Emma Slater Reveals Which Dance Is Her Favorite and Reminisces About Her Time on Season 20 of ‘Dancing with the Stars’
With the 20th season of Dancing with the Stars completed, you might be wondering when you’ll be able to see the talented and ever so lovely Emma Slater again. Fear not DWTS fans! During a phone interview with GALO, Slater dished all about her future plans and appearances.
As we talked about traveling to Thailand, singing in Mamma Mia! and, of course, dancing, the British bombshell also reflected about time spent on the fourth season of the show and her partnership with LMFAO’s Redfoo.
“When I met him the first time, he was actually a judge on the show and I was such a fan girl,” Slater said. “So when I got paired with him this season, I was so unbelievably happy and pleased.”
Although the team was eliminated after just the second round, the 26-year-old said she was still able to be actively involved in this past season by performing group dances and hosting the show’s live stream.
Read on to find out which type of dancing this successful choreographer believes best reflects her personality, what plans she had for Redfoo, and her reaction to being part of a Grammy nominated soundtrack!
Editorial Note: This interview was conducted April 2015.
GALO: You’ve been on Dancing with the Stars for three years now. How did it feel to be invited back for a fourth season of the show?
Emma Slater: It definitely means a lot to me to be a permanent fixture on the show. Dancing with the Stars really changed my life because I was born and raised in England and I moved to the U.S. specifically for the show — it is the biggest show in America, you know? So it’s pretty phenomenal. I’m always overwhelmed by the great support I’ve received since I’ve been here. Dancing is what I love to do, so to be able to do that for a living and share that with so many people means the world to me. I was very, very happy to be back.
GALO: What was your reaction when you found out you were paired with LMFAO’s Redfoo, and what was your first meeting like?
ES: Well, I am a huge fan of Redfoo, his music, and LMFAO. I had already met him, actually. When I met him the first time, he was actually a judge on the show and I was such a fan girl! I really went out of my way to tell him just how much I loved him and his music. So when I got paired with him this season, I was so unbelievably happy and pleased.
GALO: Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like to work with him?
ES: The general idea about Redfoo is that he’s got rhythm, he can move and he’s a little bit younger than my previous partners, so I was really, really excited. I mean, the dancing proved to be more difficult [for] him than some people expected, but he’s a great guy and I really enjoyed our season, however short it was.
GALO: Unfortunately, as you mention, you and Redfoo were voted off in the early rounds, even though it was evident that he was improving. Needless to say, fans weren’t too happy about you two being voted off.
ES: Yes, it was really sad. The thing for me was that I think he had so much potential — and his demographic of voters aren’t the normal demographic of people that watch Dancing with the Stars. I was hoping he [would be] able to stay in the competition long enough so we could do so many other things. I really wanted him to slick his hair back and have him do a slow, sensual, and somewhat sexy number. There are just so many things I was excited for that we never got the opportunity to do. I knew that however famous he was, it’d be tricky. Because with Dancing with the Stars, there’s a specific type of demographic that votes, and they don’t generally vote for kind of “out there,” outrageous, quirky people like Redfoo. So I thought that might be a battle, but I was kind of shocked that we were out.
GALO: How do you feel about the dances you’d done with Redfoo, specifically the one that caused you two to be voted off?
ES: I think that Redfoo struggled with the first dance, but I think we were underscored a lot by the judges. The jive — the week two dance, where we were eliminated — he got the second highest score on the leader board [for that]. He did a fantastic job. And he’s got a lot of potential. We were both super excited about week three and continuing at that level. We wanted to remain and only wanted to get better. So I think what happened was it took a little while for Redfoo to get into the show and into the dancing — and then he really got the dancing in his stride and his competition got short for him, which is such a shame.
GALO: And what exactly happens when your partner is voted off the show? Do either of you stick around until the end of the show to see how the other couples fare, or do you watch the remainder of the season from the comfort of your own home?
ES: Oh no, I still go to the show and still perform all the dance numbers. I’m very much involved, and it’s very funny because the season isn’t even half over yet, but I really feel a very close connection to several other dancers on the show — and not just professionals, but also the celebrities, too. So I am, for sure, going to be currently popping my head in.
For the professional dancers anyway, [we] always have to do group numbers and openings, artist performances, and little dance segments. So you’re constantly involved in the show, and every week you have to sit in the hair chair and do your thing. But the exciting thing for me is that on Mondays nights — now that I’m not [involved in] the competition on the show — I’ll be co-hosting Dancing with the Stars: All Access, which is the live stream that we do throughout the two-hour show on Monday nights.
GALO: In past seasons, you’ve been partnered with comedian Bill Engvall, race car driver Michael Waltrip and actor Billy Dee Williams. Given that everyone has different styles of dancing, not to mention their ability to learn a dance in a few days, what would you say is the hardest part of doing partner work? How exactly do you teach a non-dancer how to dance, especially in such a limited time?
ES: I think you have to learn how to communicate with them specifically. Everyone has a different way of communicating. Some people are very visual, some like to [have] things explained, some like to over process, and still others like to be shown [the routine] once. Everyone’s different, so you’ve got to get to know your partner, learn how they learn things and teach it to them in that way, especially in such a short time. Repetition is key.
GALO: In terms of your own accomplishments, you started dancing at age five and have gradually worked your way up to the top. You and your partner even won the British Under 21 Latin American Championship in 2005 when you were only 16. That’s very impressive! And you also did ballroom dancing — I’m curious, what’s dancing both styles like? Do you have a preference for either?
ES: Generally, when you compete in Latin American dance, your partner will either be specialized in Latin American dancing or ballroom dancing. And the ballroom dancing is a closed frame. Latin American, it’s an open frame — a little bit looser in terms of hold, so I specialized in Latin American dancing, although, I did do ballroom for a really long time. So all of my competitive titles are Latin American like the cha-cha, the samba, and the jive.
GALO: Wow, you’ve danced in so many styles! Given that dancing is a form of expression, what kind of dance is your favorite and which do you think is an extension of your personality?
ES: That’s an amazing question! I think I have a few personalities in my head, so I think more than one… But I feel like, at the moment, the Argentine tango is probably spot-on with my personality. It has a bit of everything in there. But they’ll completely range, sometimes I’m a jive and sometimes I’m a Vietnamese waltz person. I love Vietnamese waltz. Those are my favorites, I think.
GALO: Before joining Dancing with the Stars, you were in the 2008 movie Mamma Mia! with Amanda Seyfried. How did that experience help you grow as a dancer and as a person? And how did working in theater help with the making of the movie?
ES: I was 18 years old when I started doing Mamma Mia! And that was five months in England. It was phenomenal for me to get to work up-close with Meryl Streep, Colin Firth (who I’m a huge fan of), and even Julie Walters. It was such a huge cast, I really couldn’t believe my luck. I auditioned on a Wednesday and I started [that same week on a] Friday, and I didn’t know who was in it until I showed up. I couldn’t believe it, it was phenomenal. We worked about five months in London at Pinewood Studios. I’ve learned so much from that [experience]. I was singing and dancing, it was quite full-on. It was a wonderful experience for me.
GALO: In addition to acting in Mamma Mia!, you also lent your vocals to the soundtrack for the movie. Has singing always been something you’ve been passionate about as well? How much preparation did you need beforehand?
ES: I think it’s been something I’ve been doing for a while! I did quite a few theater shows, and to be able to audition for that, I was singing and taking lessons. I wanted to make sure that I was good enough, so that I would be able to work on Broadway and the West End. I wouldn’t call myself a singer, but I learned to hold a tune for purposes that I could get a job.
GALO: It seems like all the practicing paid off! The soundtrack was even Grammy nominated.
ES: That was amazing. There are not many times in your life where you can say, “I was part of a Grammy award winning soundtrack.” And to be honest, I didn’t think that would happen to me. Now, every time that song comes on in the car on my shuffle, I get a little bit proud.
GALO: You were born in Tamworth, England, but spent some time traveling when you were touring with Simply Ballroom. What has living in the United States been like for you? Did you experience any culture shock when you first came here?
ES: I adore living in the U.S., [it’s] so much different than England. Not just the weather, but everyone’s much more outdoorsy here and everything’s a bit more special. You just get the opportunity to live a little bit more rather than just working, so I’m really happy to be over here. You know, I’ve traveled a lot and I’m grateful about that because I love to travel. It’s something I want to do more of. There are a few more places I’d like to go that I haven’t gone yet — Thailand, actually. But America’s great, really great. I’ve gotten a chance to go on tour. I really love Chicago, Boston, New York — it’s all been wonderful.
GALO: You mentioned Thailand. Why would you like to visit that country specifically?
ES: Well, my dad has actually been there. And my best friend went into the mountains and stayed with monks, and she said it was amazing. I really want to see that. I want to get out a bit more and see Costa Rica and the jungle a little bit; Cambodia… There are just a lot of places I feel like I want to see. I feel like if I want to leave the world satisfied, I’ve got to see these place and cross them off my list.
GALO: Unfortunately, it’s the end of the road for you on Dancing with the Stars this season, but you must have tons of exciting adventures ahead! Care to share some of them with our readers?
ES: Well, the Dancing with the Stars tour is going to be this summer. I can’t really say anything too specific just yet, though. [It] features myself and a great cast of amazing dancers, so you can’t miss that!
Video courtesy of Dancing with the Stars.
Video courtesy of Dancing with the Stars.
The “Dancing with the Stars” tour is currently underway. For ticket and schedule information, please click here. For more information regarding Emma Slater and her endeavors, you can follow her on Twitter @EmmaSlaterDance. “Dancing with the Stars” returns Monday, September 14 at 8/7c on ABC for its 21st season.