James Van Der Beek and his partner Emma Slater have been wowing the judges as well as viewers with their appearances on Dancing With the Stars. Consistently placing at the top of the leaderboard, the pair are proving to be one of the favorites for this season’s Mirrorball trophy. The actor, best known for his starring roll on Dawson’s Creek, already has been a success on the show. Slater, a professional dancer, is proving to be a great partner, with years of success on the series. Learn what makes this pair one of Dancing With the Stars’ most exciting and fun pairings for season 28.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. James Van Der Beek Had No Formal Dance Training Before DWTS
While it might seem like Van Der Beek is a natural on the dance floor the actor actually had no formal dance training before his DWTS appearances. In an interview with Parade Magazine, the actor was open about his lack of dance skills. More importantly, he argued that his skills in acting and being a quick learner definitely help him.
Van Der Beek explained, “If I’m good at anything, it’s probably just that I’m good at learning at this point, whether it’s playing a quarterback, or learning 20 seconds of the cha-cha-chaos fight training, fight choreography I’ve done.”
For the Van Der Beek, a lot of the credit for his success in the ballroom goes to his partner, who teaches him. “And I mean, for someone who has never been enrolled in a dance class, to be able to learn from someone at Emma Slater’s level, that’s my happy place,” Van Der Beek told ET while attending the 2019 Emmys.
2. Emma Slater Got
Engaged on “Dancing with the Stars”
Slater may have had her fair share of interesting moments on the dance floor, but nothing prepared her for what happened in October of 2016. Her boyfriend and fellow dancer Sasha Farber proposed to Slater during the series’ live results show. Under the guise of performing a contemporary dance number, she was more than surprised when host Tom Bergeron turned over the hosting duties to Farber himself for the big announcement.
Since the proposal, Slater and Farber were open about the planning of their nuptials, as well as the wedding itself. In a series of videos with Us Weekly, the pair walked through wedding planning and special choices ranging from cocktails to cakes. The exclusives gave fans a glimpse into what they could expect from the couple’s big day.
In 2018, the couple finally made their relationship official with a wedding that featured friends, family, and some familiar faces from Dancing with the Stars. The event had past contestants as well as dance pros in attendance including Derek Hough and Joey Fatone. The romantic Los Angeles wedding was planned by Michael Russo of Michael Russo Events. Speaking about the event to US Weekly, he said it was a “celebration of pure, unconditional love.”
3. James Van Der Beek Previously Pretended to Be on the Dance Show
James Van Der Beek may be on Dancing With the Stars, but this isn’t the first time he took a stab at being a part of the dance competition. During his time on the series Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, the actor had a two season-long arc on which his on-screen persona was looking for a spot on the popular dancing series.
During the two seasons, Van Der Beek’s preparation for and competition on the series ended in disaster. The differences between the character and his real-life counterpart were night and day.
Speaking about Van Der Beek’s role in 2012, his co-star Krysten Ritter told The Hollywood Reporter, “He’s like a narcissistic, fabulous sort of monster, just like my character is … It’s like apples and oranges. It really is a fictionalized character.”
4. Slater Had Had Issues With Delta Airlines After the DWTS 2019 Cast Announcements
After Good Morning America’s announcement of Season 28’s dancers and celebrities, Slater thought she would be heading back to Los Angeles on a Delta flight. Instead, the dancer and other passengers had to wait on the tarmac for hours and soon she took to talk to social media to express her dismay. The ordeal was not only covered by the Slater but others that were having difficulties with the situation.
In a video posted to her Twitter account, Slater showed angry passengers dealing with Delta crew members after learning they would not be reimbursed or receive an overnight hotel stay for their troubles. The dancer began to vent and discuss the situation with her followers as the passengers sought some sort of answers.
It wasn’t long before Delta reached out to the dancer and asked her to DM them for further information. What happened in terms of customer response among their private conversation has not been reported.
5. The Pair Are Conscious about How They Smell and What They Eat
Dancers know the closeness of the routines can be difficult for partners, especially if part of the pair suffers from body odor or other hygiene issues. In fact, it is actually something that Slater obsesses about according to Van Der Beek. In an interview with E! News, the actor relayed how cautious Slater can be when it comes to hygiene and lifestyle choices. He said the same concerns have rubbed off on him, as he said that he too is now “paranoid” about any possible odors.
Slater revealed that she sticks to a diet that is healthy with fish and salads. In addition to mentioning the fish portion of her daily meals to E! News, the dancer also spoke about her broader meal choices to Witney Carson. “Honestly, I’m a salad and fish person. I will eat just a basic leafy salad with an Asian dressing. I also like raw veggies with hummus, but not celery because I hate the aftertaste! I do mostly smoothies though during the season. Almond milk, banana, kale, spirtulina, Apple and plant-based protein,” she said when asked about her “power” meals.
Slater isn’t the only person using a healthy diet for the competition. Van Der Beek, along with his wife Kimberly, has engaged in a healthy eating regimen. When talking about his current appearance on the show, the actor told People that “I haven’t stepped on a scale, but my pants have gotten looser.”
Van Der Beek’s wife documented her approaches to their overall nutrition on the Food Heals podcast. One of her tips to thriving includes, “eat fermented foods, and consume probiotics.”