Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ABCTVEVENT event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to Interview with #DWTS Pros but all opinions are my own.
Have you watched Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) or Dancing with the Stars Juniors (DWTS juniors) and thought to yourself, “I can do that?”
Yeah, me neither. You all know I trip over my own feet and let’s be honest, I’m dangerous. People can get hurt… most likely me!
Due to the break heard around the Internet, consequently I pretty much dance like Elaine Benes and Frankenstein had a sweet little pirate baby. It’s not graceful or pretty.
But a couple weeks ago, I was invited to Los Angeles by Disney for the Nutcracker and the Four Realms red carpet premiere event and the bonus was a session at Pro Dance L.A. owned by Gleb Savchenko and his wife, Elena Samodanova. Located at 744 N Fairfax, Los Angeles, CA,90046 and offers classes to dancers of all ages.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”
I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing “Dancing with the Stars” pros and “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” mentors Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten and Gleb Savchenko. Most noteworthy, about that dance lesson, I’ll write more about that in another post but let’s just say, most noteworthy, there’s video!
My girls are dancers. First of all, they’ve been dancing ballet since they were 2-years-old. Consequently, they love it and they work hard at it. As a result, they were very excited that I would have the chance to interview Gleb, Alan and Brandon. I was impressed by the words of inspiration these pros had for young dancers.
Above all, what messages would each of you give to young dancers who are following their dance dreams?
Brandon Armstrong: Never give up.
Gleb Savchenko: Never give up. Just push forward and you know, anything is possible.
Alan Bersten: If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
Gleb Savchenko: I grew up in Moscow with no money in literally one-bedroom apartment with my parents and I do the most amazing show in the whole world. So, just dream and work really hard. Never give up. Don’t let anybody push you down. You know, stand your ground and just, just pour your soul and heart into what you do.
Alan Bersten: I think 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 them especially in a dancer because there’s a lot of nos before you get a yes.
Brandon Armstrong: I think that it is so important to be unique.
Alan Bersten: 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.
How do you teach kids about failure?
Alan Bersten: I think if the kid knows that they’re doing their best nothing else matters. I 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 Savchenko: Sometimes for kids it’s really hard because they’re kids. My daughter, she’s going to be eight. She dances but she’s not really into it. You have to really want it. You have to be inside of you, there has to be that competitive feeling.
My girls are ballet dancers. How would you recommend I encourage my daughters and build up their self-esteem?
Gleb Savchenko: This is a good question. That’s a really good question. Just tell her to keep doing what she is doing and try really hard. It’s never always a number one, number two and number three. There is a process of becoming someone. And through that process, you have a lot of down times, a lot of failures, and a lot of losses. Before I won a competition, I lost five years.
Alan Bersten: I think that struggle is what really builds the character and the willpower.
Gleb Savchenko: It builds your character. It builds the want and the willpower.
Alan Bersten: If you can make it through that struggle, that’s when you know you want to do it.
Brandon Armstrong: 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 that everybody else, all the people that I looked up to whether it was Misty Copeland in the ballet world or Travis Smalls in the contemporary world or hip-hop, 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. He’d to be like “you’ve got to suck it up because all the people that you’re looking up to did the same thing. 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.
Finally, did you ever have a teacher who told you that you couldn’t succeed? What would you tell a child who has been told that they can’t do something?
Gleb Savchenko: 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 Armstrong: Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. This guy just got drafted in the NFL and he has no arm. He’s leading the league in picks. There are ways for you to be unique and to make it happen.
Alan Bersten: If someone tells you that you can’t do it, that’s when you prove them wrong.
Brandon Armstrong: Then, above all figure it out. You can be the atypical version of what you do.
Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” airs Sundays at 8|7c on The ABC Television Network or streaming or on the app. / “Dancing with the Stars” airs Mondays at 8|7c on The ABC Television Network or streaming or on the app.
READ ALSO: Exclusive interview with Misty Copeland
‘DANCING WITH THE STARS: LIVE! – A NIGHT TO REMEMBER HITS THE ROAD THIS WINTER DANCING ACROSS AMERICA To buy tickets to the DWTS Tour coming to a city near you: dwtstour.com #DWTSTour
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!
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.
The tour delivers a spectacular night of show-stopping dance performances from world-renowned dancers including Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, Hayley Erbert and Britt Stewart, with more surprise casting to be announced.
Tickets for “Dancing with the Stars: Live!” are on sale now. 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.