JoJo Siwa is taking a page from Dancing With the Stars pro and "role model" Jenna Johnson's book as she embraces the role of dance coach and mentor to the young performers of XOMG Pop! Siwa brought in mom Jessalynn Siwa to help her mold and audition the talented youngsters who will open for her on the upcoming D.R.E.A.M. tour on Siwas Dance Pop Revolution, but she told PopCulture.com that she also drew on lessons she learned while competing with Johnson on the ABC competition show.
"One thing Jenna did that I really took away is sometimes as a teacher, as a choreographer, you get frustrated just because a lot's going on," Siwa, 18, explained. "It's not frustration at them by any means, but it's frustration in my own brain." Johnson's solution to that feeling was taking plenty of longer breaks, and it's something Siwa utilized during her own rehearsals.
"Jenna would be like, 'Let's take a [10-minute break], otherwise I'm going to yell at you for no reason, so let's just take a 10,'" Siwa told PopCulture. "So I feel like that's what I did a lot – 'Let's just take a 10 and come back, because I'm not mad at you but I'm going to start yelling if we keep going. So let's take a 10. Go eat a doughnut and come back!"
Working with the young dancers is a bit of a full-circle moment for Siwa, who got her start on Dance Moms. "I remember being their age and feeling the way that they feel now," she shared. "I feel like I can really relate to them [and] know what they're going through, and I feel like it really helps me teach them and know what to say to them because I'm able to relate to them."
Pairing her experience on Dance Moms with the lessons she learned on Dancing With the Stars, Siwa embraced taking on a mentoring relationship with the stars of XOMG Pop! – Bella Cianni Llerena, 12, Brooklynn Pitts, 11, Dallas Skye Gatson, 10, Kinley Cunningham, 10, Kiya Barczyszyn, 12, Leigha Rose Sanderson, 14, and Tamara "Tinie T" Andreasyan, 10. "I realized my relationship with Jenna ... that's these kids' relationships with me," Siwa told PopCulture, adding it was "pretty cool" to take that on.
The XOMG Pop! stars certainly think so, with Gatson saying Siwa "gives the best advice" and makes rehearsals "so much fun." Andreasyan added that she loves how Siwa always makes sure to choreograph a stand-out moment for everyone, telling her dance crew, "It's just fun being here and cherishing this moment with all you guys." For Pitts, the best part of being in XOMG Pop! is "inspiring others," as she can't wait to get on the road with their first original song, "Candy Hearts," coming out Dec. 17. Siwas Dance Pop Revolution is streaming now on Peacock. Get more information on Siwa's D.R.E.A.M. The Tour here.