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Exclusive interview with Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten and Gleb Savchenko

Exclusive interview with Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten and Gleb Savchenko

I was provided with an all expense paid trip. All opinions are my own. While I was in L.A. for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms red carpet premiere, we were able to go to Gleb Savchenko’s dance studio Pro Dance LA and interview DANCING WITH THE STARS & DANCING WITH THE STARS: JUNIORS pros/mentors Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten and Gleb Savchenko. It was SO MUCH FUN! We also got to do a dance lesson with them that I will share more of later.

Brandon, Gleb and Alan – PC Coralie Seright

New Episodes of Dancing With The Stars

Before I get into the interview, I want to remind everyone about Monday’s DWTS show that airs on Monday, Nov. 12 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network! Only six couples remain as the competition heats up for the semi-finals! Each couple must perform two new dances. The First Dance Is a Dedicated Dance to a Meaningful Person in the Celebrity’s Life. The Couples’ Second Dance Will Be Judges’ Choice to Help Determine Who Should Move on to Finale Night.

Watch the semi-finals next week and then catch the Dancing With The Stars Finale and the show’s crowning of the coveted Mirrorball trophy on “Dancing with the Stars,” live on MONDAY, NOV. 19 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.

The couples have been rehearsing day and night preparing to perform two stunning numbers. First, each celebrity will perform a dance style not yet danced, dedicated to a meaningful person in their life. The second is a special Judges’ Choice dance, where each couple will be challenged to perform a style of dance they previously danced, but this time with totally new music in this all-important Semi-Finals extravaganza. For the first dance, each couple will perform a waltz, salsa, contemporary or Argentine tango. For the Judges’ Choice dance, each will perform a jive, foxtrot, quick step, salsa or cha cha. The Dedicated Dance scores will be combined with the Judges’ Choice dance scores for a judges’ final tally.

Each couple will dance to the following songs (in alphabetical order):

  • Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten – Waltz – “Water” by Bishop Briggs
  • Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess – Salsa – “GDFR” by Flo Rida
  • Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe – Contemporary – “Stand Up for Something” by Andra Day
  • Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile and Jenna Johnson – Contemporary– “This Year’s Love” by David
  • Gray Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke – Argentine tango – “Libertango” from Forever Tango
  • Milo Manheim and Witney Carson – Argentine tango – “Pray for Me” by The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar

Judges’ Choice Dances

  • Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten – Jive – “Yes” by Merry Clayton (mentored by Bruno)
  • Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess – Jive – “Gimme Some Lovin’” by The Spencer Davis Group (mentored by Len)
  • Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe – Foxtrot – “Rewrite the Stars” from “The Greatest Showman” (mentored by Len)
  • Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile and Jenna Johnson – Quickstep – “Check it Out” by Oh the Larceny (mentored by Carrie Ann)
  • Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke – Salsa – “Tu Sonrisa” by Elvis Crespo (mentored by Bruno)
  • Milo Manheim and Witney Carson – Cha Cha – “Good Feeling” by Austin French (mentored by (Carrie Ann)

For week eight, viewers may cast their votes for their favorite “Dancing with the Stars” couples via phone and online at www.ABC.com, beginning from the start of the episode on the East Coast at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST and closing at 4:00 a.m. EST/1:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday.

Brandon, Gleb, and Alan – PC Coralie Seright

Here is our interview with DWTS Prod Brandon, Gleb, and Alan:

What style of dance do you do?

BRANDON: I’m more like an all-styles kid.  I trained in jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, ballet growing up mainly.  I did ballroom with another pro on the show, Lindsay Arnold.  We were ballroom partners.  But I’m definitely more of like an all-styles kid, hip-hop, contemporary, stuff like that.

GLEB: I mainly train in ballroom, latin and standard.  When I started to do the show, I picked up all the different styles. We do contemporary, jazz and hip-hop or whatever.  So, it’s more like commercial dance.  But mainly ballroom.

ALAN: I’ve never danced before.  I don’t know why I’m here. [laughing] Yeah, I have danced ballroom since I was seven years old and then I did So You Think You Can Dance and that really broadened my horizons.  And now I’m lucky enough to be with these guys on Dancing With The Stars. And every day we learn something new and it’s a lot of fun.  So, even though we’re professionals on the show we’re still learning a new style every time we get a new song, you know, we’re changing things up.

What has been your favorite moment from the show?

BRANDON: My favorite was this season, my first season as a pro.  When we did the Argentine tango, that was like very much my style.  It wasn’t traditional.  It was to a different song, a different type of vibe.  So, that’s definitely my style as a pro on the show.  And I was really excited.  That was one of my best.

ALAN: 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 one day I can be there.  And then one day I got here and it’s honestly a dream come true.  So, honestly, every moment on the show is my favorite moment, as cliché as that sounds.

Just a quick note to remind you that DANCING WITH THE STARS: JUNIORS (airs Sundays at 8|7c on ABC; also available streaming and on demand) so be sure to tune in and watch it! 

Is it more challenging to mentor adults or children?

ALAN: I think it was an experience that really enlightened all of us.  When we’re on the show with adults there’s a lot of pressure because we’re in it.  We’re in it with them.  We’re going on this journey with them.  With the kids, we’re able to kind of stand back and let the kids go on a journey and really help as much as we can without actually being in it.

BRANDON: I do have to admit, I think it was more rewarding for me, maybe this is just me but this is my first season, like I said, on the adult show.  But I think it was more rewarding for me to watch my kids do well then it would be for myself to do well.  I think for most of us would agree that like to be able to sit back and watch your kids when they finally execute it well that is a million times more rewarding.

GLEB: But it’s definitely much more nerve-racking because you stand back and you not perform.

DANCING WITH THE STARS: JUNIORS – “Juniors Choice” (Photo Credit to ABC/Eric McCandless) JORDAN FISHER, SKY BROWN, JT CHURCH, ALAN BERSTEN

How do you teach kids about failure?

ALAN: My little girl, Sky, she really preached it a lot because she is a skateboarder who is the youngest skateboarder in the world and is one of the best skateboarders. I don’t know how she has this mentality but she always believes that if she did her best, nothing else matters.  And I really kind of grab that for myself and it’s great to know that if you do try your hardest and you feel like you did your best, nothing else should matter.

GLEB: My daughter, she’s going to be eight.  She dances but she’s not really like into it.  And I’m sometimes so frustrated.  I’m like, straighten those legs.  Yeah, but, you have to really want it.  You have to be inside of you, has to be that competitive feel.

ALAN: Yeah, and I think on the show everyone has so much fun especially on the juniors that everyone became such good friends and they would all hang out together afterward.  The hardest part was elimination.  But it was nice that even though they got eliminated they would come back to the show and hang out with everyone else.  So, it still felt good.

How do you recommend to build kids up?

BRANDON: So I grew up doing the same thing.  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 used to tell me is he was like, everybody else, all the people that I looked up to. Whether it was Misty Copeland in the ballet world, with the Travis Smalls in the contemporary world or hip-hop, whatever it was, they did the same thing.

Nobody – 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, yada, yada, yada.  I’d come home and be like oh, blah, blah, blah, and he’d to be like [he smacked his hands together] 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 know, you got to realize that work is work.

I think that in this era of kids right now, it’s really easy to get away with not parenting because it’s very soft, very hands-off style of parenting. I’m not a parent.  But I would say that from my dad, that’s how it was.  It was like no, you know, 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.

Alan. Brandon and Gleb

What messages would each of you give to young dancers who are following their dance dreams?

BRANDON: Never give up.

GLEB: Never give up.  Just push forward and you know, anything is possible.

ALAN: If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

GLEB: I grew up in Moscow with no money in a literally one-bedroom apartment with my parents and–.

ALAN: Now we’re standing in this beautiful suite [talking about the Pro Dance LA studio that Gleb owns!]

GLEB: I do the most amazing show in the whole world, you know, where everyone’s watching.  So, just dream and work really hard.  Never give up.  Don’t let anybody push you down.  You know, stand your ground and just pour your soul and heart into what you do.

ALAN: I think if you’re passionate about it, no one can stop you.  If anyone is passionate about anything, no matter what, they’re going to be stubborn about it.  And I think that’s actually one of the best qualities you can have them, especially in a dancer because there’s a lot of no’s before you get a yes.

BRANDON: Before I came on this show, there’s a million kids that look just like me that dance just like me, that talk just like me.  So it is so important to be unique.

ALAN: But be unique, especially all you kids out there, be unique.  Don’t look at somebody else and say I want to be Gleb.  You know, take all the things that you think are great about him and develop yourself but still be yourself.  Be unique.

Brandon, Gleb and Alan

Did you guys ever have a teacher who said something like you couldn’t be a dancer?

GLEB: Well, I’ll tell you this.  I was doing gymnastics since I was five until I was eight and I grew really quickly and that’s exactly what my trainer came to my parents, actually my grandma, and said he’s going to be too tall.  Take him out.

BRANDON: Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.  Another guy just got drafted in the NFL, he has no arm.  They told him that he wouldn’t be able to – he has six picks.  He’s leading the league in picks. There are ways for you to be unique and to make it happen.

The interview was really fun, they made us laugh a lot and I loved learning more about them. We will be sharing more about our dance lesson from them next spring when The Nutcracker and The Four Realms comes out on DVD.

Be sure to tune in next Monday, Nov. 12 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network and support all of the amazing dancers on Dancing With The Stars! And if you live in the Los Angeles area, you need to go to Pro Dance LA and visit the studio. It is beautiful and the perfect place for your next dance practice, etc.

I also wanted to share more about the upcoming tour ‘DANCING WITH THE STARS: LIVE! – A NIGHT TO REMEMBER’

It hits the road this winter, dancing across America. All New Show to Feature “Dancing with the Stars” Season 27 Dancers Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, Sasha Farber, Alan Bersten, Jenna Johnson, Brandon Armstrong and More!  *Cast subject to change.

Tickets on Sale Now!

TV’s biggest dance show returns on tour this winter with “Dancing with the Stars: Live! – A Night to Remember” Kicking off December 15th in Columbia, SC, the show will feature fan favorite professional and troupe dancers in a brand-new production showcasing every type of dance style as seen on ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars, ranging from ballroom and jazz to modern and hip-hop. Choreographed and creative directed by Emmy© Award-winning choreographer Mandy Moore and Dancing with the Stars Executive Producer Ashley Edens-Shaffer, audiences will have the opportunity to experience the excitement, glamour and glitz they see in the ballroom every Monday night live in theatres in their hometowns.

To purchase tickets and to get the full list of tour dates, please visit dwtstour.com. VIP packages will be available through VIPNation.com, giving fans the chance to purchase premium tickets, meet and greet opportunities with the cast, exclusive merchandise and photo opportunities.

“Dancing with the Stars: Live! – A Night to Remember” is produced by Faculty Productions in association with BBC Studios.

“Dancing with the Stars: Live! – A Night to Remember” Tour Dates:
December 15 – Columbia, SC – Township Auditorium
December 16 – Augusta, GA – Bell Auditorium
December 18 – Birmingham, AL – BJCC Concert Hall
December 19 – Huntsville, AL – Mark C. Smith Concert Hall
December 20 – Chattanooga, TN – Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Auditorium
December 21 – Knoxville, TN – Knoxville Civic Auditorium
December 27 – Charleston, WV – Charleston Municipal Auditorium
December 28 – Raleigh, NC – Memorial Auditorium at Duke Energy for the Performing Arts
December 29 – Spartanburg, SC – Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium
December 30 – North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Performing Arts Center
December 31 – Charlotte, NC – Ovens Auditorium
January 2 – Richmond, VA – Altria Theater
January 3 – Pittsburgh, PA – Heinz Hall
January 4 – Verona, NY – Turning Stone
January 5 – Windsor, ON – Colosseum at Caesars
January 6 – Kitchener, ON – Centre in the Square
January 8 – Rochester, NY – Auditorium Theatre
January 9 – Washington DC – The Theatre at MGM National Harbor
January 10 – Baltimore, MD – Lyric Theater
January 11 – Atlantic City, NJ – Borgata
January 12 & 13 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun
January 15 – New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
January 17 & 18 – Boston, MA – Wang Theater
January 19 & 20 – Bethlehem, PA – Sands Bethlehem Events Center
January 22 – 24 – Lancaster, PA – American Music Theater
January 25 – New Brunswick, NJ – State Theatre
January 26 – Philadelphia, PA – Metropolitan Opera House
January 27 – Buffalo, NY – Shea’s Performing Arts Center
January 29 – Akron, OH – Edward J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall
January 30 – Columbus, OH – Palace Theatre
January 31 – Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre
February 1 – Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theater at Old National Centre
February 2 – Rosemont, IL – Rosemont Theatre
February 4 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theatre
February 5 – Minneapolis, MN – State Theatre
February 7 – Grand Prairie, TX – Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
February 8 – Sugar Land, TX – Smart Financial Centre
February 9 – Memphis, TN – Orpheum Theatre
February 10 – Nashville, TN – Grande Ole Opry
February 11 – Atlanta, GA – Fox Theatre
February 13 – Hollywood, FL – Seminole Hard Rock
February 14 – Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall
February 15 – Sarasota, FL – Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
February 16 – Orlando, FL – Bob Carr Theater
February 17 – Jacksonville, FL – Moran Theater

Be sure to get your tickets now so you can go watch these incredibly talented dancers at a location close to you.

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