The 42-year-old actor first took on a fictionalize form of the ballroom during season 2 of his sitcom Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23, which starred Van Der Beek as an exaggerated version of himself.
“I don’t think it could be any more meta without all of our brain imploding. That happened because I love to dance and I thought it would be really fun. I’m the one who actually pitched that storyline,” the Dawson’s Creek alum told Us Weekly exclusively. “Fake me doing a fake Dancing with the Stars because I thought it would be really fun to dance and I thought it would be amazingly fun to also play a scene where like the fake version of me melts down, hallucinating and his hands are made out of pound cake. I learned, one cha-cha and had a great time.”
Van Der Beck added that he’s been offered a spot on the ABC reality competition “almost every year since.”
“This year, the timing was right and I realized I just really, really want to do this,” he told Us. “I’ve always loved dancing. I’ve always loved it. … I love to move, I love music and it’s fun.”
Van Der Beek did admit, however, that the real version of the show is “exhausting mentally, physically and emotionally” in the “best possible way.”
“My favorite thing about my job is when I get to learn skills that most people don’t ordinarily learn from the best in the world. Being challenged and having an amazing teacher is really my happy place,” the Pose star told Us. “So whether it’s learning fight skills for the next project that I’m going to do or learning how to ballroom dance … Over the last 10 years, every year I would purposely seek out a skill, that I wasn’t very good at and just learn. Just to go through the humility of not being good at something, of working through the challenges and then coming out on the other side with a new skill set.”
Dancing With the Stars premieres on ABC Monday, September 16, at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe