When he was 4 years old, Alan Bersten and his brother, sister and two cousins would delay the ending of their Saturday night dinners together by putting on a show.
“We never wanted to go home,” Bersten said. “So we would always stall our parents with these performances. If we could distract them with our dance/talent show, we could stay a few minutes longer and all hang out together, even for a few more minutes. I think that’s why I’m so close with my family.”
It also was the first time he danced, and he hasn’t stopped.
Bersten and fellow cast members from ABC’s popular “Dancing With The Stars” visit Stockton Arena for “Dancing With The Stars: Light Up The Night” today. The live show cast includes Bersten’s Season 25 castmates Lindsay Arnold, Sharna Burgess, Artem Chigvintsev, Keo Motsepe, Gleb Savchenko and Emma Slater. Singer/actor Jordan Fisher (“The Secret Life of The American Teenager,” “Hamilton, “Grease: Live!”), who won the Season 25 mirror ball, and third-place finisher Frankie Muniz (“Agent Cody Banks,” “Malcolm in the Middle”) also dance in the show.
“The tour is set up like an extravagant dance show,” Bersten said via email. “ It’s an hour and half of nonstop dancing, with host moments, video clips and dancing (of course!). So, the fans can really get to know all the pros personally! We have two celebrities on tour — Frankie Muniz and Jordan Fisher — and the entire cast dances with each other throughout the night. There is a lot of variety of dance partners, which makes it fun to see all the different pros and celebs dance together.”
So, it’s like the phenomenally successful reality show that has won 33 Emmy Awards, but without snarky judges’ comments or fan voting.
For Bersten, who grew up in Minnesota, being a part of the show means fulfilling a dream that began when he was 10. He told People Magazine that he watched the first season of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2005 with his grandmother and she’d say, “One day you’re going to be dancing on there.’ ”
His route to the popular program, which showcases ballroom dancing by matching professional dancers with celebrities of all sorts of disciplines, started when he auditioned for and was selected for the program, “So You Think You Can Dance.”
He auditioned only because his older brother was auditioning.
“Gene Bersten is one of my biggest role models,” Alan Bersten wrote. “Not only has he taught me from the very beginning, but he is my best friend and my biggest fan.”
At 18, Alan Bersten finished among the top-12 in Season 10 of “So You Think You Can Dance.”
That was in 2013. He followed that by joining that program’s national tour, was a part of the chorus in the sixth season of “Glee” before joining the “Dancing With The Stars” company in 2015. In five seasons he filled in for injured dancers Mark Ballas (Season 22), Gleb Savchenko (Season 23) and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Season 24) before becoming a cast member in November and dancing with Debbie Gibson.
“Watching myself on TV is a weird feeling that I’m still getting used to,” Bersten said, but he admits it’s an exciting part of being on the show. “I think the most exciting part is when my mom calls me after she watches me on TV. The excitement in her voice makes me cry every Monday. My mom is my biggest fan and I’m so happy I can make her proud.”
Entertaining family and fans is part of what drives Bersten.
“I like to make people happy,” he said. “That is my ultimate goal in life, and when I see an audience watching me and feeling something, that is the most humbling experience. These amazing fans came out to watch us dance for them and there is no better feeling in the world than knowing you made someone smile. That’s why I love doing this every single day.”
Contact reporter Lori Gilbert at (209) 546-8284 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lorigrecord.