DANCER | CHOREOGRAPHER | EDUCATOR
STAYING SANE IN THE DANCE INDUSTRY
Nellie Bethel found dance at the age of 10, and has been moving ever since.
As The daughter of stage technicians, she grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark surrounded by velvet theater seats, stage smoke and colored lighting gels. The magic of live performance and life on stage is something she’s always been drawn toward, and her teen years in Copenhagen were spent training at Flow Dance Academy — all while hitting battles and jams throughout Europe. Nothing felt more fulfilling and freeing to me, than dance.
Nellie's first professional dance job arrived at age 14, with a Hip-Hop interpretation of The Nutcracker ballet. The show ended up being a major success, and she stayed with the production for several years. In 2007, she graduated from Flow Dance Academy, with a focus on foundational street styles and the history surrounding these types of movement.
Nellie was still a teenager when she packed her bags and headed out to the United States in 2009. She wanted to understand the roots of the dance styles she had been so passionately studying. She landed in Los Angeles, young but with a clarity of vision. It was there that she began taking classes at iconic American dance studios, and started training with the dancers who'd created the very styles she had been exploring for years. If Copenhagen was where she discovered dance, Los Angeles was where she came of age.
Of course, this stay in Los Angeles was not without its challenges and complications — particularly when it came to work visas and travel logistics. She returned to Denmark and, with her friend Eva Schou, entered Denmark’s Got Talent. Together, Eva and Nellie made it to the finals. Nellies mother would help her cut out every single news article she appeared in, articles she’d use to bolster her work visa application so that she could return to the United States.
In 2010, Nellie made the journey back to Los Angeles, and she has split her time between the US and Denmark since.
For Nellie this past decade has been a beautiful whirlwind of adventure, hard work, hundreds of instances of rejection, and moments of dreams truly coming true. she has booked life-changing jobs, while also failing and growing. She's been in love, soared and conquered challenges, but also found herself exhausted, injured and grasping for that resilience that every dancer so badly needs. She has traveled the world and lived out of a suitcase, building a career far from the safety net of family and friends. Throughout it all, her love for dance has carried her forward. Without this passion, Nellie's life would’ve been very different — and her career wouldn’t have panned out as it did. Even amid some of the most difficult moments of this profession, with its litany of “no’s” and near-constant uprooting, the joy of movement remained her North Star.
Along the way, Nellie has worked with Rihanna, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez, and productions including The Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, and The X-Factor. Since 2015, she has served as one of Jennifer Lopez’s key dancers in her Las Vegas residency, and joined her on tour and in countless music video and award show performances. In Vegas, she was also able to perform in Cirque Du Soleil’s “MJ One” production. And in 2020, she was one of the first ever Danish dancers to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Nellie has had the honor of teaching dance to other passionate artists throughout the years — in Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Holland, Uganda, Germany, Greenland, the UK and USA. She also was awarded “Danish Dancer of the Year” by DropDead in 2015, and “Urban Female Dancer of the Year” by Detour Dance Festival in 2019.
She is currently featured in Danish documentary series "Dans I Blodet" on TV2 Play.
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MORE COURSES WITH NELLIE BETHEL