TV star Amanda Kloots and dancer Alan Bersten talk ‘Dancing With the Stars Live Tour’

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DANCING WITH THE STARS - Season 30 - ALAN BERSTEN, AMANDA KLOOTS. Credit: ABC

By Jackie Moe

With its mix of stars, glitzy costumes, and breathtaking dance numbers, fans and non-fans alike of the ABC television show “Dancing With the Stars” are sure to marvel at its live touring production. 

“Dancing With the Stars — Live Tour 2022,” which celebrates its 30th season with fan-favorite pro dancers and featured celebrities, will be at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa on March 17 for two shows at 4pm and 8pm. The tour also makes stops at Thousand Oaks (March 13), San Diego (March 15) and Riverside (March 16).

The season 29 Mirrorball Champion TV personality Kaitlyn Bristowe and season 30 fan-favorites TV personality and Broadway star Amanda Kloots, country singer Jimmie Allen, and NBA superstar and Season 30 Mirrorball Champion Iman Shumpert will be joining for half of the tour.  

The show continues its legacy of performing routines from the TV show alongside new numbers choreographed specifically for the live show, ranging from the Quickstep and Foxtrot to sizzling Latin styles like the Cha Cha, Salsa, and Tango. 

Backstage SoCal chatted with Amanda Kloots and professional dance partner Alan Bersten about the upcoming tour. Their natural, fun banter from Season 30 has continued well beyond the show filming. 

What does it mean to you to be back performing live shows?

Alan: We’ve been on the road already for two months and it’s amazing, you know, seeing all the fans and seeing the different cities. It’s been two years since we got abruptly ended and it just feels so good to be back on the road and dancing. It’s gonna be so much more special with Amanda there just cause I feel like this last season was a really good season as far as dancing and personalities. And as far as the show, it was season 30 and I think they did a really good job.

Amanda: And being with the funnest partner you’ve ever had, right Alan?

Alan: Oh, the funnest. (laughs)

Amanda: So fun, love it. I’m so excited. I mean, I’ve done three national Broadway tours, so I’ve toured the country before. But it’s been a long time since I’ve done that and played these kinds of theaters. And I obviously follow everybody on Instagram and seeing how much fun they are having and how much fun the audience is having; I’m a little nervous, I won’t lie about that, but I’m excited.

Alan, I read somewhere that you had described Amanda as “the dance partner of your dreams.” What makes her particularly special?

Alan: Nightmare, I said nightmare. (Laughs) No, she definitely has been a dream. It was so much fun. It was a carefree season and we honestly just had the time of our lives. We were so blessed to make it to the finale and now we get to dance together on the tour where there’s zero stress, we don’t have to learn any new numbers. We kind of just get to go and have fun. It’s gonna be magical. I am excited, especially because they’re dances that we’ve done before.

Amanda: Yeah, I would just like to say I am the partner of his dreams. (laughs) No, you know, we just had a lot of fun. Alan and I from day one just clicked. We had a good rapport and I’m excited to get back into it as well. I’m so glad that everything worked out in order for me to be able to join in on these last two weeks of the tour, just to have like one little last dance moment.

Alan: Yeah. And it’s fun for us because it changes up the show a little bit when we get a new celebrity. It’s like a new refreshing show for us.

You’ve had a little time off from dancing, Amanda, and now you’re jumping on the tour with the same dance numbers. Do you feel like you’re going to naturally get back into it? How are you preparing?

Amanda: I asked Alan and a couple of the dancers for recommendations of someone I could work with while I was here in LA. They’re on tour so they’re in a different city every night, so it’s not possible for me to rehearse with them or with Alan.

So I’ve been on my own time just working with a trained ballroom teacher and he has been working with me and just learning my dances, just so that they’re in my body. It was November that the show ended, so I just wanted to refresh that part of my brain and remember everything and then Alan could whip me back into quick shape when I see him.

Alan: Yeah. I’ve been praying a lot. (laughs) No, it we’re definitely gonna practice at least once before the show at least.

Amanda: I come from the Broadway world where like, if you are a replacement….which I’m basically like replacing Kaitlyn (Bristowe) is how my brain works… so if you’re a replacement, you rehearse every day for two weeks, from like 10 to six before your opening night. Every time I talk to Alan or anybody they’re like, oh my god, you’re going to be fine. It’s gonna be amazing. But I’m like, okay, getting a little nervous over here. (laughs)

You were a former Rockette, and you dance so seamlessly. I’m sure it’s not going to be an issue. I just don’t know how you have been able to find time in your schedule now. How do you balance so much?

Amanda: It’s crazy. It is jam packed, as it always has been. I mean, it’s like just hour by hour right now. I actually just finished dance rehearsal with my teacher and now I’m headed into a writing session in between this interview. So yeah, it’s insane lately with finding time, but that’ll also be nice about being on tour because I’ll just be able to focus on that for a while.

What dance number is both of your favorites?

Alan: We’ll be doing three numbers together. We’re doing “Titanium,” “It Had to Be You,” and our fusion, which was “Never Tear Us Apart.” And honestly, I get to do those on tour right now with one of the professional dancers and they’re such good dances that we really didn’t have to change them from when Amanda and I did it. So it’s going to be really fun for Amanda to be able to step into those again. She also has a few group numbers, so she has her work cut out for her.

Amanda: Yeah, I love all of the numbers that we get to do. “It Had to Be You” is always one I’ll cherish as one of my favorites. It’s very Broadway, so it feels like very much in my wheelhouse. But I love all of them, I really do. And going back and relearning them these last couple weeks has been really fun too, because they sort of are coming back in my head and it’s like, oh, I love this!

Alan: Yeah, it’s gonna be a lot of fun. I think the show is so much dancing and so much personality that so far the fans have been loving it and I can’t wait for them to see Amanda shine.

How has Dancing With the Stars changed your life, Amanda?

Amanda: Dancing just has always been a part of my life. I started dancing when I was 10 years old and then obviously it was my career for 17 years. So it feels like home to me whenever I get to dance. Before Dancing With the Stars, I had taken several years off to create my fitness business and become a mom. So it wasn’t something that I was doing every day anymore. So I think when I did Dancing With the Stars, it was like, I felt like I was coming back home.

So I think I just got that strength from remembering how passionate I am about it. And getting to learn all these cool new dance styles that I’ve never done before and gaining a new friend in Alan, and having so much fun every day. It wasn’t hard to be strong because I would’ve done that job for free. I would do it again for free.

Alan: I would ask for double in pay to do it again. (laughs)

Amanda: I’m surprised he said yes to what he got paid to have to work with. He needs double pay to work with me. No, but I think Alan and I both share that passion of how much we love to dance. So, it’s easy to gain strength from something you love.

Alan: Absolutely. Some people might feel like it’s a job, but it was honestly just so much fun that it went by so fast, you know? Yeah, it was stressful learning dances and going through eliminations, but it was just so much fun that it didn’t really feel like we’re working.

This show’s theme is “dare to be different.” How does this fit into the live show?

Alan: For the first time on the tour there’s some same sex dancing. We had Jojo and Jenna as the first same-sex couple in Dancing With the Stars history. So we tried to keep that kind of momentum going.

So we have, I think, three numbers where that’s present. We didn’t want to just be a ballroom show, since we have all dance styles on the show. But when we go on tour, we’re most comfortable doing ballroom and Latin. But this tour, we kind of push ourselves to do other genres. So we had some amazing choreographers step in and do some phenomenal jazz and even hip hop numbers. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.

What do you want your audience to take from this live show?

Amanda: For me, I would say, I got to watch rehearsals in December before they left on tour and see everything and make sure that I kind of had an idea of what was happening.

So it was just watching the pros do what they are amazing at. They have to kind of really turn everything down a notch for the celebrities. And each week is a slower process as people get kicked off the show, that you don’t really get to see them dance. And when you come to this show, you get to see the pros shine in their element. And it is not just one to three numbers. It is like back to back to back.

And I literally remember sitting there in December, like my jaw was dropped. I could not believe that they can do this; that they can memorize everything. The energy never stops. And I think when the audience leaves, that’s what they’re going to be saying is “I don’t know how people move their bodies like that.” Every single style and every single dance is amazing. And every single professional is out of control. Like it’s just bonkers. You think you see it on the show when you watch it from your house. But like when you see them live, it’s a whole another level that you can’t explain. It is truly a gift to be able to watch them dance.

Alan: Aw shucks, Amanda. When the audience leaves, I hope they can forget about some of the worries that they had and we can just put a smile on their face. And it just means a lot because we love doing what we do every single day. So it truly is such a blessing that we are able to affect people’s days just by doing what we love to do.

Dancing with the Stars Live Tour 2022

When: Thursday, March 17, 2022, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Where: Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

How much: Tickets start at $59

Online: SCFTA.org

Tour info: https://dwtstour.com/

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