A special thanks to the beautiful Emma Slater from our DWTS Troupe who so graciously agreed to answer a few of our questions. Please be sure and follow Emma on Twitter (@EmmaSlaterDance).
First of all, we were amazed at your recent performance with DWTS India. How did you and Sasha end up working and performing there? Would you tell us a little bit about that experience?
BBC Worldwide produces many of the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ series for different countries all around the world so we actually got invited to go through the BBC (a lovely producer called Richard!). I was so excited to go; travel is one of my favorite things to do. And India was on my list! Sash and I both had very popular celebrities on the show who were such beautiful people too. Actually everyone in India was so friendly and polite. The country itself was very beautiful and I wish I could have had more time to go explore (Although it was monsoon weather!) Working on ‘Jhalak Dikhla Jaa’, the Indian DWTS, was a wonderful experience.
We know you began dance training at a very young age. We would love to hear more about that training and how you knew that your career path was going to include dance.
I actually wanted to be an actress all my life! It wasn’t till the age of 12 when I realized I couldn’t give up dancing and it had to be my career because I loved it more than anything else and I was so passionate about it. At a young age I took Ballet and Jazz at a local dance school and joined a couple of theatre groups for children. I remember seeing a demonstration of Latin and Ballroom dancing and I was in complete amazement of how electric it was. I joined a Latin and Ballroom dance school a few months later, and it quickly escalated to competitions. A year or two later, I was completely decided that dance was going to be my career and I would somehow make it work.
We’ve read about your amazing range of experience, including the George Michael music video, the film Mamma Mia, Burn the Floor, and so much more. You have an incredible resumé for someone so young and have performed all over the world. Is there a particular performance that has special meaning for you on a personal or professional level?
I was recently chosen by R&B Singer Usher to perform a duet dance with him to his new song ‘Scream’ at the American Billboard Awards in Las Vegas. I was over the moon when I got a call from my agent. I’m a huge fan of Usher’s music. Unfortunately the day of the awards turned out to be camera blocking day for the Finale of Season 14 DWTS in the US so I couldn’t do the Billboard Awards. But I did get to choreograph the duet for Usher along with Sasha who helped me! That’s the difficulty with being a performer in the TV industry. The contracts are often short or bitty so you have to try and co-ordinate your work life so that you can go from job to job as seamlessly as possible.
On a personal level, my favorite job would have to be Burn the Floor because of the life long friends and MASSIVE amounts of fun memories I made whilst on that show. Broadway was a magical part of that whole experience too but by far the best thing to come of it was finding Sasha. Cheesy I know! But true. :)
Would you tell us about your experiences in Burn the Floor? How long were you in this amazing show and how did you ultimately end up on Dancing With the Stars?
I was in Burn the Floor for two years. Burn the Floor fueled my love of travel; the show goes everywhere. My first tour was China and I think we did around 10-12 cities in 16 days! Then the show went to Broadway, then Australia, Japan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, London’s West End, USA, Holland, Belgium, South Africa and that was when I left to go visit Sash when he was doing his first season of DWTS. Burn the Floor doesn’t do anything by halves. The show is wild to put it mildly! I’m very passionate about the dancing in it and the choreography; it’s high energy and totally mesmerizing. All the dancers work 110% and we’re totally knocked out at the end of the show!
Sash had left to do DWTS and towards the end of his first season I flew out to visit him. I ended up having an interview with the producers and it must have gone fairly well because they contacted me just before the next season asking me to be in the Troupe! To say I was mad with excitement was an understatement; as soon as I had my visa I got on a plane two hours later!!
We have already seen you in so many wonderful dances on DWTS. If you had the opportunity to dance with any pro (past or present), who would it be? Why?
Well I always love to have a whip around the floor with Tristan! (I’m sure many people would agree with me there!) I love his expressions when he dances especially with his celebrity partners. It’s like a cheeky grin just between them! Derek is also a wonderful dancer and he’s so passionate about it. Every step he choreographs has a thought process behind it and he’s intense when he dances. I’d like to dance a fierce Paso or Tango with him.
Do you have a particular favorite ballroom or Latin dance? Or do you have a particular performance from over the years that is a special favorite?
My favorite dance changes all the time and I think for me it’s more about what performance best reflects and expresses the way I’m feeling at that moment in my life. It’s so easy to put your absolute all into a dance if the mood and intensity reflect your exact emotions at that point. Because dancing is all about expressing yourself, when I dance, I’m emotionally attached to what I’m doing and it becomes very real. That’s the part I loved about dancing. You don’t need words. I can’t pick a favorite dance although I do tend to favour the extremes. For example I’d love dancing a rocky and fierce sexy Cha Cha just as much as a very vulnerable, delicate and meaningful Waltz.
Along those same lines, what is your favorite performance so far on DWTS, and what do you like most about being on DWTS?
My favorite performance on DWTS so far would be either the rumba Sasha and I did to Smokey Robinson for Motown Week or dancing a snappy Cha Cha to Santana for Latin week. I really liked that one because it had a strong Latin flavor to it and Santana was amazing! You get to meet and work with some incredible people on DWTS from the Macy’s Dancers who are unbelievably talented to the crew and production team. They are always so busy and still have time to treat us really well and have a laugh. I love everyone who works at DWTS, it’s just so easy to work there! So that twinned with getting to perform on America’s biggest TV show every week is the best thing about working on DWTS. I also love being here in LA too. It means Sash and I can both work together in a great city and we don’t have to choose between England and Australia!
Just from what we’ve seen and heard on Twitter and on our own website, you have developed an enormous fan base, and you’ve proven to be very responsive to the fans. How is it that you stay so grounded with all of the attention focused on you?
I love what I do and I’m very happy to be able to say that. It’s even more wonderful when people see my performances and want to show me support with lovely comments and messages. I’m honestly flattered. So I like to let all those people know how much I appreciate their support just because I honestly do. It just takes a few seconds to post a thank you reply!
What was your experience like in DWTS: Live In Las Vegas?
I can’t even describe how much I enjoyed my time on that show! Vegas is such a party town, but I actually didn’t go out all that often. It was more about the day to day coming into work and laughing with all my friends on the show. To be fair, I ran into some obstacles at the start of the contract. I got strep throat after 4 days of being there, and then a week in I sliced the back of my hand cutting some watermelon in the green room! Then I had a knee problem so I was convinced that Vegas was bad for me! But I got over all that and by the end I was super sad to leave. The show was great too and we played to really packed and loud audiences most nights so it always felt like a fun atmosphere.
You have traveled and worked all over the world. Do you have a city or country that you’ve visited or lived that has special meaning for you?
I have a few favorite cities. My first one would have to be New York. To go there for a holiday would be amazing but for me to wake up on my first day there not knowing anyone or anything about the city, I was captivated. I walked around for so long before I had to be in for work, just looking at the buildings. So different. But I have a love of European cities, I just think the history, culture and flavor that very European city has is so unique compared with the rest of the world; it’s unmistakable. Other cities I think are beautiful would include Vancouver and Sydney. I will always love what I consider to be my city though, London. Everyone must go there.
Please tell us a little about what you like to do when you’re not dancing on DWTS. We would love to get to know you better.
I’m always changing my mind! I have a few consistent hobbies though. Cooking is a major one. It really makes me happy whipping something up in the kitchen, I especially like to cook with a lot of color so lots of veg and greens. I also love coffee and tea and would quite happily walk from café to café if I could! I love to walk and am generally quite healthy. I write a fair bit too though not as much as I used to. I used to write everyday, just journal bits and bobs. I do think the only downfall to being a performer is you don’t always have to exercise the old brain cells! Sound so harsh, but kind of true. I sometimes miss having a non-physical work project to manage. Maybe I’ll do something with that in the future. I also love to obsess about the home I haven’t yet got! I can be quite domestic.
Is there anything you would like to say to your supporters?
There are a million things I want to say to my supporters! Each and everyone nice comment I receive is truly felt by me and I would love to thank everyone who has ever shown me support in anyway, it really goes a long way in this business. Without touching on the ‘Hippy’ side of things, I believe in the kindness of people and it really makes a difference. So thank you again to anyone who has taken the time to support me. I’m very very happy to entertain people. :)
Thanks to Emma for her kindness and for taking time out of her schedule to answer our questions. I think all of us here at MacManiacs.org have a new appreciation for not only Emma but our entire DWTS Troupe. Please remember to follow Emma on Twitter. @EmmaSlaterDance