Sasha and Emma are two of the kindest, most fan-friendly people we could ever hope to meet, and they very kindly agreed to a special “he said, she said” interview with us. We asked both Sasha and Emma the same questions, and here you get to see another side to the extraordinary performers, choreographers, and artists that we see each week on Dancing With the Stars. Be sure to follow them both on Twitter: @SashaFarber @EmmaSlaterDance
***It is the DWTS off-season and we miss seeing you dance! Tell us a little of what you have planned for the next couple of months.
Sasha: Well, we are going to spend Christmas and New Year here in Los Angeles and relax and unwind. And in January, we start touring the USA doing demonstrations and shows.
Emma: It’s really panned out well over the next few months as Sasha and I have a solid few months of dancing. After the show finished it was kind of a mad rush to be honest! (We moved house 2 days after the season then flew to England to see my family which was fab.) We will spend the Christmas/New Year period here in LA where we start rehearsals for a show called Ballroom with a Twist which is touring the US constantly. We have dates with them all through January and February so I’m really excited about doing that because I adore performing onstage. Also in this break, we are also performing our own demonstrations in a series of shows involving some more of the DWTS pros over 4 weekends in Jan. It’s always fun working in a group of people from the show and I get to see a little more of the US. Also in February for me is the official ‘Dancing with the Stars Cruise’ in the Caribbean! I was over the moon when they told me! I’ve never been so I’m very happy about that one, plus I have a lot of good friends from DWTS Live in Las Vegas who are also doing the cruise.
***Season 15 was a season of All Stars, but it was also a season with a new judging system, new dances, and new themes. What are your favorite memories from the All-Stars?
Sasha: Season 15 was amazing. There were so many great memories; one of mine was doing the trio with Apolo and Karina. Working with those two was so much fun, and Karina is such an amazing dancer and character. It was a dream come true. And another memorable moment was choreographing with Emma Slater to Taylor Swift. Really had to pinch myself for that one. :)
Emma: The Allstars seemed to me like it had no limits in terms of production. I was pretty amazed at the effort involved in creating unique looks and concepts for every single dance. I think my favorite week in general was the week where the celebrities choose the theme, concepts and ideas for the dance. Gilles got to fly, Maks drove a Union Jack Mini Cooper into the studio (I was very jealous) and Emmitt and Cheryl had a donkey in their number! That was a super interesting week. So I have to congratulate DWTS for pushing the boat out even further than last season. There are often some good moments in the show that sadly you won’t see because they are in the dress rehearsals. One of the moments I remember was when 4 of the couples did a group dance to “Call Me Maybe” for the first time, in week 5. In the dress run when we first saw it, Sabrina got stuck in the prop locker towards the end of the dance and she didn’t come out at all until the whole thing finished. It was quite funny! I have to add though that Joey Fatone in general was one of the best things about the Allstars, he was priceless.
***Sasha, tell us about working with Tristan and Pamela in their finale dance. We hope you had as much fun dancing as we had watching!
It’s always a pleasure working with Tristan, he is such a talented dancers and his idea really came across on TV. He always does a great job and our rehearsals were fun. What can I say working in the same room as Pamela Anderson, can’t be all that bad can it! That number that Tristan did was a lot of fun, and everyone loved it, Pamela did an awesome job, and I would have loved to see them more in the competition.
Emma, tell us about the intro to Apolo and Karina’s Foxtrot - The makeup, the positioning, everything! How did it happen and how did the concept even originate?
I think it may have been Apolos’s idea! Karina was a Roman statue also, only she said there’s no way we’d get a paint brush near her so we gave up on that! Plus she would have got it all over his suit when they danced too. But Oksana and I were dressed in special roman toga costumes with thick rubber head caps made to look like statue hair. There was so much work involved in that it was the longest time I’ve ever been in the make-up trailer for sure. They coated Oksana and I once and it wasn’t white enough on camera. So someone had to go out of the studios and buy a thick white paint make-up. Then after another 2 coats it still wasn’t totally white so they got the spray gun out! … I was still finding it in my ears 2 days after! And it really sticks to your eyebrows and eye lashes. The next week I told them I wanted 4 coats of spray tan on! But I was so happy doing it because I love being a character and having a specific idea behind each performance, no matter what I’m portraying. I loved figuring out my statue poses, it’s the actress in me trying to get out!
***Here is our “I wish” question. If you had been partnered with a celebrity in Season 15, which of the celebrities would you have liked to have as your partner? Why? Looking ahead, who is your “dream celebrity partner”?
Sasha: I would of loved to dance with Shawn. She is a great character and such a nice person. That girl has so much heart and determination it really is great to watch her dance. I guess my dream partner would be someone who wants to learn. That's all I need. :)
Emma: I’m going to say Apolo. Karina got into some really advanced technique with him, and you could see him constantly processing the information. And if not for the fact that he tried his absolute best all the time then probably because I would be hanging around backstage with Karina and him a lot and we would always end up having a laugh. They had a good relationship with each together and I adore people who can have fun and look on the bright side of things.
My dream celebrity partner?? RYAN GOSLING!!!! :P I would love to become a professional on the show, it’s a goal of mine. I would like to add an English injection in there! I will have to keep pestering DWTS, and I’ll put in my request for Ryan Gosling!!
***Of all the themes you’ve seen on DWTS during your seasons on the show, which would you most like to choreograph and use in a performance?
Sasha: My favorite so far was the Michael Jackson theme I have always looked up to him and he is a dance Icon.
Emma: Well I loved the screen idea that Ricki Lake & Derek used in their Tango for Season 14. I’ve wanted to use that one since! But I love pretty much most of his stuff, he’s super at choreography. There are a couple of ideas I’ve thought up recently but I if could recycle other ideas used in previous seasons one of them would probably be when Maks and Kirstie Alley did a Charleston and Kirstie came out of a big cake! I think Maks was a chef! I loved that idea and it really suited the Charleston. I also really liked Cheryl’s trio dance from season 14 when she danced with William Levy. She had Paso Doble. Tony Dovolani and William played bad guy and good guy trying to win the girl and it came off really well. The music was perfect.
***You were in many dances in Season 15. What is your favorite? Thinking back further, what is your favorite performance overall since you’ve been on DWTS?
Sasha: My favorites were the Sugarland performance in season 14, where I danced with all the girls :) and the trio with Apolo and Karina.
Emma: I really adored being Little Red Riding Hood in Episode 2 of the Allstars season. It was a fairy tale classy rumba piece, with lots of red fabric! Rumba is one of my favorites. I think that would have to be my favourite. Another number I really enjoyed was the one in fusion week. The number was to the song We Run the Night and it totally appealed to me because it had a crazy fierce energy to it and I like dancing powerful, dynamic type dances. Kind of sexy!
***Speaking as a choreographer, what is the most difficult number you’ve ever created? Similarly, as a dancer, what is the most difficult number you’ve ever performed? (either on DWTS or elsewhere)
Sasha: I can’t say that there was a difficult number yet , because it is what I love to do and there have been so many. Finding a story of something that can’t be done in real life, something that is a fantasy, being someone or something and portraying it through the art of dance, telling a story through dance - dance is the worldwide language that is spoken around the world. So it’s about making the story clear for the viewers and taking them on a ride they will never forget, making sure that everytime the viewers hear the same song all they can think of is my choreography.
Emma: I assisted in the choreography for Usher’s performance of Scream at the American Billboard Awards this year and although that wasn’t too difficult, we had to choreograph it without either Usher or his female partner being there. Plus he had to sing live so the duet couldn’t hinder his singing either. But I was very glad to do it. The most difficult number I’ve performed was actually a number on Burn the Floor, a Ballroom and Latin show previously on Broadway. There’s a number in the show where a girl gets blindfolded and dances rumba with 6 men. It’s very real though, and you honestly can’t see a thing. I had to rely solely on the men leading me and taking me carefully. It’s sometimes very scary as the connections differ from boy to boy. You have to adjust super fast.
***Both of you have built up quite the fan base and an amazing support system since you’ve been on Dancing With the Stars and you both have many ardent supporters even within our website. Here’s your chance to say a little something to your fans!
Sasha: I am just so happy and over whelmed with all the support I have been getting, and I will continue to make all my fans proud and never ever stop learning. Thank you so much for all the support and comments I read and appreciate every single one of them. And if there are any question you want me to answer please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org [we will forward your questions to Sasha], and I will answer them for you. I hope all my fans have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year and I hope I can make you all proud next season, if DWTS WILL HAVE ME BACK! :)
Happy holidays everyone
Follow me on twitter @sashafarber
Emma: I want to thank everyone who has ever supported me and my career, it makes a huge difference to me. I appreciate it so much. I enjoy going on Twitter because of you! I feel very lucky; without the following and support of you lovely people, there would be no way for performers like myself to progress in an industry that relies so much on fanbase. So thank you sooooooooo much! And I would just like to add that I was lucky enough to do an interview for Macmaniacs.org during the last season of DWTS and I was overwhelmed with the amount of lovely responses I received. So particularly to Macmaniacs.org, thank you!
Hope you all enjoy the Holidays and a Happy New Year! xxxxx
Thanks to Sasha and Emma for taking time during their holidays to answer these questions. They are truly lovely, generous people, and DWTS is fortunate to have them!
Season 16 promises to be a mess, but not as big of a mess as Season 15 which, in our humble opinion, just flat out stank up the place. From start to finish (with the exception of the Melissa and Tony win which was well-deserved), we found the whole thing kind of predictable from the standpoint of favoritism, gimmicks, the new crappy point system which seemed to be applied indiscriminately, and idiotic overscoring for mediocre routines. But enough about Season 15, because it’s, well, so last season. We’re going to be talking a lot about Season 16 over the next few weeks. Here is what we expect to happen.
Disclaimer: We are never right so don’t count too much on any of this happening.
***Derek Hough will be back. Don't let all of the press fool you. In spite of his early season claim that he was moving on, we think he will return. There was way too much drama in the finale (tears) for him to stop now. Not only that but we’re sure that Derek wants another MBT and in spite of rumors that he could be sitting in a judges’ chair, we’re not buying it.
***Tristan MacManus is going to get a ringer. No doubt about it, he’s going to get the best, most talented, most well-respected dancer/singer/dancer/actress/performer/dancer who also has a fan base of gazillions, and someone who has founded her own charity to promote world peace. She's going to be lovely, he's going to be perfection, and they will trounce the competition every week with their stellar dance skills and blindingly bright charisma. Too much? Not a chance. It’s going to happen.
***Valentin Chmerkovskiy will have his shirt permanently attached to his person because that’s the only way we can watch him dance again. He probably should have his pants attached too because he has developed a tendency to lose those as well. Okay, who are we kidding. We know he'll be back, and he will be baring it all week after week, and we will have to cover our eyes because all that naked skin is, well, too much for our impressionable young selves. We think they may give him a partner that'll make it to week 3 but that's about it.
***Tony Dovolani will not get a ringer. He got a win after more seasons than we can count, but don’t count on a two-peat. We think he just might get a stinker. We think there are other pros more deserving of the stinkers, but the ABC gods haven’t always been kind to Tony. They've given him only a handful of decent partners over the years, but they never give him someone great twice in a row. He rightly won last season. He won’t even get close this time around.
***In four seasons, the role of the DWTS Troupe has fluctuated as wildly as our hormones, and we think their role will be diminished somewhat and the focus will get back to the regular pros. We miss seeing our pros dance, and while we love the troupe, this season was too hectic, too wild, and too much. We need some peace and quiet at our age, and some of those dances had so many people in them our eyes crossed, rolled back in our heads, and gave us migraines. Not to mention that it's getting more and more challenging to watch the pro dances when there are 30 people dancing all at once. The dance floor just isn't big enough for all of them and our eyeballs are stressing out because of it. Here’s the thing: we like to know where Tristan is (or Sasha or Henry or any of them) when they dance; last season it was impossible to focus on anybody.
***There will be plenty more crazy gimmicks such as a Beverly Hillbillies Lambada, a Matrix inspired Polka, a My Mother the Car Tango/Macarena Fusion Dance, a Bonanza Meets Gunsmoke Viennese Waltz, a Star Trek Electric Slide (complete with Spock ears), a Survivor Bump (as in the 70s), and a Cirque du Soleil Rumba (this one’s for you Derek). And don’t forget the Psycho Samba. That should put an interesting twist on things.
***The Dance Duel will literally be a Dance Duel. The two teams will face each other from opposite ends of the dance floor and just duke it out – kind of like mud wrestling or death by flicks and kicks. Forget the dancing because that’s never really mattered anyway. We might even see something like Mark slap Maks across the face with a pair of fencing gloves. This will be hardcore.
***Tristan MacManus and whoever he is dancing with (with the exception of any of us) will get the first 10 of the season and that will come in Week 3. It will be for his amazing Rumba with the Ringer mentioned above. We will all be happy for him of course but we'll also be freezing cause we'll all have to pack ourselves in ice in order to recover from the hotness of said Rumba with Tristan and said Ringer.
***One of the female pros won’t be back, and we’re not sure it’s going to be Cheryl. In a surprise move, the new pro won’t be Emma or Sharna, but Oksana who is the only original troupe member remaining. We haven’t gotten to see a lot of her choreography, but she can move, and she’s feisty. We like feisty. We also think she’s been very underused during her 4 season on the show. She's paid her dues, It’s time to let her shine.
***The Marathon Dance will return to the absolutely puke inducing disgust, er, we mean delight, of DWTS fans worldwide. After all, it’s so fair and objective. You put all of the couples out on the floor and the judges pick them off one by one starting with the most aged or least skilled celeb, or perhaps the one who just needs the point boost will stick around the longest.
***Yes, there will be a fourth judge, but it will change every week. Gotta keep it fresh, after all. The rumored rotating judges for Season 16 are: Carrot Top, Snooki and JWOW (because life after Jersey Shore is gonna be tough), Honey Boo Boo, and Scooby Doo.
These are just our early predictions, you understand. We’ll have many more as all those crazy rumors keep coming in. We’ll be matching them up, whining a lot, and re-predicting our predictions. We hope you enjoy the ride.
We admit it. Season 15 had a spectacular ending because it was unexpected, and we screamed louder than anybody when Tony and Melissa won. We are still a little bitter that Tristan and Pamela really didn’t get a chance this season, and some people on the show haven’t been very nice with their comments – even recently. So we’re bringing out our Season 15 awards, and as you can tell by their title, we might just be a little snarky, but that's okay. Agree or not, this is how we saw the season. Overall, it was a huge disappointment for many reasons, but the end result was actually kind of wonderful.
And so the awards begin:
Worst Use of a Towel On Any Occasion - Gilles. We need therapy as a result. We will also be sending him the bill.
Best Announcement of a Winner – Ever – Tom Bergeron. His own joy almost equaled that of Tony and Melissa.
The Team that Won Over the Most Fans – Tony and Melissa - Week after week the mighty fell and we were left with Derek and Shawn, Val and Kelly, and Tony and Melissa. For most of us, it was a no-brainer, and yes, we do believe it was a landslide.
The That Was Not Very Nice Award – To ABC for leaving Tristan and Pamela (and Mark and Bristol) out of team dance reprisals. We don’t care how many people were supposed to be in it; either do it fairly or not at all.
The That Was Not Very Nice Award 2 – Leaving Pamela out of Dance Center. Boo.
The That Was Actually Kind of Icky Award – Val for even thinking of ever wearing a Speedo, particularly on live national television. Surfer dudes don’t surf in Speedos – that would be a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen, so go for a little authenticity. Board shorts would be good although still questionable for a Flamenco - even a Surfer Flamenco. Dancing in a Speedo is just wrong.
The Red Swimsuit Was Clever But The Only Baywatch Babe on DWTS Is Pamela Anderson - Kelly Monaco for giving it a good try but nobody wears it better than Ms. Pamela.
The We Wanna Have Legs Like Her Award - Melissa Rycroft. We wouldn’t mind having those abs either. She has a kid and also a six pack. We have kids and, um, well.....don't.
The Welcome Back Sizzling Hot Chemistry Award – We really missed seeing Tristan and Kym dance in Season 14, but boy, oh boy, they made up for it in Season 15. From start to finish it was a big old chemical reaction, and we loved it! More, please.
The Should Have Been in the Finals Award – Apolo and Karina. This was obvious.
The GImme a Ringer So I Can Finally Get An Encore Performance Award – Tristan MacManus
The Gimme A Ringer So I Can Finally Get the Pimp Spot Award – Tristan MacManus
The We Ain’t Buyin’ What Your Sellin’ Award – Val and Kelly’s Showmance – We must not have been watching what some others were watching because we never saw a real sexy chemistry with these two. Kelly is an actress, and Val looked dazed most of the time – not in lust, love, or in heat. Just out of it.
The Dances That Should Never, Ever Be Performed Again on DWTS or Anywhere Else - Knight Rider Bhangra, Caveman Hustle, Surfer Flamenco. The Espionage Lindy Hop and the Big Top Jazz were kind of fun though.
The If You Don’t Follow the Rules You’re Gonna Be Toast Award – Derek and Shawn for the Quickstep, Part 1 and Part 2.
The Overuse of Extras – Derek and Shawn for the Freestyle - Honestly? The Fierce 5 It didn’t add anything. It’s weird because it made the performance less memorable than it could have been. We remember Shawn’s freestyle with Mark because it was all about the dancing; we don’t remember the Derek and Shawn freestyle for anything more than one great non-dancing related trick and some gymnastics.
The Oh No You Didn’t Award and The You’ll Never Be On the Cover of GQ Award – Tie: Gilles and the “viewing” during the Gangnam Style team dance and Val stripping down to a Speedo – which was bad enough but laughable when you see Gilles in a towel while wearing black dance shoes. Same with Val. Um, that was the best part. Those black shoes. Probably had socks on too. We always wear socks and dance shoes when surfin’ or showerin’.
The Best Use of Extras Award – Tristan MacManus and Pamela Anderson who had the good sense to bring out the sexy for their finale performance and brought tons of eye candy along for the journey: Sasha Farber, Henry Byalikov, Armen Way, Serge Onik, and Sonny Pedersen. Rewind anyone?
The Annoying, um, Brilliant Performer We never want to see again on DWTS – Justin Bieber.
The Please Don’t Exhale Or the Girls Will Escape Award – Sabrina and Shawn. Geez Louise. We were afraid on multiple occasions that there were going to be major wardrobe malfunctions.
Worst Costuming Decisions In the History Of DWTS – Tie: Peta and Val. All we can say is “Enough skin already.”
Best Costuming Decisions In the History Of DWTS – Tristan MacManus. Well, yeah, he was only on one week this season, but he picked a memorable costume. The ones for the finale dance were pretty memorable too.
Best Costuming Decisions In Season 15 That Didn't Involve Tristan MacManus – Cheryl Burke. She made some amazing choices this season that were perfect both for Emmitt and for her.
The Tweeter of the Year Award – Tristan MacManus for not annoying us by clogging our timelines with repetitive crap and retweets. We unfollowed many pros and troupe members as a result. We no likey the endless retweets.
The You Should Have Been In the Final 5 Award – Melissa and Tony, Apolo and Karina, Drew and Anna, Shawn and Derek, and Helio and Chelsie. Of course, we believe Tristan and Pamela should be there because we’re loyal like that, but in our humble opinion, this is how those final 5 should have ended up if you take Pamela and Tristan out of the equation.
There you have it. You probably can't wait for our Season 16 Awards.