Do you remember our “He Said – She Said” with Sasha Farber and Emma Slater from December? You guys were fascinated by their answers and then Sasha followed it up with more fun responses to those questions that we just keep thinking of. You sent us even more questions and both Sasha and Emma readily agreed to answer whatever we sent them. A big thank you goes out to two very lovely people who have not only enriched the DWTS performance stage but continue to give so freely to their fans. Thanks, Emma and Sasha!
What is your teaching approach? How do you evaluate your partner’s strengths and weakness and move forward?
Sasha: That’s an interesting question. A lot of it depends on how much they want to learn. I think everyone can dance if they want to. Put a song on and see if the person has rhythm first, and their ability to listen to music and trust. If your partner doesn’t trust you, then you’re in trouble.
Musicality is a great advantage and you can see that straight away in a person when he starts to dance. When teaching students I always choreograph to the strengths - if the couple has great speed, I tend to mix that up with slow steps, so that when it's time to show speed they look extra fast and slick so its not boring to watch.
You can tell a dancer’s strengths and weaknesses from just watching them do basics - it all comes from having a good foundation.
Emma: The more you get to know a person, the easier it is to work out what makes them ‘tick’ and what kind of learning process they favor; Some people connect to words and having something described to them, others to physically being shown the movement and observing it first hand. When you find their method of learning, you can stick to that and it will help them more. And ultimately enjoy it more too! Dancing is a fun thing to participate in, and my number one goal for myself when I teach is to make it enjoyable for my partner/pupil. I can be quite cheeky because it usually works!
Is there a favorite style of dance you would prefer to use for a beginner?
Sasha: I always take them through a journey of where the dance came from, so they have an idea of the character of the dance - basics on how to move your body in the right way and using basic life examples so it is more clear for the dancer. Dancing is very basic and you can’t learn to run before you can walk.
Emma: I like to ask them about it first, what their preference is and what type of music they like. Everyone is different and enjoys different music and styles. Its always best to get to know what kind of dances they like best so you can try to teach them exactly what they are after. And they will be happy when you realize they can dance that style! Everyone… EVERYONE can dance. :)
The dances I’ve found most people like to learn the most are Cha Cha, Rumba or Salsa.
As a dancer, you’ve been exposed to all kinds of music and performers. What type of music do you personally enjoy and who are some of your favorite recording artists?
Sasha: Well, performing alongside KISS, choreographing and dancing to Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Smokey Robinson, Santana, Kylie Minogue, and more, It's hard to say which music type I love. I love all music and everything about it. But there is something a little different to real live Latin music that I love!
I could just sit there all day watching a live Cuban band play!
Some of my favorites are
Emma: I honestly like everything. Music is essential in my life. It does wonders for my state of mind, much the same as writing actually. I enjoy a lot of 80’s classics, probably thanks to my parents for playing a lot of it when we grew up. Queen is one of the bands I grew up to love. A few that I like now are Coldplay, Adele, Neyo & Paolo Nutini. I do appreciate some good dance tunes too, oddly enough I seem to like songs with violins in them! Good lyrics will always get me too.
The piña colada song (Rupert Holmes – Escape) should be in everyone playlist! And Ordinary World by Duran Duran. :)
If you could be in any Broadway show, past or present, which one would it be?
Sasha: I performed on Broadway for 7 months and loved every second of it. I cherished every moment and will definitely be one of my highlights, but one show on Broadway I would love to be in is West Side Story!
Emma: Well I was very lucky to have done a few popular musicals. I did Broadway in 2009 with a phenomenal show called Burn the Floor and I have also done 6 West End shows during my career and appeared in Mamma Mia the movie. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and perform again in either Broadway or West End (London, UK). Best Stages in the world. My favorite one to watch was always Guy and Dolls. I just adored the era, the music, the comedy behind it. I loved that one. There is also a feisty Havana Dancer in the musical for a scene or two so I’d like to do that! I would have said Dirty Dancing but I had the pleasure of doing that show already and it was one of my favorites. :) But to be honest (and I’m sure everyone says this!) I plan to get more involved in straight acting, I’m very passionate about it. I would give a whole lot to be involved in a black comedy play. I love the art of comedy acting!
Let’s talk the Trio Dance. That happens to be one of our favorite, and we hope it comes back in Season 16. If you could choose your Trio Dance, which other pro/troupe member would you like to work with and what style of dance would you like to do?
Sasha: Well, I loved working with Karina she is so much fun, working with her was a dream come true.
I would love to do a trio dance and dance a Cha cha cha, I think that would be so much fun and would love to dance a trio with my baby Emma Slater.
Emma: I would kind of like to do an Argentine Tango/Rumba. Either one of those or a mix of the two. I live for drama in performances, you can make it very powerful. Like a love triangle between three people. I would love to work with Derek on a Trio dance. His ideas and ability to transform a piece of music into live artwork full of flavor is amazing. He has a great skill for showing the audience exactly what he wants them to see. The piece as he sees it in his mind, is exactly what he creates in front of the camera and that is a difficult thing to master. So he hits the nail on the head every time. I like that kind of 100% commitment to the piece thing! Karina performs and choreographs very much the same, and I loved watching and support her, Apollo and Sash last season in their trio!
Okay, Sasha and Emma. You have danced together many times. Which of those is your favorite performance? (DWTS, Burn the Floor, Ballroom With A Twist, or any other performance)
Sasha: I think my Favorite is ALL OF THEM, whichever one I’m doing at the time, I give 100% and enjoy every second I’m on stage or TV. :)
Emma: There was this one solo piece of swing that opened a number in Burn the Floor during Act 1 called Sway. Sash probably wouldn’t have put this! But it was slightly like a dance-off between the guy and the girl who were dancing together (Sasha and I). The music was purely drum beats and a few symbols from the percussion behind us and I remember having so much fun making that connection onstage very real. You could almost egg each other on in middle of it, and make it really fun for the audience. The cheekier it got, the better reception we had so we went to town! It wouldn’t have been the same it I was dancing with any other than Sash. We were pretty much the same onstage as we were offstage!
I have some other favorites too, I enjoyed being Red Riding Hood last season on DWTS for a rumba (which I was going to be dancing with Tristan but it didn’t end up happening!) I really loved playing Lisa Houseman in Dirty Dancing for a short term, and I vividly remember my last dance on Broadway. But dancing in the finals of the British nationals when I was 16 and competing was a really brilliant time too. Every performance could be my favorite really.
Several people from the site saw your recent performances in Ballroom With A Twist and loved the show’s energy and artistry. Of these performance so far, do you have a special memory? What city has been a personal favorite so far? Is there some city you would like to see more of?
Sasha: Well we just performed in Calgary in Canada, where we danced along side a 80 piece symphony which was an amazing feeling - dancing to live music which is made right behind you is a feeling I can’t explain.
Emma: I only did three places so far with the show! This was my first stint with the show and I honestly enjoyed every second. All the dancers on the show work so hard and are so talented. They made me feel very welcome and I guess the good nights hanging out after the show would be my favorite memories so far. It’s a bit too soon to comment on favorite cities with BWAT just yet but I have been to many US cities and towns in the past with previous tours. A few of my favorite cities would be Chicago & San Fran. I also fell for Seattle. But I could name so many, San Diego is stunning and I really enjoyed Dallas too. I’m from a smaller town in England though so I appreciate the country side and smaller towns too.
That’s it for now! As long as you’re willing to answer, we will keep sending the questions. Thanks for being so fan friendly. It really is appreciated.
Sasha: No problem I love these questions. :) Thank you all for your support.
Emma: Thank you for your questions, Glad to answer anymore you guys have!!
Love Emma x
Thanks, Emma and Sasha! Please continue to send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward them along to these two lovely pros. Be sure to follow them on Twitter: @SashaFarber and @EmmaSlaterDance