Emma is preparing for the DWTS Caribbean Cruise and Sasha is in Australia with family, but that didn't stop them from answering your questions. Hear what they have to say about those crazy fusion dances, embarrassing moments on stage, and the dancers and choreographers that they admire.
Last season we saw the addition of fusion style dances to DWTS. If you were asked to choreograph such a dance (and you had full control of the dance), which two styles would you use and how would you envision the dance coming together?
Emma: I would love to dance a Tango/Rumba. I’m sure there are a few Latin & Ballroom dancers who would say that - it’s a winning combo. Both dances are very passionate, tend to be serious and can draw the same kind of emotions from the audience. I like the more passionate/fierce dances the best! I think I would want to theme it around jealousy or perhaps the girl would be a temptress and seduce a somewhat shy man. Of course you have to play to the strengths of your partner/celebrity too but if you can be so involved and committed in the dance, you’re halfway there! During the creation of the dance you have to think of set, lights and costume to fit the vision you are going for. As one of the pros on DWTS, you have to know exactly what you want and be able to get your point across.
Sasha: That’s a great question. I would love to see a mixture of things. The fusion dance is an awesome way to express and mix styles together. Cha Cha and Tango and Paso with slow motion progressive Samba would be my show dance. :) I know you asked for two dances, but let’s live life on the edge!
I love to take people on a journey when they see me dance or see my work, and using those dances all in one would be some much fun to create on a couple or on a group of people.
Many of our site members comment on the use of props in various performances. Sometimes it works very well and sometimes it seems to take away from the dance. What is your opinion on props, and to what extent do you believe they should be used?
Emma: I think it varies in different circumstances. For instance, in Trio week, the Bollywood themed number in season 14 that Derek performed with Maria Menounos had these stunning tapestry drapes hanging from the ceiling, they were eye-catching enough and set the scene perfectly for their dance. Along with the warm lighting, you were hit with the Bollywood feel without actually overusing the props/set. I think there are also cases where props can be overused or surplus to requirement, in any dance performance. If you have a table as part of your set, but the idea is you are dancing a duo with your partner, you have to find a balance of maximizing the use of the table in the dance and overusing it. It is very similar to repeating the same move/trick over and over again. You don’t want to sacrifice the quality of the dance and effectiveness of your trick by putting it in the dance at every opportunity.
Sasha: Props are always great when used correctly, but it should never take away from the dance number. I love props and background material, I have been used a lot in props last season, which was always fun.
We know about your experiences with Burn the Floor and with other productions, but could you tell us how exactly each of you ended up on Dancing With the Stars? The people on our site are very curious.
Emma: Well I ended up there because I was visiting Sash! We were on tour in South Africa, hadn’t long been together when they contacted him about joining on season 13. Through doing competitions internationally and shows like Burn the Floor, as a dancer you can get your name known within the industry as it’s is fairly intimate in the Ballroom and Latin performance world. I was thrilled for him. We spent the next three months apart while he was in LA with DWTS and I was finishing the tour with Burn the Floor. I had had a nice two year run with Burn the Floor so I decided after that contract I would go to visit Sash and open up some more doors in terms of work. I like to keep trying new things. I was in LA for two weeks and was a bit overwhelmed because Sash had told everyone about me! I had a camera interview with one of the producers and had a lovely time overall. Then both Sash and I went back to Australia to visit his family over the holidays. Early one morning I had a phone call from one of the producers, Ashley, at 5 a.m. Aussie time and I pretended to be totally awake and switched on. She told me they wanted me to come do the show for the next season along with Sash and I was over the moon with excitement and also pretty gob smacked. It was very unexpected and I only had a few days left to sort the visa out (I was an Englishwoman, in Australia, getting a US visa & my passport had half a page left in it!) But I rushed like a woman possessed and the Visa office lady was such a star to me, I ended up arriving to LA 20 minutes before Sasha did on another flight!
Sasha: Well I was a pro on the Australian DWTS, and then I was going to continue with it as I had so much fun, but it was decision time, because Burn the Floor needed me to join the show because they were putting on a new show to take to Broadway and needed me . But I loved the experience on DWTS in Australia and India and know I WANT to be a pro on the USA DWTS.
I think I have proved that I can be a pro after being on 3 season as a troupe member, so my fingers and toes are crossed, but I must say being in the troupe is so much fun and I’m very grateful for my job and how all this has turned out.
What do you like or enjoy the most about being on Dancing With the Stars?
Emma: There are so many things. I get to perform on the number one rated show in America every week and do one thing in the world I love to do - dance. Dance has given me such much experience and I’m so grateful for the opportunities it brings. And DWTS in particular has taken me to LA (which I love!) and allows me to be involved in a fast paced, high energy TV show that’s hugely popular. Entertaining is a massive part of it, and every week, all the dancers (and celebs) get to stand in front of the US audience and entertain their butts off! Dancing is art, so it’s like seeing your painting up at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. DWTS brings a lot of good people together and we have great time filming it with great friends too.
Sasha: Dancing and expressing yourself. It’s always good to pick characters when you dance, that you have always dreamed of being, and telling a story on live television. :)
And of course I love the fans. You guys are so good to me and I’m very grateful for everything you guys are doing for myself and Emma.
Everyone is so nice and it’s such a great atmosphere to be in.
There are so many different types of celebrities who appear on DWTS – athletes, musicians, television personalities, actors, etc. Obviously everyone is different and has different strengths and weaknesses, but is there any one type of celebrity that you would like to dance with on DWTS at some point? Why?
Emma: Yes, I would like to see more comedians! They are the most entertaining to watch and I wouldn’t mind being partnered to one because who wouldn’t love that! It would be so enjoyable coming up with suitable dances and funny ideas. I grew up watching the old English classic comedies. Comedians give a different energy to the competition, they are often big personalities. Very refreshingly honest too. Kirstie Alley had me in stitches a number of times and was great in the show. The only possible down side to casting a lot of comedians is they are extremely likeable and popularity can sometimes take them further in the competition rather than the dancing. But really, that’s the same with any celebrity in the show!
Sasha: I would love to dance with anyone who wants to learn, but if I could pick someone it would be one of the Olsen twins. That way we could even change it up and swap one each week. The reason why I said them is I think they would be a lot of fun.
We asked Tristan this question once, and the response was hilarious. Have either of you ever had any embarrassing moments while performing – such as a wardrobe malfunction, forgotten choreography, etc?
Emma: Well it’s funny because this has been asked to me a few times now in the onstage questions during our recent shows with Tristan & Chelsie. In London, Tristan and I did a show called Dirty Dancing (the stage version of the famous film). During Act 2, my first appearance is as an 8 year old girl in a multi-colored dress. Myself and two other female dancers (also dressed as young girls) play a game of ‘Tug of War’ with a HUGE long rope and playing against us is the actor who is playing Neil in the show. Neil wins the game and all three of us girls fall to the ground. Only this time I fell to the floor as usual, but my dress got caught in the revolve (This is a mechanism that makes up the whole floor of the stage, allowing it to move in multiple different ways, in circles/up & down etc). For some reason when I fell and got caught, the stage started revolving in a circle when it wasn’t supposed to, taking me with it stuck on the floor. So the next scene begins with Baby & Neil and I’m going round face down on the floor behind them! That was pretty embarrassing!
Sasha: Every dancer forgets choreography at one point in their career, but my embarrassing moment was in Burn the Floor. As I was finishing one of my solos I danced of into the wing, but the only problem was it wasn’t a wing it had a fake curtain, so I panicked and I had to dance back onto the stage to get off. I heard the audience giggle a little.
As a professional dancer, your career has probably been influenced by many teachers, choreographers, and performers. Is there any one person that comes to mind that had a strong influence on your life as a dancer?
Emma: One of the reasons why I started is that my parents took me to a Latin demonstration when I was 10 at a local dance school’s annual party. I watched this stunning couple dance a Paso Doble (I remember one of the highlights she dropped into splits) as I adored it. I wanted to do that type of dancing from then on. It turns out that years later I would be competing and performing in shows like Strictly Ballroom and Burn the Floor and that same male dancer who I watched when I was 10 became one of my closest friends and he still is! His name is Gary Wright. In terms of influence, I think watching him dance was a big reason I started dancing Latin and Ballroom dancing when I did.
Sasha: I would have to say Michael Jackson, and Ballroom dancers Michael and Joanna.
It’s hard to keep track of your very busy schedules! Emma, we know you have the cruise coming up, and there have been tweets about more Ballroom With A Twist dates. We would love to keep our site members updated on where you will be, so it would be great if you could give us a rough idea of what you have planned for the next few weeks. We’re happy to post it for you.
Emma: I’m very lucky to be heading off to the Caribbean for the Official DWTS cruise on board Holland-America Lines. Rehearsals begin on Monday and the cruise finishes on Feb 23rd.
After that Sasha and I will have more dates with @GrndProductions in late February. We will keep you posted with the dates and places. These are mainly demonstrations, master classes and performances. There is also the possibility of some more dates in early March with Ballroom with a Twist so we will let you know!
Hopefully with a few weeks we will hear from DWTS about season 16 and we will let you know as soon as we do! :)
In June and July we have scheduled three more DWTS cruises around Alaska and the Caribbean. July and August we have some show dates arranged but will confirm and post them at a later date.
Thank you SO MUCH for your support! Sending you guys much love!! :D xx
Sasha: I am visiting family at the moment in Australia and will be back on the 19th , so for me I will be waiting for the call from DWTS.
But as soon as we book stuff I will let you know. We really appreciate all your work into this. Thank you so much.