If you've had a "Dancing with the Stars"-shaped hole in your heart since the most recent season ended, never fear: The "DWTS" live tour is here! Following each season of the show, a mix of pro dancers and recently-featured stars put on their dancing shoes to travel 'round the country, dazzling fans with rumbas, tangos, and cha cha-chas.
This year, the tour is hitting an insane 69 cities over the course of three months (we're tired just thinking about it). Dance Spirit caught up with reigning "DWTS" champion Alan Bersten to see what it's really like to perform every night on the live tour.
Bersten bowing with his fellow "DWTS" castmates (Geoff Burke, courtesy Faculty)
Dance Spirit: What does your daily schedule look like on tour?
Alan Bersten: We usually wake up around 9 a.m., depending on the day. We have the freedom to do pretty much whatever we want during the day. I usually wake up, go to the gym, eat some lunch, read a little bit, and then start getting ready for the show. I do a little warmup, and then hit the stage.
DS: What was the rehearsal process like for this tour?
AB: We only had two and a half weeks of rehearsal before we started the show. The rehearsal process was really vigorous, because there is a lot of dancing—I would say, more dancing than in any other tour we've done, which is awesome. It's been amazing so far.
Bersten performing with his fellow castmate Daniella Karagach (Geoff Burke, courtesy Faculty)
DS: How is touring different from the televised "Dancing with the Stars" shows? Do you prefer one to the other?
AB: They're so different. In the TV show, there's this added element of competition. It's incredible, but it can be really stressful. The tour is carefree—it's a celebration. No one's getting judged; we're just having fun with the audience, having fun with each other onstage.
DS: What's the craziest thing that's ever happened on a "DWTS" tour?
AB: On one of the tours, we had a number where we started in the audience, and then we'd walk onstage and start dancing. One time, this incredibly enthusiastic older lady followed us up—and stood onstage in the corner, just watching and grooving. We let her stay up there for the whole first number. It was so funny, and amazing, and she was just having the time of her life.
Bersten dancing with Witney Carson (Geoff Burke, courtesy Faculty)
DS: What's your favorite thing about touring?
AB: As clichéd as it sounds, I love meeting the fans in every city. They're always so excited to see us. It's both humbling and empowering to be able to get up onstage and give these people a show that they'll hopefully remember for the rest of their lives.
DS: What's the most memorable interaction you've had with a fan?
AB: Well, one fan wrote me a book. Like, a 200-page book, all about me—me and her. I'm still reading it.
Bersten (second from right) posing backstage with some of the other male "DWTS" professionals (Geoff Burke, courtesy Faculty)
DS: Does it feel any different to be touring as the reigning "DWTS" champion?
AB: I'm surprised that it feels different, but honestly, it does a little bit. And I'm so grateful that I get a chance to say thank you to all the fans for voting for me and getting me there, because they're the only reason I made it so far.
DS: What would you say is the biggest challenge about being on tour?
AB: I guess the most challenging thing is just being on the bus. But, honestly, touring is one of my favorite things I've ever done, so to me, that's not even that bad. I mean, how lucky am I to get to do what I love every single night, all across the country?