Dancer Alan Bersten won Dancing with the Stars with The Bachelorette alum Hannah Brown in 2019. Before nabbing the mirror ball trophy, the 27-year-old first made his way to Los Angeles to compete on So You Think You Can Dance at 18 and also secured a win for his team on DWTS: Juniors three years ago. Now in the middle of DWTS Season 30, Bersten sat down with LA Confidential to discuss the show, his commitment to health and fitness and his love for dance.
What’s it like behind-the-scenes of Dancing with the Stars and, for this season, being partnered with Amanda Kloots?
Well, let me start with we have zero days off. We start each week with the new dance on Tuesday.We have rehearsal Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. On Sunday, we do our first camera blocking, and that's like the first time on stage again. And then we're live on Monday. So it is very, very crunch time.
Amanda is such a hard worker and she's lived so many lives that she has so much experience, and I feel like I'm not just her teacher. I feel like we grow together. She helps me with things. We've become really good friends so that we can rely on each other. I feel like there's more than just the typical dance partner; we’re good friends. We trust each other and and we have fun while we're dancing.
I give myself a lot of pressure because I want to give Amanda the best routine. I want her going out there every Monday and feeling proud of what she's doing, so I have very little sleep. I dream about the dance… I just sit in the room and see what moves come to me and and just try to really feel like the routine has a story, that it flows, that there's a purpose behind everything.
What are you and Amanda working on at the moment?
We're doing a dive to “Don't Stop Me Now.” I'm really excited. It's Queen night. I mean Queen is just iconic, so the music is so fun and it really gets you excited to dance. And Amanda and I really want to do the jive, so we're very excited for this week.
Dancing with the Stars: Live! starts in January. What are you looking forward to about the tour?
I'm so excited to go back on the road and meet everyone again. I've been touring with Dancing with the Stars for the last six or seven years, and so to have this last year off, I didn't know what I was doing with myself. I just stayed home all day. It's gonna be so fun to be back on the road, in different cities, seeing the fans. They probably miss the show so much. You know that feeling you get when you walk out on stage in front of thousands of live people and they're all cheering and having fun and you can make them smile? It's the best feeling in the world. So I'm very excited to get back on stage, dance, interact with the audience and experience America again.
You are a big advocate for personal health and wellness. How do you prioritize your well-being?
I try to stay as active as possible. I work out a lot. I also try to recover as much as possible. I do saunas and ice baths. So I really try to take care of my body, and lately I've been really strict on what I eat. I feel like what you put in your body is what you're going to get out of it, so I've been trying to be very healthy with that as well. And I feel like that's made the biggest adjustment in my physical life. I've always been very active in working out, but in the last few months I became very strict with my diet. And it's not even that I was on a diet. My meals, I would just eat a certain amount of this and this, and it had the best results.
I love dance so much. I love that I'm able to use my body and influence the way people feel just by doing something that I love. I think if someone's trying to become a dancer, they should really do it for the right reasons if they really love it because it's gonna be hard. It's not always gonna be easy. You put your body through so much, you put your mental health through so much. Especially if you're going on auditions and are just really going for it, I think it's so important that you realize why you're doing it and why you love it.
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You started dancing as a kid. When and why did you decide to pursue dance as a career?
I started dancing at seven years old. I grew up in Minnesota. Dancing wasn't very big. My parents made me start it and I loved it. My brother and sister and I, we all danced. And I don't know why I was so drawn to it, but I loved it and at 18 I had auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance and I was so grateful for that opportunity. After that, I lived in Los Angeles for about six months before I joined Dancing with the Stars. At that time, I was doing auditions and just hustling. The one good thing about dance is, for me, it's also a release. It helps me get through emotions. So part of that is there's the tough side of dancing, but when you are dancing, for me at least, it lets me dance through those emotions that I'm feeling and it actually helps my mental health. But there were struggling times and then, luckily, I got to interview for Dancing with the Stars and my dreams started becoming a reality.
At my dance studio, we were such a community. We were all family. I never really felt like I missed out on my childhood. I feel so lucky that I got to find my passion early on...I was so lucky that at a young age, I knew that this is what I wanted to do and I would do anything to make it happen. And so I feel so blessed that I was able to dance throughout my childhood and and turn that into not just a job and a career, but my life.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Dancing with the Stars airs on ABC.
Photography by: John Lamparski/Getty Images; Courtesy Alan Bersten