We recently caught up with Sasha, and he gave us an inside view on working with the (in)famous Jersey Shore star, what being a pro is like, and whether or not it's fair that some stars have dance experience while others are total newbies.
Wetpaint Entertainment: What was it like to work with Nicole, and get to know her?
Sasha Farber: It was definitely an experience that I will never forget. Especially for my first season as a pro, to get someone like Nicole was just a dream come true. She was perfect in size and character and motivation. She's such a motivated person. I mean, she does have a lot on her plate, and she did during the season, so it was hard to juggle those things. She is such a hard worker, and the hours that she put in — I didn't even know how she was still standing, because she's a full-time mom, and she had the premiere of her own show, and then Dancing With The Stars, so juggling all that was just crazy.
I mean, she would be up at 5 a.m. playing with Lorenzo because he would be up, and then have to come straight to rehearsal, and then after rehearsal go and do stuff for her show. So it was hard, and challenging but a lot of this competition is about you having to challenge yourself, so it was a great experience.
As you said, this was your first season as a pro on the American show, though you've been a troupe member, and were also a pro on the Australian DWTS. What was it like, and how was it different from your other experiences with the show?
It was definitely something that I've been waiting for, and has been a dream of mine. It's just such an amazing feeling to teach someone how to dance. You get to see someone grow into a dancer right in front of your eyes. And especially someone like Nicole. We're such good friends. She sends me presents, we still talk every day, and we're really excited about the finale performance that we're going to do.
It was just such a great, great feeling to show all of the hard work that we put in, and, like I said, no one sees how hard people work. This show takes so much effort, down to all the wardrobes and production, and producers. Every single thing has so much thought put in. So being in that element and being chosen to be a pro — each week I tried to do something really, really different in the choreography that's never been done on the show before, like in our Foxtrot we had the pole, and in the Jazz we had some lifts that had never been done on the show before. I was just really really lucky and excited and overwhelmed with becoming a pro. It's been a dream of mine, and I'm still thankful to this day that I got to do it, and hopefully keep doing it.
We know you still have the finale dance, as you mentioned. Is there anything you can tease about that?
I can't say too much, but I know that I'm going to put everything that I have into that dance, and make sure that she's going to look amazing. There are a few things that I didn't get a chance to do that I'm going to cram in there.
One issue that always comes up on the show every season is that some stars have dance experience, and some do not. Do you think it's unfair that some stars have a much stronger background in dance?
I feel like it's a TV show, at the end of the day. Sometimes it obviously does help if someone's had dance experience, but it can work both ways. Sometimes they have the wrong dance experience. Ballroom is so different from any other style. So yes, they'll look better and excel in their Jazz numbers, or their Contemporary numbers, where you have to let your body go. But with Ballroom it's such a different style of dance, so sometimes it can work in your favor, and sometimes it can work not in your favor.
So I was happy that I had someone like Nicole, who has never danced before. In that way I could mold her to exactly the way I wanted her to look on the dance floor. All of America saw that Nicole has changed very much. Even reading some of the blogs, people were starting to really, really love Nicole. She's a mother figure now, she's not what she used to be on Jersey Shore. She's a complete wonder woman! I was very happy to get to dance with her, to get to meet her, and to be a part of her life.
For more from Sasha, follow him on Twitter @SashaFarber. And, of course, tune in to Dancing With the Stars on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC!
Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, and genre TV expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!