I was invited on an all expenses paid trip to cover #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and the #ABCTVEvent #DWTS #DWTSJuniors. All opinions are my own.
While I was in LA for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms World Premiere, I also had the chance to visit “Pro Dance LA” which is the dance studio owned by Elena Samodanova and her husband Gleb Savchenko from Dancing with the Stars. Three of the pro’s and mentors from Dancing with the Stars and Dancing with the Stars Juniors came to do a fun Q&A session as well as teach us a little Nutcracker and the Four Realms inspired dance (I will be sharing more about the dance itself in an upcoming post, stay tuned). They were Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten and Gleb Savchenko. I was so excited when I found out we would be able to meet them and learn from them. They are all amazing dancers.
I just recently decided to get back into dancing and was very excited to have the chance to learn from three incredible dancers. I was inspired as we chatted with them. They have some great advice and I am so happy to be able to share this inspirational Q&A with you…
They started out by telling us about themselves.
Brandon: I’m more like an all-styles kid. I trained like 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: And Brandon performed on Dancing with The Stars for the first time when you were, how old were you?
Brandon: I was 13. We were little. Junior competition, that was me, season six.
Gleb: I mainly train in ballroom. But 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. But mainly ballroom.
Alan: I’ve 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. Even though we’re professionals on the show we’re still learning a new style every time we get a new song, 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. [UNINTELLIGIBLE] she was amazing. I think our favorite moments, we did an Argentine tango, that was very much my style. It wasn’t traditional. It was to a different song, different type of vibe. So, that’s definitely like my style as a pro on the show. I was really excited. That was one of my best.
Alan: Honestly, my best moment was joining the show. You know, 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.
Who is your dream dance partner?
Brandon: Honestly, Arianna Grande, probably. Yeah, because she’s hot.
Gleb: Jennifer Lopez.
Is it more challenging mentoring adults or children?
Alan: I think it was an experience that really enlightened all of us. You know, 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 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 and like 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 can’t do anything but watch.
When did you know that you wanted to be a professional dancer?
Gleb: Well I grew up in Russia, Moscow, and the mentality of everyone, if your kid does something, the parents go 100% in it. So by the age of nine, I was traveling across Russia doing all these different competitions and when I was 14, I started winning them. I started really enjoying it. And then I was like, that’s going to be my career. I’m going to be a dancer. And here I am.
Where do you get fresh ideas for new inspiration?
Alan: I feel like the songs kind of inspire us, you know. And our partners inspire us. So, every season is a different season because what I’m doing with Alexis I couldn’t do with Mariah or Debbie. So, every season you get an inspiration from your partner.
What messages would each of you give to young dancers who are following their dance dreams?
Brandon: Never give up.
Gleb: 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 literally a one bedroom apartment with my parents and 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. Stand your ground and just pour your soul and heart into what you do.
Alan: That’s beautiful. 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, especially in a dancer because there’s a lot of no’s before you get a yes.
Brandon: That it is so important to 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.
As I said, a lot of their words inspired me personally and were what I needed to hear. I am so honored to have had the chance to learn from such amazing dancers.
They were so nice and took pictures with us all.
Stay tuned for my post coming later on where I will show you the dance they taught us.
Be sure to watch Dancing with the Stars Mondays at 8|7c and Dancing with the Stars Juniors Sundays at 8|7c on ABC! Or stream it on the ABC app, or watch it on demand.
Want even more Dancing with the Stars? Be sure to get tickets to the Dancing with the Stars Tour coming to a city near you! Check it out and grab tickets at dwtstour.com.#DWTSTour