Dancing With the Stars' all-athlete season is just weeks away, and ET got a firsthand look at what the intensive training will be like for the next round of celebrities gearing up to vie for the mirrorball trophy.
Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten and Artem Chigvintsev exclusively invited us to take part in their first-ever Pro Dance Camp, a three-day dance soirée in Palm Springs, California, where we learned exactly what it's like to dance with the
Held inside the stunning Riviera ballroom, 75 aspiring dancers of all different levels -- from beginners to intermediate and advanced -- traveled far and wide, coming in from states like Maine, Minnesota, Washington and North Carolina, to attend what Artem described as a ballroom "crash course," that kicked off just five days after he, Alan and Gleb wrapped their 64-city DWTS: Light Up the Night Live! tour.
"This is the first time anyone has ever done something like this," said Gleb, who started planning Pro Dance Camp with Alan, Artem and his wife, Elena, at the end of last year. "It's for the people who love dancing, for the people who are fans of the show, our fans. It's an opportunity to come and join dance class and get the chance to dance with their favorite pros from their favorite TV show. It's a lot of fun!"
Artem says creating the event was a collaborative effort. "A lot of people came together and we said, 'Let's do something, because we kind of have a little time off,'" he said of their break between the tour and DWTS. "It was a collaboration of a bunch of people … to create something where kids and adults who want to dance, we can give them a chance. If they are watching us dance on TV, why not experience it for themselves?"
"Elena has this business mind. She always gets questions and emails from people asking, 'Where can we learn how to dance? Not necessarily from Gleb, but we just wanna learn,'" Gleb added of his wife's involvement. "So, she came up with the idea of creating this getaway weekend for everyone, no matter their dance experience. There's no levels, so anyone could come."
And based on what we experienced from taking part in over six hours of dance classes, Gleb and Artem couldn't have stayed any more true to their word. As promised, the guys' workshops were fun, informative and laid-back. So, whether you've been a dancer your entire life or were just learning your first 8-count, every guest felt at ease as Gleb, Alan and Artem taught Latin, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Salsa, Jive and Paso Doble variations, with a warm-up led by DWTS troupe member Britt Stewart each morning. Additionally, fans were also given the opportunity to take private lessons from their pro dancer of choice, which the majority said was the highlight of their weekend when we chatted with them at the gala dinner.
Of course, DWTS fans on Twitter who were following the event were feeling the "FOMO," with many asking if the guys have any plans to expand the camp to more cities in the future. Alan and Artem both told ET that they'd be down, but ultimately, it's "up to Gleb" to decide.
"So far, it seems like this is a really fun place and weekend. We've met so many fans and there's a great energy about it," Gleb shared. "Personally, I would love to continue it and take it to different places. It's in the future, it's in the plan, and it would be great if we could do something like that."
For now, Gleb confirmed to ET that he's gearing up for the all-athlete season of Dancing With the Stars, which returns to ABC on Monday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET, as well as Pro Dance LA, a new studio he and Elena are opening up in West Hollywood, California. In anticipation of what's to come on the dance competition show, we're breaking down seven more things we learned from dancing and hanging out with Gleb, Alan and Artem:
1. Focus less on the steps, and more on having fun.
While chatting with ET, Gleb gave some great advice to ballroom beginners, including the 10 athletes who will be competing on DWTS later this month. "Bring yourself, bring the energy, wear something comfortable and be prepared for us to make you sweat, for sure," he said. "Bring lots of energy, have lots of fun … you don't have to be a professional dancer, or have any dance experience, to learn [ballroom]. We always create something that's accommodating and suitable for every individual person."
Added Artem, "I want people to want to come back because they had fun. Fun is always the biggest goal for me."
2. Latin is way harder than it looks on TV…
We were most surprised by the difficulty of Gleb's Latin workshop, which taught us how to use our hips in a way that's much different from other dance styles. Honestly, we now have a newfound appreciation for all the celebrities who have attempted to master this style on the show in the past. It is NOT easy!
3. ...but the Jive is just as enjoyable as you'd expect!
At the same time, we also understand why so many football players specifically excel so well in this dance genre. The fast footwork keeps you on your toes, and because of its quickness, you find yourself being challenged while still having a lot of fun with the choreography. You really have to pay attention to the counts, as well as your placement on the floor, which NFL stars can relate to when keeping track of their movement on the field.
4. There's a reason why Alan became a pro.
Alan finally received pro status on DWTS' 25th season (paired with Debbie Gibson), and after taking lessons from him, we totally get it. He makes you laugh, while being just serious enough to make sure you're understanding the content. And if you get the steps wrong, he'll call you out -- but not in a malicious way, whatsoever. He does it in a way that allows you to poke fun at your own missteps, as you prove to him (and yourself) that you can do it. His classes are all about working hard, having a blast and becoming an expert dancer without even realizing you're improving. Truly something magical!
5. Artem brings the heat!
DWTS fans and judges typically comment on Artem's chemistry with his partners, and if we learned anything during Pro Dance Camp, it's that he knows how to make everyone feel comfortable… while still looking good!
"I feel like every single person on this earth should experience and be educated in [dance], because the etiquette comes with it," he explained. "Men need to learn how to treat a woman, and I feel like through this dancing, it definitely gives you that exposure."
Out of all the dances we experienced over the weekend, Artem's Salsa class surely brought out the best energy, and plenty of dreamy smiles from the ladies in the workshops. Hey, we don't blame them!
6. The guys can describe their personalities using one style of dance.
Alan joked that he's a mix of all the best qualities, and therefore would be the Argentine Tango. "I love the elegance of ballroom, like with the waltz, but the Argentine Tango is a mix of that and Latin passion," he shared. "It has everything, and everyone can see it differently. It can be really fierce, it could be subtle, it could be sometimes controlling, but also soft. It has all the different dynamics."
Artem said he's torn between Argentine Tango and the Paso. "They're both very manly, both very sensual, in a lot of ways, and I feel like I can express myself more in those dances than any others," he explained.
As for Gleb? "I would probably say contemporary and the thing is, I'm not a contemporary dancer. I'm ballroom trained, I've never really trained properly in contemporary, but I kinda picked it up when I started doing the show," he revealed. "I really love it because it's a style where you can actually do anything, and you can really tell a story through dance. You can express yourself more. I'm all about telling a story through dance -- the emotions and feelings and very strong characters of a man and a woman and their connection."
7. They read your tweets.
During breaks from dancing, we caught the guys on their phones, and Alan says a big reason why they created Pro Dance Camp in the first place was because of all the fan suggestions they've recently received. "A lot of the fans want to dance with us," he explained. "We get a lot of tweets that are like, 'I wish there was a Dancing With the Fans season.' So this is really as close as it gets!"
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