When Sasha Farber’s family emigrated from Belarus to Australia in 1991, becoming a dancer was probably the last thing on the 7-year-old’s mind. “We left because of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster,” Farber told the AJP, and also because “we had to keep it quiet that we were Jewish.”
Farber, now 27, will appear in Broadway in Tucson’s “Burn the Floor. Ballroom. Reinvented,” from April 19 to 24 at the Tucson Music Hall.
Farber started dancing when he was 13, while training for his Bar Mitzvah. It all started at his cousin’s wedding in Sydney, with a floor show featuring Luda Kroitor, with whom Farber has danced professionally and “who is one of my best friends now,” he says. After first seeing Kroitor, he thought, “Wow, I want to do this, mostly to meet girls.”
He put a little show together two weeks before his Bar Mitzvah, and later won two dance competitions as a young teen. “It was good for my confidence,” he says, and at 14 he realized, “I must be all right at this. I think I’ll give it a proper shot.”
By 17, Farber had won the Australian Youth Latin Championships twice and represented Australia at the World Latin Championships. He was featured in the closing ceremony at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and appeared on the Australian version of “Dancing with the Stars.”
But dancing in “Burn the Floor” on Broadway in 2009 — the first ballroom show on Broadway — “I’m pretty sure was the highlight of my career so far,” says Farber. He’s been touring in the show, which was launched 11 years ago, for nine and a half years, and it has taken the young dancer all over the world.
“I would love to perform in Israel, one place I haven’t been,” says Farber. He has relatives he’d like to meet who emigrated from Belarus to the Jewish state when his family went to Australia.
With so much traveling, seeing family is important to Farber. While performing on Broadway “I was surrounded by family. My sister lives in New York and has two kids. My mother calls frequently,” he says, “telling me to make sure I eat plenty of soup and dress warm. You know, the usual Jewish mother stuff.”
Tickets range from $25-65, with discounts for students, seniors, and military, and can be purchased at www.broadwayintucson.com/tickets.htm.