Exclusive interview with Karen Hauer on her dancing, fitness and just being a lovely person.
Being Venezuelan born, how did you end up in England?
Yes, I was born in Valencia, Venezuela, which is where I lived until I was eight. Then I moved with my family to New York and that’s where I stayed all through school and my dance training and my early career. I moved to England eight years ago when I got the job on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing where I would be a celebrity partner for eight seasons, dancing with Will Young, Chris Ramsey, Jeremy Vine, Nicky Byrne and Mark Wright to name a few.
Tell us, what was your path to an amazing career as a professional dancer?
When I was young, I discovered dance and it was a great thing for me. When I moved to America, I didn’t speak a word of English so I was trying to adapt to a new country, a new school and new home, all while speaking another language which was very daunting. Dance became my sanctuary. I got a full scholarship at 10 years old to attend The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance where I learned my craft and continued to study. Then I went to the High School of Performing Arts – otherwise known as ‘The Fame School’. I majored in ballet and contemporary dance and received The Helen Tamaris Award for Excellence in Dance.
Where did your breaks come along?
Throughout my career I took part in many competitions and became World Mambo Champion in 2018. The year after that I took part in the reality show So You Think You Can Dance, where I was a finalist. Later that year I got the part as a principal female dancer in the original Broadway cast of Burn The Floor, working with choreographer Jason Gilkison, and then went onto do the World Tour that we took across the USA, Europe, UK, Asia, Australasia and South Africa which was just incredible. Becoming a Strictly Come Dancing professional back in 2012 felt like the culmination of a lifetime’s worth of blood, sweat, and tears. All that hard work and commitment to dance since I started at the age of eight all paid off in a single sentence that I remember so well: ‘Hi Karen Hauer, we’d love to offer you a place on Strictly Come Dancing’. It was a complete dream come true!
We know you have a busy life outside of Strictly. What are you up to and what’s the next dream?
I’m really proud of a new online fitness programme I’ve created, called Hauer Power. I want to keep fitness in people’s lives on a day-to-day basis, not just for a New Year resolution or for summer bikini season. Feeling fit and physically well directly connects with your mental health. It makes you feel good, confident and has so many health benefits. Hauer Power isn’t just about losing weight, getting fit and getting sweaty. For me it’s also about rebuilding the physical, mental and spiritual connections between the mind and the body. My hope is that as your physical strength increases through the workouts, so does your mental health and your spiritual awareness. So my dream is to continue to build my fitness work alongside my dance career.
Karen Hauer, has fitness always been important for you?
I’ve loved fitness for as long as I remember. My mom loved it so I grew up around it and I’ve always enjoyed keeping fit; it makes me happy. I wondered if I could get other people training and having fun as well, as they usually have busy work schedules and feel like it can be a real commitment. I created and started to put #YourBody challenges up on YouTube which basically documented my own workouts and I hoped that people might do them too, and the reaction was great. After a year I’d uploaded a tonne of my workouts and had such great feedback from people that I decided I wanted to create a programme that people could follow and also track their progress, and that’s how Hauer Power was created.
We want to know, what does wellbeing mean to you Karen Hauer?
Wellbeing for me is about connection. When the mind, body and spirit are all aligned you feel like you can do anything.
Do you see the pressures of social media on girls and women?
I do and what I think what we all need to remember is to be kind to each other. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re living, we’re all human beings that need to connect to each other and listen to one another. I personally try to stay away from negative comments on social media, which I know is so hard as it’s hard to sometimes understand how people can be mean. I think if you use social media wisely it can be positive, especially in tough times like during this coronavirus pandemic or when we are socially distanced, positivity is so important. I love to connect with my friends and there are so many supportive and positive people on social media and I take my position as a role model to children seriously. But there is an ugly side.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you Karen Hauer?
I love strong women and I have a lot of amazing women in my life, who have taught me a lot growing up. I don’t think you should ever apologise for being a strong or powerful woman. I also believe you should be the woman you want to be. International Women’s Day is the opportunity to celebrate women and equality.
Tell us more about Hauer Power and how people can get involved!?
Having the background I’ve had has given me insight into the body, how to maintain it, stay strong and also how to have a healthy relationship with exercise itself. All this has brought me to Hauer Power which is a totally unique mix of very easy to follow dance steps, pilates/yoga and body weight resistance training moves. The idea is to make you feel fitter, more toned, stronger and keep you full of positive energy. There are several different tools we offer within our eight-week plan including fitness videos from myself, workouts, warm ups, cool downs and stretches, plus a downloadable guide full of instructions, healthy recipes and stats tracking.
For more information and exclusive introductory offers on Hauer Power visit: www.karenhauer.fit
Since beginning her Strictly journey in 2012, Karen has been the dance partner of countless celebrities and competed against couples like Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley, and leaves fans more in awe of her talent, day by day, episode by episode. Want to read more Strictly Come Dancing related news? Check out our interview with Darcey Bussell here