PEOPLE is celebrating the Sept. 18 premiere of Dancing with the Stars‘ 25th season with 25 days of exclusive interviews, fun retrospectives, and new details about what fans can expect from the milestone season.
After five seasons as a Dancing with the Stars troupe member, Alan Bersten had graduated to the big leagues and will serve as a full-time pro dancer on the 25th season of the ABC reality dance competition.
“It’s a dream,” says Bersten, 23. “I was 10 years old when the show first came out and I’d watch it with my grandma and she’d say, ‘One day you’re going to be dancing on there.’ She was so excited when I joined the troupe and I know she’s going to be even happier that I’m a pro now.”
Bersten has dipped his toe in the water of being a pro in the past. For one episode during season 22, he subbed in for Mark Ballas as UFC fighter Paige VanZant’s partner while Ballas recovered from a back injury. He similarly stepped in for Gleb Savchenko and danced with country singer Jana Kramer for an episode during season 23. And in the spring he danced with Glee star Heather Morris’s for a few weeks while her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy recovered from an ankle injury.
PEOPLE’s special issue 25 Seasons of ‘Dancing with The Stars’ is out Sept. 15.
“Getting to step in those weeks was a great learning experience and really convinced me that I wanted to be a pro for a full season,” says Bersten. “I just love that we get to help our celebrity along on their journey week after week.”
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Bersten isn’t allowed to reveal who he’s partnered with, but it sounds like whoever they are they’re in for an enthusiastic coach.
“As long as the person is willing to put in the work, then we’re going to do great,” he says. “I just want to make sure they have an amazing time and get the most they can out of the experience — and have fun!”
Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Sept. 18 on ABC.