Wednesday, October 31, 2007


By Armando Martin
Former US Champion and National Dance Director

As Week Six begins it is very apparent that the competition is getting tighter. There are no throwaways given the seven stars left. Marie and Helio are the weakest, but they have a lot of fans out there, especially Marie. So from here on, anything goes when it comes to which stars are going home. I made the right call last week when I said that Mark Cuban would go home. Let’s see how I do this week.

Sabrina started out the night with a fabulous Foxtrot. Her use of body shapes and musical interpretation was very good. She throws herself into every dance with absolute commitment and no inhibitions at all. Her feet can be a little heavy at times and she is very aggressive, but you can tell that she takes whatever Mark tells her to do and she does it 200 percent. She’ll be in the final three for sure.
Score - a low 25.

Jennie and Derek danced a hot, fast Mambo this week. Jennie seemed to have come out ready to dance and have a good time. She received great comments from Bruno and Len, which were well deserved, but I can’t understand how they were so nice to her and negative with Sabrina. Regardless, Jennie did her best dance so far this season. Her dancing is steppe and a bit heavy but she is definitely improving.
Score 27

Coming back from the bottom two last week were Jane and Tony. They danced the jive, which Tony choreographed to perfection for Jane. Unfortunately Jane did not step up to the plate with this dance. She was too high in her body and her legs, her posture was too upright and her knees too erect to allow her to get the right bounce and foot speed that is required in the jive.
Score 22

Cameron’s Samba was technically very good. He showed a lot of determination and passion in this dance. His footwork was correct but a little heavy. His arms and elbows were left behind him most of the time, which prevented his weight from getting forward enough to give him the right look and make him light enough on his feet to make his Samba the best dance of the evening.
Score 25

Mel B. danced a Rumba tonight that was so good it would have won a Rising Star competition in many U.S. cities. Mel’s sexuality came through from the very first basic open brake that she danced all the way through the passionate embraces she and Maks had throughout the dance. She is my favorite dancer in this competition because she has more depth than anyone else. She is technically very sound but she is also a real woman with a great face and curves and all that it takes to make dancing look good.
Score 30

Walking the Paso Doble tonight were Marie and Jonathan. Notice that I wrote walking and not dancing, because that’s exactly what she did. Marie needs to smile and bring her charm to every performance because her dancing alone will not keep her around much longer. Jonathan needs to find a way to bring the best out of Marie in every dance by creating fun and comedic moments that she can relate to.
Score - a very, very high 23.

Helio and Julieanne danced a funky Cha-Cha that impressed the judges and the audience. Helio was fun to watch and as always Julieanne did a great job of choreographing the perfect material for him, which is so important sometimes. If you are smart about how you show off your star, you can hang around the competition longer as a dancer. And Julianne does just that.
Score 28

The evening closed with a group number that was so much fun - half West Side Story, half Hairspray. The dancers did a great job as did the choreographer. The number showed how much fun it can be to dance as a group and not have to compete against anyone else. I am afraid that this week’s elimination show will send home one of my two favorite personalities - Marie or Jane - although Helio is close behind.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Jane Seymour - In her own words

“It’s week 5 and Tony has diligently been trying to teach me the Rumba and I've devotedly been trying to learn it! The Rumba is all about passion and heat, it's a very sexy dance, but let me tell you, it's not as easy as it looks. I thought the Rumba would be simpler to learn as it's slower and the movements are more dramatic. I was mistaken. Although I have to admit, the Kitty Cat in me is really liking this dance.”

Jane Seymour keeps her fans updated about her progress on “Dancing With the Stars,” as well as on other topics related to her life and career, through her blog at

On her blog, Jane provides photos, answers to fans’ questions and comments about her dance experience.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Through the years: A look back at the art of dance

Dancing as a leisure activity was forced underground by the dominant Protestant culture that declared dancing socially unacceptable and linked it with drinking and lewdness. Even when European immigrants brought traditional dances to America during the nineteenth century, they were limited to celebrations at ethnic social halls.

Dancing became more mainstream after the turn of the century, when music and more organized bands earned enthusiastic followings. The advent of prohibition in 1920 separated dancing and drinking to a certain extent, and made dancing more socially respectable. Many commercial dance palaces were set up during this period, and in New York City alone, dance halls had revenues of $8 million in 1920.

A combination of social, economic, and demographic factors contributed to the decline of ballroom dancing and the dance school industry in the 1950s and 1960s. Fewer extravagant, romantic movie musicals were filmed. The advent of counter-culture rock-and-roll music was accompanied by alcohol use, transferring much social dancing into another industrial category. Moreover, the mass exodus to suburbia during this period resulted in a decreasing number of couples visiting urban dance halls. During the 1960s and 1970s, improvised singles dancing grew increasingly popular, and organized couples dancing became reserved for weddings and other special occasions.

Ballroom dancing regained popularity in the 1980s, spurred by a modest revival of music from the first half of the century. As the decade of conspicuous consumption progressed, ballroom dancing provided an outlet for prosperous men and women to dress up and spend money. Dance studios and halls also benefited from the fitness craze, as people danced for exercise and to relieve tension. The return of traditional formal weddings also contributed to this industry's growth in the 1980s. Dance teachers also credited the Public Broadcasting Service, which carried major ballroom dance competitions beginning in 1981, for promoting the activity. Dance studios began to coordinate more competitions, which encouraged students to take more lessons in preparation for competition.

The International DanceSport Federation (IDSF, formerly the International Council of Amateur Dancers) spent the latter half of the twentieth century working toward the acceptance of ballroom dancing as an Olympic event. In 1987, IDSF designated the United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association as the sole governing body for amateur ballroom dancing in the United States. Ten years later, the International Olympic Committee gave full recognition to the IDSF and its affiliates.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cruising: Cruise ship hosts spend their days on the dance floor

For older men who know the difference between a Waltz and a Foxtrot, being a cruise ship host offers evenings in the dance floor spotlight and days in the ocean sunlight traveling to places they would have never seen otherwise.
"I've done well over 100 (cruises), including two 100-day world cruises, and I've visited 116 countries," says host David Larsen, a 64-year-old retired engineer from Florida.
It's not just singles (older and younger) that are looking for a whirl around the dance floor. Some married women with non-dancing husbands are as eager for a dance as anyone. Hosts have to be willing to dance with all interested ladies, regardless of skill level, age or marital status.

Thanks to the popularity of television shows like "Dancing With the Stars" and the number of older single or widowed women who find cruise ships an enjoyable getaway, the need for male dance hosts doesn't appear likely to wane any time soon. Some sailings have as many as eight hosts on board to take care of 20 or more single ladies.

"On a Europe cruise I had asked a lady to dance. She hesitated, then agreed and hobbled onto the dance floor holding on to my arm," remembers Ed Champy, a 71-year-old from New Hampshire who's been on more than 75 cruises. "We danced gently in place. She told me she was a stroke victim and said that I had given her a new outlook on life and that she wouldn't let her problem stand in her way ever again."

For the full text of this article, click on

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dancing With the Stars Week 5

By Armando Martin
Former U.S. Champion
FADS National Dance Director

Marie and Jonathan danced the Samba tonight to a great piece of music. Marie has unbelievable charisma and a fantastic smile. Her dancing is very easy to watch, but her feet and use of legs are definitely not the best in the competition. However, considering her great fan base, she could go a long way. Marie fainted right after her performance, which shows you how winded you can get when you dance. Thankfully she was OK. Score 21

Tony and Jane danced the Rumba tonight, Jane looked fantastic in her red Latin dress. Her performance was a little careful but her use of arms and legs was so classy and elegant that it looked like she has been doing it for a long time. I think that as Jane gets further in this competition, with her talent and Tony’s teaching experience, she will be there at the end.
Score 26

Dancing the Samba tonight was Mark and Kim, which was not a good dance for them. Mark got a lot of criticism from the judges, and rightly so. His dancing this week was geeky and unnatural with a lack of rhythm and feeling. Maybe next week he’ll get a dance that suits him better.
Score 21

Sabrina and Mark danced the Rumba. Mark received a surprise when during practice his mom, the one and only Shirley Ballas, the best woman to ever grace the Latin dance floor, showed up to help. Unfortunately, I don’t think it helped. This was Sabrina’s worst dance so far. The rumba is not a dance that you can fake and make look good with tricks and speed. Rumba needs true understanding and technique, and Sabrina did not have it.
Score 28

The Samba is not an easy dance because it needs bounce, Cuban motion, shaking and lots traveling around the floor. Jennie did a fine job with Derek this week. She is a very solid and balanced dancer. She never loses her balance and her feet look like they are glued to the ground, which is good. I agree with Bruno that Jennie needs to look up off the floor and have more fun; she shouldn’t look like she’s thinking while she dances.
Score 25

Helio and Julianne danced a very nice Rumba this week. His lines were good and the routine was well put together. But Helio really struggled with the music. He was too fast and did not pull off this dance. Rumba may be the slowest dance, but it is the hardest one to do because it requires true command of technique. Better luck next week.
Score 23

Mel and Maks showed us why she is a force to be reckoned with. I just realized this week that she has very long legs and that they are set into her hips perfectly for a Latin dancer. That’s why she looks so natural when she dances. Her Samba was by far the best technical dance and the best performance of the night.
Score 29

Cameron and Edyta danced the Rumba this week, and they certainly set the right mood on the floor - two great looking people dancing a very sexy Rumba. Cameron did a great job; his posture and emotion were truly exceptional. He is getting better every week and you can see that his natural talent is coming through.
Score 26

The competition is getting stronger and tougher every week. The talented dancers are getting better a little faster than the others, and now is when you see the gaps getting bigger even if you don’t see it in the judges’ scores, I will not be available to comments on the results show, but I think is easy to see that Mark Cuban will go home this week. I’ll be in touch again next week.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jane and Tony Are Ready To Rumba

Ready to Rumba

Entertainment Tonight spent some time in the rehearsal studio with Jane Seymour and Tony Dovolani this week as they prepare to perform the Rumba on tonight’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

To view a video clip from their rehearsal, available on ET Online, click

Fred Astaire studio participates in Habitat for Humanity benefit

RANDOLPH, Mass. – Instructors from the Hanover (Mass.) Fred Astaire Dance Studio participated in the first ever “Dancing With the Realtors” to benefit Habitat for Humanity on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

The event was produced by the Plymouth and South Shore Association of Realtors.‘‘I have always enjoyed dancing,’’ Claire Shields, a broker for Grand Gables Real Estate in Scituate, said before taking the floor with her professional partner, Kalin Mitov, 32, of Rockland.Shields, a great-grandmother, was among 22 real estate agents who competed in the event.Inspired by the popular TV show ‘‘Dancing with the Stars,’’ the fund-raiser was the brainchild of Linda Covino of the Eastern Middlesex Association of Realtors. Covino came up with the idea after taking ballroom dance lessons in her spare time.Covino’s organization raised more than $21,000 for the Greater Boston Habitat for Humanity earlier this year.

For the full text of the article, click on

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fred Astaire is focus of English conference

According to the Web site, a conference on the life and work of Fred Astaire will take place June 21 to 24 at Oriel College, Oxford University, Oxford, England.

Special guests at the conference include Ava Astaire McKenzie and her husband Richard McKenzie. John Mueller, Ken Barnes, Larry Billman and Peter Levinson, among other Astaire experts, will also be on hand to make presentations.

To request a registration form, please e-mail

Dance Competition in Connecticut

The first weekend in November there will be a regional competition held at the Mystic Marriott. All the Fred Astaire studios are excited to show off their talents and expect to have a great weekend with friends and family. If you're interested in joining this event please contact the studio for further ticket information.

As everyone knows, when a competition comes around there has to be a dress rehearsal, too! So mark your calendars for Friday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Everyone will perform during that time. Come and support your Fred Astaire community and enjoy a fun night with the studio! Visit the South Windsor (Conn.) Fred Astaire Dance Studio blog at

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dancing with the Stars Week 4 Recap

Dancing with the Stars Week 4
By Armando Martin
Former U.S. Champion
FADS National Dance Director

The best show on TV kicked off this week with Mark and Kim – not the best couple – who danced an elegant Viennese Waltz. Although he is not the worse dancer in the competition, Mark is hanging on by a thread. His work ethic and motivation are evident with every little step he takes, but he needs a little luck to stay around long enough to see all that hard work pay off and become a more natural-looking dancer. I like Mark and I would like to see him stay around for a couple of more weeks to see if he can get better. My bet is that he can.
Score 22

Mark and Sabrina danced the Paso Doble this week, and what a dance they pulled off. They were powerful, fast, and totally in sync with each other. When you put all that together you end up with a great performance that brings the audience to the edge of its seat. However, as much as I enjoyed it, I think a perfect 30 was not warranted when you put her dance up against Jane’s. Jane has a better look, especially for a lady, and better feet, legs and posture. I guess it’s whatever you prefer - entertainment value or absolute beauty.

Tony and Jane danced an unbelievably beautiful Viennese Waltz. This week Jane made herself the one to beat in the competition. Her softness and top line were almost at a professional level. When she danced on her own away from Tony, it was like watching a ballerina move across the floor. This lady is class and beauty in motion and, as always, Tony brings the best out of all his partners.
Score 26

Floyd and Karina danced the Paso tonight and they received good reviews from the judges, who I think were very intimidated by Floyd’s comments after last week’s performance. That is the only reason they would be so nice, because his dancing was horrid. He did try very hard but that only made it scarier to watch. His posture was terrible and he looked like he was mad at the floor the way he was stepping on it.
Score 23

Mel. B and Maks danced the Viennese Waltz tonight and I can say without a doubt it was her weakest dance so far. Normally I like her dancing very much, but tonight she was steppy and bumpy. Her top line looked heavy and out of place. Mel has to do better to be a threat to Jane and Sabrina.
Score 26

Superman was the theme for Cameron and Edyta this week, and they pulled it off very well. Their dancing was strong, well choreographed and very effective. It is hard to do Paso Doble to the song from Superman but they did it very nicely. Cameron is the only guy that can actually stick around to see the semifinals.
Score 27

Marie and Jonathan danced a very nice but boring Viennese Waltz. I am afraid that without her charm, she actually has no chance in this competition. She moved very lightly and with good posture, but she lacked anything special or impressive this week. Better luck next week.
Score - A very high 26

Jennie and Derek danced a fabulous Paso Doble. The improvement in this lady is unbelievable. She is getting better and better every week as she loosens up and becomes one with the music and her partner. On Monday she was powerful, strong and passionate. Great job. Her score should have been closer to 10 and not the 8s she received.
Score 27

Dancing the Viennese Waltz tonight was Julianne and Helio. This guy’s dancing is contagious and great to watch. Even though technically this was not his best performance, his smile and energy pulled him through. His top line, which is usually great, was high and tight. He will have to be better next week because Cameron is coming to get him.
Score 27

The results show gave us Mel B. in the bottom two, which is incredible. This girl is truly talented and can win the whole thing if given a chance. Floyd Mayweather Jr. was sent packing tonight, and that was absolutely the right choice.

I’ll be back next week with more comments and insight on the dancers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dance With Your Own Stars

For many, their love of ballroom dancing - and its health benefits - was firmly entrenched before shows like “Dancing With the Stars” became a cultural phenomenon.
According to a study conducted by Dr. Hermes Ilarraza, of the National Institute of Cardiology in Mexico, ballroom dancing can give as good an aerobic workout as more conventional forms of exercise.

Ilarazza followed a group of 40 heart disease patients, all of whom committed to 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week, for five weeks. Half of the study’s participants got their exercise from a dance routine choreographed by a professional dancer, while the others exercised on stationary bicycles. Ilarraza found that the dance group’s exercise capacity increased by 28 percent, almost as much as the 31 percent increase for the cycling group.
A 140-pound person can burn an average of 350 calories in an hour of fast dancing such as swing, quickstep and salsa, and can burn about 200 calories with slower styles like the tango or traditional ballroom (cha-cha, foxtrot and waltz). Plus, in addition to toning your leg muscles, dancing contributes to good posture and body alignment, it works your core and upper body, encourages gentle stretching, increases your flexibility and stamina, builds up healthy bones and develops your balance.

Setting the physical benefits aside, dancing can also be life changing. It can lift your spirit in a way most other exercise routines cannot. If you are suffering from depression or experiencing a difficult time in your life, heading to the dance studio is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Not only does your body begin to pump massive amounts of the feel-good hormone serotonin with each movement, the music can ease an aching soul. Dancing also reawakens a nearly forgotten sense of chivalry and graciousness that we all still secretly yearn for from time to time.
Ballroom dancing is not only ideal for the single, lonely or overweight. It can also re-ignite passion within even the longest and mundane of relationships. Just imagine, both you and your mate feeling fit, energized and a whole lot sexier… together. Now that’s worth celebrating.

Excerpt from “Dance with your Own Stars,” an article by Nancy Christie that ran in the Fall 2007 edition of HealthSmart Today

Changing One Life At a Time

On June 21, 2006, Kitty walked through the door of the Chicago North Fred Astaire Dance Studio with nothing more than a gift certificate for five lessons and a huge amount of fear.

As she waited for an instructor to come forward and begin her first lesson, the fear grew; there was a whirlwind of activity around her in the studio - people introducing themselves, good dancers gliding across the floor, music going strong.

All she could think was that she had to make it through the five lessons and then she never had to come back – ever. No one wanted to see a girl in the worst shape of her life – approximately 160 pounds overweight - shake her groove thing.

But over the next year, Kitty discovered something amazing. Not only did she fall in love with ballroom dancing, her body – and her self-esteem – have reaped the benefits.

“Ballroom/Latin Dancing is one of the greatest things I have ever done,” she said. “I've changed my perspective, lost weight, and found what it means to be truly happy in life.”

For more on Kitty’s amazing ballroom journey, visit her blog at

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mr. Las Vegas Exits Stage Left

Danke schoen for being here. But for now, auf Wiedersehen.

Wayne Newton was eliminated from Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday, the third celebrity to heel-toe his way off the floor this season.

Although the 65-year-old entertainer was praised, as always, for his showmanship, even a tango-ready mustache and ponytail couldn't lift Mr. Las Vegas' Latin-dance score out of the dumps.

I think it's important to live life, not just exist in it," Newton said, adding that he may have been uncomfortable at times, but that stepping out of one's comfort zone is key. "Not trying is failing to me."

Partner Cheryl Burke, the two-time Dancing champ who helped Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith bring home the disco ball, said that working with Newton had been "one of the most phenomenal experiences of my life."

For the full text, click on

Dancing With the Stars Week 3 Recap


By Armando Martin

Week two on dancing with the stars already showed what a popularity contest this show really is. Sending Albert Reed home after a very good performance was a real shame. He had lots of potential and a great personality, but c’est la vie.

Week three started with a bang with Mark and Sabrina dancing a Jive that could have won any professional Rising Star competition in the U.S. This girl is an absolute dynamo. She picks up the character of every dance like she’s been doing it for years. The only negative thing was her feet were a little messy, but as a couple they are unbeatable so far.
Score 27

Cameron and Edyta danced a piece of music that just wasn’t very good. Cameron did a great job - good form, great top line and balance. If he continues to improve at this rate he will be around for a long time in this competition. He will have to work on the characteristic of each dance to look complete.
Score 23

I give Mark Cuban a lot of credit for all the work he is doing to be in this show, but I think that if you give him center stage anywhere, he will do his best to stay there as long as possible. His dancing is a little awkward; his feet and his arms don’t quite connect, but like him anyway because of his exuberance and energy. He will not last too long, but he’s enjoying every minute of it.
Score 18

The next couple was Jennie and Derek. Their Tango was superb. Their strong movement and sharp actions made this one of tonight’s best numbers, and a great departure from last week’s quickstep. It is nice to see the improvement in her dancing and especially her performance level tonight.
Score 26

Mel B. came out ready to make sure Sabrina doesn’t run away with this competition. Although Mel has a very different quality than Sabrina, she is still a big threat. Mel is softer and more feminine and has better feet, legs and shoulder line. It will be very interesting to see how she continues to improve in the next few weeks.
Score 27

Wayne and Cheryl danced the Tango tonight - a far better performance than last week. I was not crazy about the mustache and the ponytail - I think that he looked like a caricature. But the dancing was better. All his fans from all those years in Vegas better call a lot because his dancing alone won’t keep him in the competition for too long.
Score 18

The boxer came out strong this week. Floyd did a good Jive with lots of energy and natural rhythm. While his interpretation was good and energetic, it was interesting for me to see that a guy who makes a living on his toes was incredibly flat-footed in the Jive, which is a dance that requires one to be on his toes at all times and to bounce all during the number.
Score 21

After losing her mother last week, Jane Seymour came on to the floor sad but well composed, looking beautiful as always and in complete character for the Tango. Her top line was impeccable and so was her dancing. Tony showcased her talents beautifully in this dance with a combination of slow and quick movements that truly spelled Tango through out their performance.
Score 27

Helio and Julianne came out with an absolutely fantastic Jive. Helio is either the most natural and quickest learner in the world or he has danced before. He looks so at home on the floor, and his technique is very good for a supposedly new dancer. I would like to see where this couple is going to go. I feel that the judges were very critical about Helio’s performance without reason; he was great.
Score 24

Marie came out again this week looking good and ever so cute. I was surprised last week at her very flirtatious performance, but that’s her personality. Tonight her Tango was absolutely charming and very good. Her top line was great as was her movement. She used her natural comedic talents to bring a little extra to the floor and it worked like a charm. Marie can’t win this competition with her dancing but she will make it interesting with her other talents.
Score 26

The results show on Tuesday night was packed with great performances. Seal performed a beautiful song while Eddie Stuts and Valentina, a fairly new partnership and already U.S. finalists, danced a breathtaking Viennese Waltz. We also saw the return of the self-proclaimed hillbilly Billy Ray Cirus, who performed with his daughter while Karina and Maks danced a great Rumba. There is something about live music and great dancing that is irreplaceable. What a fantastic show it was.

The bottom two this week were no surprise. Wayne Newton and Floyd Mayweather were the obvious choices to go home, Wayne just did not bring enough to this competition and was voted off by America. Although his dancing was not great, his graciousness and class will be missed in the coming weeks.

I will be back next week with more comments on your favorite DWTS contestants.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Top 10 Favorite Dance Scenes

What is your favorite “couples” dance scene of all time?
Did Baby and Johnny merengue their way into history? Or do you prefer the grace and style of Fred and Ginger? And what about those kids in “Mad Hot Ballroom?”

Here are numbers five through 10 on Moviephone’s Best Movie Dance Scenes list:

10. Mad Hot Ballroom
9. Save the Last Dance
8. Dance With Me
7. Scent of a Woman
6. Strictly Ballroom
5. Swing Time

Want to know if your favorite dance movie made the cut? Can’t wait to find out which movie secured the top spot? Click on to see how the scenes stack up. You can view some of the more memorable dance scenes through this Web site, and purchase most of the movies included on the list.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dancing With the Stars Week One Recap

By Armando Martin
Former U.S. Champion
FADS National Dance Director

A new season of “Dancing With the Stars” kicked off last week with great fanfare and lots of promise for the development of good dance talent.

The opening number showed all of America that the show has the ability to entertain us like no other program on TV. It also showed us new additions to the show - great and talented dancers like Mark Ballas and Derek Hough.

Marky, as he is better known in the world of Dancesport, comes from true dancing royalty. His parents are none other than Corky and Shirley Ballas, former World and Open British Latin Champions. Marky displays his dad’s fun, go-for-broke personality and his mom’s impeccable technique. This young man is going to be a real force this season.

The other great addition is Derek Hough, who is actually Julianne’s natural brother and Marky’s adopted brother. Derek was also trained by Corky and Shirley, which is evident in his Latin dancing. Both Derek and Marky have done some stints in London’s West End, which is England’s equivalent of Broadway.

Moving on to the Stars in the show in order of appearance, the first couple was Jennie Garth and Derek. Jennie is a very lovely lady who has some natural talent, but really needs to loosen up and not take the whole thing so seriously. She looks like she is trying too hard and I am afraid that Derek’s lack of teaching experience will be a detriment to this couple. Tonight they performed the Cha-Cha and scored a 21.

In the second spot dancing a Foxtrot were Alex and Josie Maran. A better looking couple will be hard to find even in Hollywood, but unfortunately looks will only take you so far in a dance contest and as of the writing of this article, they had already been voted off the show as the first couple to say goodbye this season. Let this be a lesson to models - don’t enter DWTS, you are always the first ones to go.

Performing a dynamic Cha-Cha in the third spot was Sabrina Bryan and Mark, as far as I am concerned, the competition can stop right now, we have our winner. Let everybody go home. But I am sure ABC television has to honor all its advertising commitments with the sponsors, and are therefore forced to keep the show going until Sabrina is crowned the winner. Their performance was deservedly awarded a 26.

In the fourth spot tonight were Marie Osmond and Jonathan. What a perfectly nice Mormon couple. Marie is an absolute pleasure to watch. She may not be the best dancer in the show, but I believe she’s going to go far this season. She brings nice, cute and fun wrapped up in a great little package. Fox Trot was their first dance and they scored a very respectable 21.

If there is someone that can give Sabrina a run for her money is Mel B. dancing with Maks. Maks better work very hard this season and come up with some good, dynamic and entertaining choreography to give Mel a shot at the finals. In Mel he has the best technical dancer in the competition. While she does not have the pure power and abandonment that Sabrina has, Mel has great feet, legs and posture. Okay, maybe we better wait until the end. Scary Spice was awarded a 24 by the judges.

The last lady to dance this night was Jane Seymour, and what a lady she is. I know that I keep contradicting myself but there is an outside chance that Jane could actually win this thing. First she has the most experienced partner of all in Tony. He is a true dance professional in every sense of the word and has the ability to teach and bring out the best in his pupils. With Jane, he has a lot to work with. She is classy, balanced and very talented. In the end it will come down to who is voting more – middle-aged people or teenagers. Jane and Tony received a well-deserved 24.

I will talk about the guys in my next article. Stay tuned.

Beating the odds

George Velasquez refuses to give up his dreams.

Velasquez, 55, who was born in New York City, attended Julliard and made his living in the theatre for several years, dancing in the off-Broadway show “A Chorus Line” and touring with the Andrea True Connection. He also started a Burlesque show in the Catskill Mountains for 15 years.

In 1988 he moved to Atlanta, Ga. and accepted a position as a dance instructor for Dance City Ballroom. But then on Aug. 1, 1994, George’s whole life changed. He was a victim of a hit-and-run accident that forced doctors to amputate his left leg below the knee. After months of anguish, pain, he found his way back to the dance studio and continued giving lessons, assisted by his prosthetic leg.

Due to recurring bone spurs and infections, George had to undergo additional surgeries that brought his leg to three inches from the hip. He also lost the tips of his toes on his right foot and parts of all his fingers as well. But George says life is like a game of poker. You play the hand that is dealt to you.

Even now, George continues to compete professionally. For more on his remarkable story, as well as video showcasing his participation in a recent competition, click on

Bravo continues casting new reality show, ‘Step it Up’

According to an article on, Bravo has announced the creation of “Step It Up,” a new reality series that blends elements of “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Project Runway.”

Magical Elves’ producers Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth - the same people behind Bravo’s “Project Runway” and “Top Chef” - are producing “Step It Up.” It will follow a similar format to the aforementioned shows, combining competitions with behind-the-scenes footage of what it takes to make it in the professional dance industry.
"We believe there is an emotional, dramatic and visually exciting side of the dance world that has yet to be explored," said Lipsitz. "We are very excited to take the same organic and passionate approach to dance, as we do to cooking in ‘Top Chef’ and fashion in ‘Runway.’"

Dancers competing against one another in “Step It Up” will be put through a series of challenges that will have them auditioning for various roles, such as a music video or Las Vegas stage show. In addition, the challenges are designed to both showcase the dancers' moves and test their abilities, with contestants being eliminated and only one receiving the cash grand prize.
Those interested in attending one of “Step It Up's” upcoming open casting calls must be at least 18 years old as of Sept 1, 2007. Two casting calls remain – one in New York on Oct. 6 and one in Atlanta on Oct. 13.

Additional information, such as applications and further casting requirements, is available via Bravo's Web site.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

ABC takes the lead

ABC was one step above the competition during the season's first official week, beating CBS by fewer than 100,000 viewers.

ABC's win was helped along by three high-stepping editions of "Dancing with the Stars," plus the healthy premiere of the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Private Practice," which ranked 12th.

The week's top-rated prime-time show belonged to CBS - the durable "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." But the premiere of “Dancing With the Stars” was hot on the crime drama’s heels, placing second in the Nielson ratings with 21.25 million viewers. The Tuesday night edition of “Stars” ranked fifth overall, with the Wednesday night results show securing the eighth spot.

Jane Seymour travels to England after the death of her mother

Jane Seymour travels to England after the death of her mother

Actress Jane Seymour did not attend Tuesday night’s “Dancing With the Stars” elimination round due to the death of her mother, according to E! News.
Her mother, Mieke Frankenberg, 92, died of complications from a stroke she had earlier this year.

It is unclear whether Seymour will return in time for the show on Monday. Even if she does, the limited amount of time she would have to practice would likely prove challenging. However, at the start of Tuesday’s show, host Tom Bergeron said Seymour does plan to continue on Monday.

"Jane got the devastating news her mom passed away in England. She's gone back to be with her family," Bergeron said on the show. "One of the main reasons why Jane decided to do the show was because her mom was such a big fan of the British version, which brought her a lot of joy while she was ill... We can reveal that once the votes were counted, Jane and Tony are safe to dance again next week. Furthermore, we're happy to say Jane has decided to stay in the competition in tribute of her mother's memory."Seymour’s partner, Tony Dovolani, understands all too well the speed bumps that can crop up along the “Dancing With the Stars” trail. Dovolani’s partner in Season 3, country singer Sara Evans, withdrew from competition during Week 6. It was later revealed that she was filing for divorce from her husband, Craig Schelske.
In the first two competition shows this season, Seymour and Dovolani started strong, scoring a 24 out of 30 with their foxtrot, followed by a 21 for their mambo.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cheryl Burke’s star shines bright

Two-time Dancing With the Stars champion Cheryl Burke traded in her ballet slippers for a ballroom dancing outfit at age 11. Now she practices eight hours a day for her job as a dynamic and well-respected professional dancer on one of TVs most popular reality shows.

Dancing With the Stars” has turned Cheryl Burke into a star in her own right. This season, she has been tearing up the floor with Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton.
Burke, 23, has become one of the biggest draws on ABC’s hit reality series “Dancing With the Stars.” The show, which is now in its fifth season, pairs professional ballroom dancers with celebrities and has them compete in the fox trot, tango, paso doble and other traditional routines. Its estimated weekly viewership of 20 million people last year was second only to “American Idol.”

The popularity of “Dancing With the Stars,” an import version of the international television hit “Strictly Come Dancing,” has surprised even executives at ABC, some of whom were reluctant to embrace the series when it started as a summer replacement in 2005.
For more about Cheryl Burke and “Dancing With the Stars,” read the full text of the article at

Monday, October 01, 2007

Want to Know Why Jane Seymour Joined Dancing with the Stars?

Want to know why Jane Seymour decided to join the cast of Dancing With the Stars? Interested to know what motivates her every time she enters the ballroom?
Those answers and more can be found by logging on to, Jane Seymour’s official Dancing With the Stars blog. She offers visitors a number of links, including home movies, dancing clips and a special “Ask Jane” section.
According to the site, serves as the official showcase for Jane’s “lifelong love of dance.”
Jane, who has been paired with Tony Dovolani on this season’s Dancing With the Stars, wowed judges and fans with an elegant Foxtrot on last week’s season premiere. The show airs on ABC Monday nights at 8 p.m. EST and Tuesday nights at 9 p.m., EST.