Alan Bersten of 'Dancing with the Stars' — Dancing Is the Best Kind of Stress

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday January 24, 2022
Originally published on January 18, 2022

Alain Bersten
Alain Bersten  (Source:DWTS)

It could be said that Alan Bersten worked his way up the "Dancing With The Stars" organization. He joined the show in its 22nd season in 2016 as a member of the troupe. Three seasons later he made his debut as a professional partner. He is currently touring with "Dancing with the Stars Live" for the seventh time.

The Minnesota native began dancing at the age of 7, winning a number of national championships within his age group. At 18, he was a finalist on season 10 of "So You Think You Can Dance," finishing in the top 6 for males. A highlight of his stay on the show included his blindfolded performance with Jasmine Mason — something that had never been done on the show before.

Early in his "DWTS" stay, he found himself filling in for an injured Mark Ballas. He made his debut as partner with '80s music icon Debbie Gibson. Bersten won the coveted Mirrorball trophy on season 28 with his partner, Hannah Brown of "The Bachelorette." Amonghis partners have been Olympic skater Mirai Nagasu, model Alexis Ren, and actress Skai Jackson. This season, Alan made it to the finals with his partner Amanda Kloots, whom he's thrilled to be reuniting with for a portion of cities on this tour.

One of Bersten's proudest professional moments was serving as a mentor and choreographer for the first season of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors." Under his guidance, skater and surf prodigy Sky Brown took home the victory alongside junior pro JT Church.

EDGE spoke to Bersten as the" Dancing with the Stars Live 2022" tour continues through March 27 in cities throughout the country. For more information, follow this link.

EDGE: How did you start dancing?

Alan Bersten: I started dancing at the age of 7. I grew up in Minnesota and dancing was not a normal thing there for sure. Especially ballroom dancing, but my parents are from Russia and for some reason they really loved ballroom dancing and they made me, my brother and sister start dancing. In the beginning, it was something that I wasn't sure about. I mean, what 7-year-old boy wants to dance? But then I instantly fell in love with it. I loved being able to communicate with your body and the audience in a way that sometimes words just can't.

EDGE: What has dancing given you that maybe you wouldn't have been able to find in another career?

Alan Bersten: Dancing has given me a creative outlet that has allowed me to express myself in a way I know I couldn't have gotten from anything else. Dancing has many layers and the more you dance the more you are dissecting yourself and digging into your emotions. It has really given me an opportunity to feel something that I wouldn't have felt if I didn't dance.

EDGE: How did competing on FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance?" prepare you for "DWTS?"

Alan Bersten: "SYTYCD" was my first TV show. I moved to LA at the age of 18 to compete on it. It was a whole new world that I never experienced, and it really opened up my eyes to how lucky I am. Since I started dancing, I have dreamed about being able to dance on stage. Being on the show taught me it's not always going to go amazing. You will face hardships, rejection, and eliminations, but the love of dance will take you through all that. I thank God because I am so lucky to do what I love on such a large scale both on "DWTS" and the tour.

EDGE: I know you started working on "DWTS" as a member of the troupe, then you switched to professional partner in season 25. Was it an easy transition?

Alan Bersten: Yes, it was. From the beginning I was like, "I'm ready, put me in coach." Once I was put in as a temp partner I was like, "Oh no, I'm not actually." I was very lucky enough to fill in twice before going full-time. Once for Max when he got injured and once for Mark when he hurt his back. So, having these two little experiences really helped me. My first season, I was partnered with Debbie Gibson, and I was feeling a lot of pressure because now I am not just a fill-in and I wanted her to do great.

"DWTS" is like extremely stressful, but it's the best kind of stress. Not only do I want to be successful and win, but I want my dance partner to win. Honestly, it is the greatest job.

EDGE: Tell us about winning "DWTS" season 28 with Hannah Brown. How did that feel?

Alan Bersten: Ever since I was 10 years old and started watching the show, I have wanted to be a part of it. So, when I joined the show it was a dream come true. I was so excited to just be part of the troupe and hoped that one day I would become a pro. It was the best feeling in the world when we won because we put in so much work and it paid off. Even though it's just a trophy, it's something that I will be proud of for the rest of my life. It still doesn't seem real even after 3 years. I keep the Mirror Ball trophy in my living room, and I see it every day and I still can't believe we won. It's such a surreal feeling. I want another win, because it is such an amazing experience to share with your new dance partner.

EDGE: In the 6 seasons you have been on the show as a dance partner, you have had some great partners. What did each of them teach you?

Alan Bersten: Each of them have taught me some different. Most of them have really helped me with my patience, but then the next season comes alongs and I'm like, "I need to work on my patients." Every partner is so unique, and they teach me so much. They have all taught me how important it is to have fun. The most fun I have had was when I was completing on "DWTS: Juniors." Sky Brown was my partner, and we had the best time because there were zero expectations.

This past season, Amanda Kloots was my partner and she taught me how precious life is. She taught me the importance of being grateful and to really appreciate everything I have. We became really good friends. We still talk almost every single day and she will be joining us on tour, so I am very excited about that.

EDGE: "DWTS" made history with a same-sex couple (JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson). When do you think we will see a male same-sex couple?

Alan Bersten: I think soon. I think JoJo and Jenna did a phenomenal job. They broke boundaries, and I feel like America has opened up to it. I will say on this tour there's more same sex dancing than we've ever had. Personally, I like it. I have a number with one of the boys and it's awesome. It's something that has never been done on our show and the fact that I'm able to do it on tour, in front of all these people live, is amazing. So, I think the show's ready for it and it will happen sooner than later.

EDGE: What is your favorite dance style? And Why?

Alan Bersten: I love the Argentine Tango. I think it's one of the most passionate dances to perform, but it is also super high energy and a lot of fun. Like the dance, I try to live my life very passionately.

EDGE: What do you enjoy most about touring?

Alan Bersten: We're about to start the tour and I think I was counting my blessings. This is my ninth tour with "DWTS" and it's just such a blast to be able to be in a new city every single day performing live again. It's so weird to even say because the last two years are just a blur. It's so nice to be able to go out there again in a safe way, perform in front of a live audience and bring some joy back to the cities that we visit.

EDGE: When not dancing, what can we find you doing?

Alan Bersten: Eating! I like to try new things and experience new tastes. Also, over the last year, I started playing video games. I started boxing and playing tennis. I just love to be active. Thankfully we're on tour right now and I love exploring every city we visit.

For more information on "Dancing with the Stars Live 2022!" follow this link.