GF: You’ll be landing in Australia in two short months! Have you been here before?
Yes, I have! I’ve been twice actually with the cast of The Next Step for our big cast tours so it’s pretty cool that I’ve been there twice for work.
GF: Did you have a favourite city that you visted while here?
I really loved the west side of Australia. I really, really loved Perth; I thought it was so beautiful so I’m super excited to be travelling back. I mean, every city was so much fun! I’ve yet to go to like the Gold Coast or Paradise Cove and I’ve heard such amazing things so I might want to stick around to check out those cities that would be fun.
GF: What inspired you and Brittany to bring a tour like this to Australia and New Zealand?
Actually the man we work with in production for every other tour we’ve done for The Next Step – his name is Stefan – basically presented this great idea for us two to tour together to teach and to perform and to interact with our fans in Australia and New Zealand and we obviously said yes because it’s an amazing opportunity and it’s also a great opportunity for Britt and I to work together more because we’ve worked together in the past (for seven years!) and it’s something that we were both quick to agree to.
GF: What can fans expect in the Masterclass with you and Brittany?
It’s going to be so much fun! Basically we’re hosting two sessions – we’re hosting a beginner’s session in the morning and then an advanced session in the afternoon. In terms of the Masterclass, the beginner’s session will be geared towards dancers who are very recreational – maybe you attend dance lessons and maybe you don’t. It’s just for anyone who’s looking to come out and have a good time. Then for the advanced session we’ll be catering to those dancers that train a couple hours a week at a dance studio, maybe at a competitive level and are a little bit more advanced and have some training behind them. We’ll also be performing, doing a Q&A, and doing a meet and greet for fans to take photos with us at both sessions.
GF: How far ahead of time do you and Brittany have to start training for something like this?
Brittany and I just got together this week because I’ve kind of been all over – I haven’t been in one consistent city for us to get together – so this week we got together on Monday and we started rehearsing for the performance and also for the preparation to teach. It’s kind of funny because I teach more nowadays, I don’t really perform as much as I used to and teaching’s a little bit different, you know I go to the gym, I work out all the time but the stamina that a full performance requires is quite a bit so we’ve both been talking about running an extra mile a day to get that cardio in and build up that stamina [laughs] so basically we’re like ‘We have two months to crack down and really focus on our stamina and our cardio so we’re really ready.’
GF: Where do you and Brittany draw inspiration from when you’re creating dance performances?
Britt and I do have different styles so I think it’s really cool when we come together to choreograph. When we come together, it’s more so like a jazz-funk fusion but with a touch of contemporary which kind of sounds confusing but I think we work well together because we compliment each other in different styles and we can kind of fuse those together to create something really awesome, if I do say so myself!
GF: Your role on The Next Step has given you a huge platform. How does it feel to be a role model to so many young people?
It’s honestly amazing and I never really thought that being on a TV show would come with so many social rules in terms of being a role model. It really blew me away when I started seeing all the fan pages on Instagram many years back and it really hit me like ‘Wow I really am a role model to a lot of people and this is important to me.’ I need to show people the right things to see on social media because there’s obviously a lot of negative outlets and a lot of negativity that people share without even knowing that they share it. If there’s anything that I can provide young girls and boys with is that to always stay inspired by what it is you love to do, stay focused, work hard and success will be in your path.
GF: Do you ever personally deal with negativity online?
I’m pretty lucky as I haven’t experienced too much but I have a little in the past. Actually even recently I’ve had a lot of body shamers and people who are just negative behind their screens and think that that is ok but it’s cyber bullying without you even knowing it. Something that does help me is that I either delete their comments because I don’t want anyone else seeing that because a lot of people make it into something bigger than it needs to be and if I see it I kind of go ‘Wow that person’s maybe not having a good day or they just need to take their hate out on someone.’ It’s not cool and I don’t really want that shared on my page so I just like to get rid of it. But in the past there definitely has been some people who will say things for no reason and other people will fight back on my behalf which is really, really nice but obviously it’s all unnecessary but I think the best thing to do is just handle it in a way that is respectful in every aspect.
GF: What advice would you have for kids who want to follow in your footsteps?
I think my advice would be to always stay focused on your goal. It’s really easy to get distracted nowadays with our generation. With so many things online, it’s really easy to compare yourself to other girls and boys that you see online in terms of success and money and fame and all these things and I think the best thing that I have to say is really hone in on what you want to do and what you want to have and what kind of happiness you think that you can provide for yourself and making sure that every relationship in your life is healthy and non-toxic. Having good friendships with people who genuinely care about you and I think with all those put together you’ll live a happy life and a life of success.
GF: You obviously have the tour coming next year, which is super exciting, but what else do you have planned for 2019? What are you excited for?
I’m super excited to start off my year in Australia and I’ve heard that in January it’s a really hot month so I’m super excited to start off my year that way. I also recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue my acting career more seriously and in dance as well but I think for 2019 I just really want to be on set of any type of film or TV show and really make that my next move, my big goal. Just to be working with new actors, new directors, new producers, continue to teach dance, continue to inspire and just live a good life. There’s many things that I want to achieve but I want 2019 to be the year.