By Kristyn Burtt
Dancing With the Stars pro (and Inside Dance May cover star) Alan Bersten crossed off a major milestone on his bucket list: choreographing for So You Think You Can Dance. The Season 10 contestant wanted “a full-circle moment” in his career, and he got it when he approached executive producer Jeff Thacker about possibly joining the choreography roster for the 17th season.
“Here it is, nine years ago, I was a contestant on that stage,” he told Inside Dance after the first taping. “I know exactly how they are all feeling, it is nerve-wracking.” In the first stage episode, Bersten had the opportunity to choreograph a Jive for ballroom dancer Carter Williams and contemporary dancer Ralyn Johnson – and they made him proud up there on the stage.
“Ralyn is really coming out of her shell and going out there and doing what she does best, in performing outside of her comfort zone,” he praised the couple. “And then Carter going out there in his comfort zone and feeling himself — it was great. I hope they make it far.”
Bersten was “nervous” for Williams, who found himself in the bottom four after the studio audience voted. “The voting really made me stressed,” he laughed. “I’m seeing these people press the buttons. It’s just like Dancing With the Stars: Juniors.” He thought Williams deserved more praise from the judges because he was “the best support for Ralyn.” The DWTS pro added, “One of the things I love teaching ballroom dancers, or any couple doing ballroom dance, is that the man is there to be the support for the woman. He was such a good partner off the stage, on the stage, in rehearsals.”
Now that Bersten has achieved his career goal of returning to SYTYCD, there is one thing he would love to tell his 19-year-old self. “’Don’t cry so much. You learn so much with experience,’” he noted. “I feel like after the show, I’ve grown up so much. When I was on the show, I was like, ‘Dance, alright, I can do that.’ I couldn’t do any of it, I was surprised I was on the show to begin with.” (We weren’t surprised at all!)
The next thing on the ballroom dancer’s agenda is to focus on Season 31 of Dancing With the Stars and hope he gets the call from producers to do another season, which will now be streaming on Disney +. “I’m excited because we have a platform to be back. We have to keep doing what we love and it’s not just about going out and doing a show,” Bersten explained. “For me at least, it’s my dream and my passion. I love it so much that I am just so thankful we get another two seasons, and Disney + is going to be great. We have to make it what it is.”
Photos: Artists Simply Human; Lee Gumbs Photography
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