer” at The Dance Awards in New York City, was NYCDA’s Mini National Solo Competition Winner, and won 3rd Runner-Up for NYCDA’s Mini Outstanding Dancer. At only 11 years old, Klassen’s credentials are outstanding.
Dance Informa recently spoke with Bella Klassen to learn more about her:
How does is it feel to be named the “Most Outstanding Dancer” for May from Dance Upon a Dream?
“I am so honoured because I really love the opportunity to share what I love with other dancers. I am humbled to know I could be chosen from all the great dancers out there!”
How long have you been dancing?
“I have been dancing since I was three, but seriously since I was about seven.”
Who choreographed your solo you submitted for the Dance Upon a Dream competition?
“This solo was choreographed by my teacher/coach Tanja Rosner from YYC Dance Project. It is about waking up with amnesia—having no memory of who you are.”
What do you love most about dancing?
“I love the feeling that being on stage gives me. I feel like it is my home and my chance to be who I really am.”
What choreographers inspire you the most?
“There are so many amazing choreographers out there that I could hardly pick my favorite. I love pieces that move me – that make me want to get up and dance in the piece rather than watching it. I love watching Travis Wall and all the dancers from Shaping Sound because they can do anything and everything! I love my coach Ms. Tanja because she is kind but tough and knows how to have fun too!”
What is your favourite style of dance?
“My favourite would have to be contemporary so I can let loose and just move. However, I love ballet because it centers me and makes me feel strong.”
What do you like most about conventions?
“I love getting the chance to see all the different styles and choreographers in a short time. They fill my weekend with inspiration and I go back in the studio on Monday anxious to get to work. I feel like it’s a breath of fresh air in my training!”
How will you use your prize from Dance Informa?
“I will use it either for another great convention, or maybe to take classes at Steps on Broadway or Broadway Dance Center. I love going to classes there and seeing all the professional dancers work. It feels really grown up and very ‘New York!’”
This next year, Klassen will be training with The Alberta Ballet Professional Division, with her team YYC Dance Project, and hopes to work with some amazing choreographers and teachers from all over the world.
When speaking to her mother, Christine Klassen, for further input on future plans, she said, “Long-term, Bella would love to work either on Broadway or in a contemporary company, like her favourite, Shaping Sound. She would also like to be a choreographer like fellow Canadian Stacey Tookey! Of course, she is 11, so who knows where her dreams will take her!”
By Allison Gupton of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): Bella Klassen. Photo by David Hoffman (aka Shark Cookie).