As soon as we arrived in Los Angeles, it was time to don our workout clothes and head to Pro Dance LA for some dance lessons. There, we were going to learn from Dancing with the Stars pros and Dancing with the Stars: Juniors mentors Brandon Armstrong, Gleb Savchenko, and Alan Bersten. Just so you know, I had to buy a new outfit just for this portion since none of the exercise clothes I owned should ever be seen in public (read as SUPER FRUMPY).
Chatting with Brandon Armstrong, Gleb Savchenko, and Alan Bersten
Before starting the lesson, we had some time to ask the DTWS pros/mentors a few questions. I loved how relaxed and candid they were! You can see the whole interview below (less than 20 minutes) but here are a few highlights that I enjoyed.
What has been your favorite moment from the show?
Bersten: My best moment was joining the show. It was a dream of mine. When I was younger I was watching the show with my grandpa and it was so nice to think, “Maybe I can be there.” Then, one day, I got here. It’s honestly a dream come true, as cliché as that sounds.
What messages do you give to young dancers as to following their dreams?
Savchenko: Never give up. Just push forward and anything is possible. I grew up in Moscow with no money in literally a one-bedroom apartment with my parents and…
Berseten: Now we’re standing in this beautiful studio! (See notes on the studio after the quote.)
Savchenko: Exactly. Now I am doing the most amazing show in the whole world where everyone’s watching. So, just dream and work really hard. Never give up. Don’t let anybody put you down. Stand your ground and just pour your soul and heart into what you do.
As the studio we were in, Pro Dance LA, it is actually owned and operated by Gleb Savchenko and his wife, Elena Samodanova. It’s such a beautiful studio and we are so appreciative that they opened the space up for our lesson. The chandeliers gorgeous! The studio is open to the public and people of all ages and skill levels are welcome to sign up for dance lessons there. Find more information below.
What if kids find it hard to keep going?
Armstrong: I grew up as a studio rat. I would be in the studio 10 hours, two hours of jazz, two hours of ballet and I would just get pounded all day long. The thing that my dad always used to tell me is that everybody else, all the people that I looked up to, whether it was Misty Copeland in the ballet world, Travis Smalls in the contemporary world or hip-hop, or whatever it was, they did the same thing. Nobody gets to cut corners in this industry, especially if you want to be elite. If you want to be great at what you do, nobody can cut corners.
My dad was a little bit more tough love. He was a colonel in the military. I’d come home complain and he would say, “My guy, you’ve got to suck it up because all the people that you’re looking up to did the same crap and all the other people that are going to just like that are doing the same crap. It’s time for you to put on the pants some days and realize that work is work.” It was like, “No, it’s time for you to grow up. It’s time for you to decide if you want to do it or if you don’t and realize that everybody’s working hard. It’s not enough.”
They also mentioned that so much more is involved with doing the shows than just dancing. Each pro dancer also has to be a choreographer, a director (giving the camera angles that you like), a costume designer, a dance trainer, and even a psychiatrist at times (providing emotional support).
Plus, each 1-minute performance is like a mini music video since the dancers have to think about how each portion of the routine will look best on television versus just in real life. Brandon, Gleb, and Alan are constantly learning new things but love what they do on Dancing with the Stars and Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.
Then it was time to dance! Step-by-step, we went through a VERY short routine inspired by The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Curious to see how it went? Well, you’ll have to wait a few months for details on that — sorry.
In the meantime, enjoy this group photo us mobbing the guys like crazy paparazzi and tune into both shows this week! Oh, and don’t forget to look into buying tickets for the Dancing with the Stars Tour. Just go to dwtstour.com to see if the tour will be stopping in your area and, if so, when.
Dancing with the Stars and Dancing with the Stars: Junior
Dancing with the Stars is on Mondays at 8|7c while Dancing with the Stars: Juniors comes on Sundays at 8|7c. Both air on the ABC Television Network, streaming, and on demand. Curious about what’s coming up next? Here are synopses for the next episodes.
Monday, November 12th — The seven remaining celebrity kids have each been tasked with choosing the song they will dance to as “Juniors Choice” night comes to “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors,” SUNDAY, NOV. 11 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.
Sunday, November 11th — The six remaining couples advance to the “Semi-Finals” as the competition heats up in anticipation of next week’s crowning of the coveted Mirrorball trophy on “Dancing with the Stars,” live on MONDAY, NOV. 12 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.
- https://twitter.com/DancingABC (#DWTS #ABCTVEvent)
I was invited on an all-expense paid media trip as a guest of Disney and ABC. All opinions are my own.