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Dancing With The Stars

Troupe Member Henry Byalikov Talks DWTS Finale & Upcoming Role in The Great Gatsby – Exclusive

We love all the pros on Dancing With the Stars but we also have a special place in our hearts here at Wetpaint Entertainment for the Pro Troupe. This group of dancers keeps us entertained during the Results show and sometimes get to fill in for the pros during rehearsals. We caught up with Troupe member Henry Byalikov to talk about the Season 14 Finale, how he was almost made a pro in 2010, and his upcoming role in The Great Gatsby.

Wetpaint Entertainment: What did you think of the finale?
Henry Byalikov: I thought the Finale was amazing. Just the fact that there was Monday’s two dances, with the Freestyles was just .. it blew my mind. Just to think that the celebrities have come from so far, from Week 1 to what they were able to perform on Monday night was amazing. And then Tuesday came along and they blew me away again.

What was your favorite freestyle?
Definitely Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd’s Freestyle. Their Freestyle was a combination of risk and performance. That type of combination for me, I just thought it was out of the box, left of center. It was so entertaining.

How did you prep for the dances you performed in the Finale?
It’s one of those things that you can’t really prep for. Week in and week out we have no idea what’s coming next. For us, I didn’t even know the week before if we were going to be doing anything in the Finale or not.

I think I was in four numbers. It was incredible. The opening number itself was one of my favorites of the season. Sherri’s number was great as well. She’s really great, it’s unfortunate she didn’t get to be in the season longer. Kym and Jaleel’s dance was really good. Then we did Kelly Clarkson’s number as well. So it terms of preparation it’s just kind of head down, you know, bottom up.

What’s your weekly schedule like?
We start rehearsals on a Wednesday. So as soon as the Results show is over, Wednesday is usually the rehearsals. And then it just continues on until camera blocking on Sunday.

So are you guys working seven days a week?
Yeah! It really doesn’t stop. And to be honest with you, that’s the way I like it.

How did you come to be in the Troupe?
It’s a funny little story. Originally in 2010 I was supposed to be a pro on the show. And in that time Damian Whitewood ended up being a pro. I think what had happened was that the partner they had organized for me had some contractual problems and they wouldn’t allow her to be on the show so I missed my opportunity to dance.

But basically how it started was I did Burn the Floor in 2009 on Broadway. One of our publicity events was to come to DWTS and perform. During that demonstration they selected a few of us to come back for an interview to become a pro. That was me, Peta, Damian, [Troupe member] Sharna Burgess. Then as I said in 2010 they gave me the green light but unfortunately it didn’t work out. In the beginning of this year I got a Facebook message from one of the co-executive producers just asking if I wanted to be a part of the Troupe. And I said “Yep!” How good is social media?

Do you know who your potential 2010 partner would have been?
No. They would never let that out, I’m pretty sure.

So what happens in the off season?
The first thing I’m doing is that I’ve been asked to be a principal in this ballet company called Tasmanian Ballet, it’s a touring ballet company. Then I’m finishing up bits and pieces of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

Oh really?
Yeah. I did it last year. We filmed a lot last year where I was a dance consultant for the actors. So I taught Leonardo DiCaprio how to do some Foxtrot and Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. And then I’m featured in the film as well as a dancer.

I just saw the trailer for that movie and I’m so excited for it.
Baz is just incredible. And the choreographer, John O’Connell, is just … it’s just two incomparable men. It’s really great.

Of the main cast who was the best dancer?
You know what, they were all amazing. Each and every one of them brought their own style. It was a pleasure to work with them and teach them.

Be sure to check back shortly for part two of our interview with Henry where we talk about Henrymania and working with the pros.

Find out more about Henry on his website,, and follow him on Twitter @HenryByalikov.

Maria Mercedes Lara is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @maria_mercedes.

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05.26.2012 / 12:40 AM EDT by Maria Mercedes Lara
Related: Dancing With The Stars, TV Stars, Pro Troupe

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