Dancing With the Stars promoted two pro dancers from the troupe for Season 17, including the amazing Emma Slater, who partnered with comedian Bill Engvall and made it all the way to the finals! And we're sure she enjoyed her time just as much as he did, considering he got to spend his days with the gorgeous gal. Who is Emma? Here are five things to know about the new competing pro.
1. She started on DWTS in Season 14
DWTS introduced its pro troupe on Season 12. They were an instant hit and two of the original troupe members, Tristan MacManus and Peta Murgatroyd, were bumped up to competing pros the next season. For Season 13, Daria Chesnokova, Sharna Burgess and Sasha Farber joined the troupe. The season after that, two new pros were added, Henry Byalikov and Emma. Now Tristan, Peta, Sharna, Sasha, and Emma are all competing pros, so that whole introduced-through-the-pro-troupe system seems to be working out pretty well. Is that going to change now that we’ve lost the Tuesday night showcase?
2. She’s dating fellow new pro Sasha Farber
Emma started in the DWTS troupe the season after her boyfriend, Sasha, but they are both launching their careers as competing pros at the same time. While she spent the season with Bill, he trained Jersey Shore star Snooki. On Twitter, Emma’s bio reads, “Hello! I'm a Professional Dancer on Dancing with the Stars US which I love! I have two boys in my life, DWTS partner Bill Engvall & my boyfriend Sasha Farber :)” You can see Emma and Sasha in action in this Extra video from 2012, when they were considered “the next generation” of DWTS pros. In the video, the then 23-year-old Emma said she and Sasha would love to be competing pros. “If Dancing With the Stars are watching, yes, please!” Apparently The Powers That Be listened!
3. She has an impressive dance background
According to Sasha-Emma.com, the England native first started taking dance lessons at age 5. At age 16, Emma began touring with Simply Ballroom. She and her partner won the 2005 British Under 21 Latin American Championships in Blackpool. She was a principal dancer in Burn the Floor on Broadway, and was a featured dancer on Strictly Come Dancing in South Africa. Her resume lists a number of competitive achievements, including being ranked No. 1 in Latin American dance in the U.K. in 2006-2007.
4. She was in Mamma Mia
Emma was in the Meryl Streep movie Mamma Mia!, playing one of Sophie’s (Amanda Seyfried) friends. Emma is also credited as a singer on the Mamma Mia soundtrack. She was also on ITV1’s Popstars to Operastars and became the ballroom advisor. Her bio says she’s a Mezzo Soprano.
5. She was going to be on Strictly Come Dancing this fall
Strictly Come Dancing is the British version of DWTS, and it shares two of our judges — Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. In early June, the BBC released news that Emma would be one of the new pro dancers to take the floor this fall. So, we figured she was out of the DWTS pro troupe and would be heading overseas. Instead, she spent the fall as a new pro dancer with the U.S. version. She's been replaced in the BBC's story, and we're glad for the change, however it came about!
Follow Emma on Twitter @EmmaSlaterDance and welcome her as a competing pro!