The Dirt with Kelli Berglund
by Keith Munyan
You may know Kelli Berglund as lightning-fast bionic teenager Bree on Disney XD’s “Lab Rats.” But did you know she’s also a star on the competition scene? Kelli started dancing at age 4 and has trained in jazz, ballet, hip hop, acrobatics, tap and contemporary (her favorite) at the Camarillo Academy of Performing Arts in Camarillo, CA, and The Dance Company in Moorpark, CA. Her performance skills scored her early roles on TLC’s “Hip Hop Harry” and in various commercials. A fierce competitor, Kelli has won many awards, including first overall solo at MOVE Regionals when she was 14.
Now 16, she’s on the “Lab Rats” set all day, every day, but whenever she has time off from filming, she’ll take classes at Millennium Dance Complex or EDGE Performing Arts Center in L.A. And her dance training comes in handy on set as well. “My character on ‘Lab Rats’ is very athletic. She gets into fights—which include high kicks and jumps—and even has a few dance scenes,” Kelli says. “Plus, having to remember tons of choreography over the years has helped me when it comes to remembering lines.”
Kelli’s already working on her next big thing—a show in the works (which will feature both her dance and singing talent) called “My Dance Turn.” Want to learn more about this triple threat? Read on for The Dirt.
If you could dance with any performer, past or present, who would it be?
Biggest guilty pleasure:
Candle-lit bubble baths
Swiss cheese fondue
One thing most people don’t know about you:
I have a huge phobia of bugs.
If you weren’t a dancer/actress, what would you be?
A graphic designer or director
Favorite city in the world:
What are your pet peeves?
People who never want to work hard and chipped nail polish
What’s the strangest thing in your dance bag?
My audition number from a convention two years ago
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
On the big screen!
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.