PureDWTS Exclusive: Henry Byalikov Talks Of Dancing, Choreographing, And His Movie Role In The Great Gatsby
We have an exclusive new interview to share with you with dance pro and Troupe Member Henry Byalikov!! He took time out of his extremely busy schedule currently to answer a few questions about Dancing With The Stars. Also, and in case you know, this is a very special time in Henry’s career as he’s also featured in the new movie “The Great Gatsby” which is now out in movie theatres everywhere. So we also asked Henry some questions on his role and part in the movie. He takes us right there up close and personal. Check it out…
Hi Henry! How are you and how is Dancing With The Stars going for you this season? As always, our staff and fans are enjoying you immensely on the show. Speaking of, you choreographed an opening group number for Week 5′s Results show that was indeed spectacular!
Hi there! I’m great and have to say this is one of the most exciting season’s of my Dancing With The Stars experience. Loved being able to choreograph this season! I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did
Wow, and your help with Derek and Kellie and their Great Gatsby dance in Week 5 was off the hook. What was the creative process like and working with Derek again?
It certainly was a pleasure working with Kellie, Derek and Anna this season. The creative process was somewhat more separate as compared to season 14’s Bollywood Samba. In this instance, I was able to choreograph the foxtrot that Anna and I performed. Once that was complete, it was a matter of marrying the two routines (Derek and Kellie’s and Anna and mine), so that we could make a real performance piece of it. I think that’s where the collaboration started, as Derek, Anna, Kellie and I, all wanted it to be more of a scene performed together rather than a strict side by side comparison. I think it worked out to be more entertaining that way.
This was also the first time, on Dancing With The Stars, that I have performed a traditional ballroom number and I had a blast! Incorporating a Gatsby theme was almost part and parcel of this collaboration, as I had already been part of “The Great Gatsby”. Performing with Anna, Derek and Kellie was a wonderful experience!
Speaking of The Great Gatsby, it’s premiere is coming up on May 10th! Many dance fans may not know this yet, but, you have a featured part in this movie as a dancer. Can you tell us a little about it and how you were approached to help?
That’s right I am a featured dancer in the movie.
Initially, I worked with the choreographer, John O’Connell, on a previous musical “King Kong”, to help create the main dance for the leading cast of the show. We worked very well together and he then asked me to become a part of The Great Gatsby.
Of course there was a big audition process,both for extras and featured dancers, that you had to go through, which in my experience, was a lot of fun! The auditioning numbers, for the featured dancers, started off at approximately at 2000 dancers, and we ended up with 12. Cant remember how many extras we had but let me tell you there were tons!
Once that was complete, I was then asked by John, to assist in the teaching and demonstrating of the final performance routines for the selected extras and featured dancers.
Can you find Henry in this picture?
You were also the “dance consultant” and taught the main actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan how to dance. What was it like working with Leo, Tobey, and Carey? What dances did you teach them and did they catch on well?
Working with some of the leading cast of “The Great Gatsby”, was truly an honour and I could not be more grateful to both Baz Luhrmann and John O Connell for having me assist.
It was a smooth process, every person I got to work with was extremely professional. What struck me, was that you could tell the cast are superstars for a reason, they’ve made it in the entertainment industry because of their incredible work ethic and talents.
Henry is featured in this picture too on the right…
I taught them routines that involved Charleston, Foxtrot and the Castle Waltz, and they picked it up very well. It was unusual teaching these celebrities because, in my past experience working with non-dancer celebrities, the normal process of learning something completely new and foreign begins with apprehension and resistance. This was not the case here, and as a result they absorbed the choreography faster than expected.
For me it was a humbling experience, one I will always cherish.
What is the greatest memory you will take with you from working on The Great Gatsby?
One of my favourite moments was watching Baz Luhrmann giving direction to Leonardo Di Caprio, while he was dancing and reciting his lines. He kept asking Leo how he felt at certain moments within the scene, so as to elicit the most natural response from him, as he was acting out his lines. It was fascinating to see how Baz fused dance and acting, using this technique, in order to naturalise the scene.
Back to Dancing With The Stars: Will you be a pro in the future if asked or do you enjoy more flexibility as a troupe member?
A Pro is what I have been in the past, and what I look forward to in the future.
Thanks so much, Henry!!! From all of us at PureDWTS, good luck with wrapping the season up on Dancing With The Stars and may The Great Gatsby be a huge success!!!
To dance fans, be sure you see The Great Gatsby as the dancing in it will be nothing short of phenomenal and you’ll get to see Henry too. Let us know if you see it and what you think.