When she went back to school last week, 12-year-old Alexandra “Sparkles” Lund had quite a lot of material to inspire her “What I Did This Summer” essay.
From winning a national dance title at Hollywood Vibe Dance and performing at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards in July, to rehearsing choreography for a T-Pain music video last week, the Paulding Middle School eighth-grader has spent the past two months traveling across the country for a range of high-profile dance competitions and gigs.
“It’s been really busy,” Lund said with a laugh recently as she relaxed at her home in rural Arroyo Grande.
As she stretched in her home dance studio — the same studio where Lund and her dad have filmed videos for her self-named YouTube channel, which as of Sunday had more than 788,000 combined views — it was clear why the pint-sized dancer goes by the name “Sparkles.”
It’s not because of the table of shiny dance awards and accomplishments featured prominently in the house foyer.
Nor is it because of anything she was wearing that day: She wore what any other 12-year-old girl would — a black tank top with daisies on the back and light-wash skinny jeans before she switched to a pair of galaxy-print leggings, pink sports bra and red jacket with “National Dancer of the Year” printed on the back.
The reason the moniker fits so well is her personality. Lund was all smiles and giggles while she showed off her moves; her dog, Austin; her new airboard (a sort of skateboard-Segway hybrid) and the foot-stretching tools she recently learned how to use from her partnership with Ballet Footstretch.
“I’m not good at anything else,” Lund said as she lay on the floor in a straddle split. “I can’t imagine doing anything other than dance. This is what I do.”
Lund began dancing with the Academy of Dance in San Luis Obispo at the age of 3, after seeing a performance at the Farmers Market one Thursday night. She later moved over to Dellos Performing Arts Center in Arroyo Grande and joined its competition team.
Since then, she has racked up an impressive résumé, from appearances on TV shows like “The Voice,” “Dance Moms” and “Dancing With the Stars” to dancing at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Sports Awards with the WNBA kids dance group SparKids in July.
Lund has also found time to compete in national dance competitions, winning the title of 2015 National Dancer of the Year from Hollywood Vibe Dance for her contemporary piece “Opportunity,” and work with well-known choreographers such as Robert Schultz, Brian Friedman, Tahirih Ellison and Will “WilldaBeast” Adams.
“She just has that ‘it factor,’ ” said her mother, Marilyn Lund. “She’s really lucky; she has a beautiful network. People take her under their wing because she works so hard, and so professionally.”
Alexandra Lund also made an appearance this year in a music video with viral dance sensation Taylor Hatala, who shot to stardom last year after posting a video of herself dancing to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda.” The video, to Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband,” has more than 95,000 views.
“We were friends before she got all the hype and everything,” Lund said of Hatala. “So it was fun. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, let’s have her in the video so we can have views.’ It was more like, ‘Well, she’s my friend, and I want her to dance with me.’ It was really fun to work with her, though, ’cause she’s a sweet girl.”