Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dancing with the Stars Links

Last night’s premiere of “Dancing With The Stars” has already sparked a flurry of media coverage. Check out the links below to read some of the more compelling commentary.

“Dancing With The Stars”: The Men on the Los Angeles Times ‘Show Tracker’ blog.

'Dancing With the Stars': The Gute, the Bad, and the Ugly on

'Dancing with the Stars' recap: Rating last night's male performances on, the online version of Detroit Free Press.

‘Dancing:’ The parade of sequins begins on’s ‘Viewer Discretion’ blog.

“Dancing With The Stars:” Guys on

Week 1 'Dancing With The Stars' Pre-Show Interview With Jason Taylor on’s ‘Entertainment News Blog.’

And be sure to visit the official Dancing With The Stars site for all the latest information on your favorite performers!

Tune in tonight for the second half of the season six premier3 to watch FADS’ own Fabian Sanchez and Tony Dovolani show off their moves on the dance floor.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Who Will Win "Dancing With The Stars"?

Don’t miss the Season 6 premiere of “Dancing With The Stars”, tonight at 8 pm EST/PST on ABC.

Who Will Win "Dancing With The Stars"?

See How This Season's Competitors Stack Up

(CBS) When the current crop of "Dancing With The Stars" competitors kicks off the show's sixth season Monday night, it won't just be a battle over who has the best moves.

Contestant ranking in this show is based on a combination of the judges' scores and the fan votes, so popularity counts just as much as skill.

That's what makes it tricky to predict which of the stars will make it to the finals and on to the ultimate prize: a tacky disco ball trophy.

This season's stars include several actors, an R&B singer, a few sports champions, and even an illusionist/comedian. Some of them have experience dancing, others benefit from the discipline of athletics, and all have performed in front of a crowd.

Click here to read the full text of this article.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Marlee Matlin Ready for `Dancing' Debut

Marlee Matlin had never danced before — well, other than at weddings and bar mitzvahs — but for the past two weeks, she's been cha-cha-ing and quickstepping for seven hours a day in preparation for her "Dancing With the Stars" debut.

Despite the unforgiving schedule and complaints of constant soreness from past contestants, Matlin, 42, says she's remained pain-free.

"Everyone asks if I'm sore," she said after a recent rehearsal at a nondescript dance studio northeast of Los Angeles. "Am I supposed to be sore?"

Perhaps not. She is, however, supposed to step, twirl, dip, smile, clap, spin, plant and jump — all imaginable types of body and facial movements, really — in time with the music. Never mind that the Academy Award-winning actress can't hear a single note, beat, or tempo change.

While none of this year's crop of "Dancing" hopefuls have ever danced professionally, Matlin has the additional challenge of being deaf. And that's not a problem, she said through her longtime interpreter, Jack Jason. Matlin relies on her professional partner, show newcomer Fabian Sanchez, to lead the way.

"He's my music," she said.

Click here to read the full text of this article.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tony winner fought for her spot on 'Dancing with the Stars'

Like ships passing in the night two "Dancing With the Stars" competitors seemed to be on alternate planes of existence.

Marissa Jaret Winokur, 5 feet tall, was walking past the 6-foot-6 Penn Jillette.

"I said Hi' and he didn't say anything," Winokur recalls. "Then I realized: I was completely below his radar. Penn didn't even see me."

There might be a metaphor there; or maybe just a daydreamer. "I'm frequently lost in my thoughts," Jillette says.

But mostly, her story illustrates something basic: "Dancing With the Stars" - which has its first two eliminations Tuesday (March 18) - has extreme contrasts in:

- Age. Mario, a rhythm-and-blues singer, is 21; Priscilla Presley is 62.

- Size. Jillette, a magician, and Jason Taylor, a pro football star, are each 6-6; Winokur (a Tony winner) is 5-foot, Kristi Yamaguchi (an Olympic skating champion) is 5-1.

- Native country. Cristian de la Fuente, an actor, is from Chile; Monica Seles, a tennis great, is from Yugoslavia.

- And intangibles. For some, this will seem easy. They look athletic (Adam Carolla, Shannon Elizabeth, Steve Guttenberg); they really are athletes (Taylor, Yamaguchi, Seles). Others face major obstacles - particularly actress Marlee Matlin, who is hearing-impaired.

For an extreme contrast, however, meet Jillette and Winokur.

Click here to read the full text of this article.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Students find fun, inspiration at California’s only Fred Astaire Dance Studio

Friday Night series: Getting in step at Fred Astaire Dance Studio


The small sign tucked in the front window of California's only Fred Astaire Dance Studio quietly beckons: "Learn to Dance. Walk in, Dance out."

The handmade sign is just one of the homey touches that keep people coming to the unlikely dance studio in the far end of Mervyns Plaza Shopping Center on El Camino Real in Santa Clara, just down from a Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor.

The "club night" parties hosted by owners Bill and Floy Ranells every Friday night make all the lessons worthwhile. They turn the lights down low, signal the band it's time and away they go. The samba, the fox trot, the cha-cha-cha.

"Dancing is coming back," said Bill Ranells, a fast-talking former saxophone player and "a pretty good tango dancer," who bought the franchise 20 years ago.

In another era, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers light-stepping on the big screen inspired would-be dancers to take lessons. These days, it's dance shows on TV.

Click here to read the full text of this article, and to see streaming video and photos of students kicking up their heels on a recent Friday night at FADS in Santa Clara, CA.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Mitchell, Berkley, Paterson and O'Meara Set for Bravo's "Step It Up & Dance"

Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell will mentor young dancers in the forthcoming Bravo Television reality program "Step It Up & Dance," which is set to premiere April 3.

The new series will be hosted by actress and dancer Elizabeth Berkley (Sly Fox, "Showgirls") and boasts judges Vincent Paterson, who has choreographed Broadway's Kiss of the Spider Woman, Madonna's "Blond Ambition" tour and Michael Jackson's "Bad" tour; and Nancy O'Meara, currently enjoying success with 'tween sensations "Hannah Montana" and the High School Musical tours.

"Step It Up & Dance" brings together dancers from around the country, challenging them to master dance styles from ballet and ballroom, to Broadway and burlesque. Press notes state, "Whether it's a music video one week or a Vegas spectacular the next, Bravo's new dance series will feature challenges in which the dancers audition for a range of parts, designed to showcase their versatility and moves. As the competition gets fierce and contestants are eliminated, only one person will get the final 'call back' and the chance to perform, with the ultimate dancer winning a cash prize."

Click here to read the full text of this article.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Fred Astaire’s Belmont, Mass. Studio Makes Headlines

At Fred Astaire Dance Studio, they are dancing to the stars

Belmont, Mass. - Sometimes all it takes to get a prospective ballroom dancer into a gown and onto her feet is a little taste of what’s to come.

On Friday night, the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Cushing Square did just that, with a dress rehearsal for the upcoming regional competition.

“The dress rehearsal gives the competitors a chance to feel comfortable moving in their dresses,” said instructor Michelle Montanez. “It also gives the new students a chance to see what a competition is like.”

The students of the studio gathered that night to dance in mock heats, or about one and a half minutes of a specialized dance, to perfect their moves and shake off some nerves before the 37th annual DanceSport Competition to be held later this month in Quincy.

Click here to read the full text of this article.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tiger Electronics to Release U-DANCE Video Game

Unique System Lets Players Actually Step in to the Game

Interactive video games have always been a hit with kids of all ages, and it’s no surprise that the recent dance-craze permeating popular culture has inspired the gaming industry to add another dancing game to its repertoire (some of you may remember Dance Dance Revolution).

In fall 2008, Tiger Electronics (a Hasbro, Inc. brand) is set to launch U-DANCE, a completely wireless and dance-mat free game system that features motion sensing technology which allows players full range of movement and the ability to using their body to control game play. The U-DANCE system will feature popular dance music including Run It by Grammy-nominated pop artist Chris Brown.

Pop artist Chris Brown shows off his dance moves at the introduction of the U-DANCE gaming system at the Hasbro showroom at the American International Toy Fair in New York. by Ray Stubblebine, Hasbro

Monday, March 03, 2008

Glorious Debbie Reynolds, Stepping Out Again

A star in her own right, and currently the host of the hit stage show “Simply Ballroom”, actor and dancer Debbie Reynolds, reminisced about her career with a reporter from the Hartford Courant this month.

Debbie Reynolds knows what it's like to be a regular gal thrown into a situation where she is expected to dance like a dream — as well as a dynamo.

At 18 she was cast in the 1952 MGM movie musical "Singin' in the Rain," where she famously hoofed it up between such seasoned dancers as Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor.

As a plucky teenager starting out in the film business 60 years ago, she can identify with the anyone-can-do-it-if-they-work-hard spirit of such popular TV shows as "So You Think You Can Dance?" and "Dancing With the Stars."

Reynolds is in Hartford to rehearse the launch of the U.S. tour of the popular British show, "Strictly Ballroom," which she hosts. The show premieres tonight at 7 at Hartford's Mortensen Hall at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. It features more than a dozen professional ballroom dancers as well as a pair of "American Idol" singers: Anthony Federov and Vonzell Solomon.

Reynolds, who turns 76 next month, was perfectly coiffed, elegantly dressed (a stylish Technicolor jacket) and prepared to tell tales of old Hollywood last week at the Bushnell. With a career that goes back to the late '40s, the petite, poised, blue-eyed star is the queen mother of MGM's golden age of film, keeping movie memories alive with sharp-eyed, behind-the-scenes detail.

Click here to read the full text of this article.

The Hartford performance took place on March 2, 2008, but the show has U.S. tour dates booked through 2008. Click here to locate a “Simply Ballroom” performance near you.

Sox players shake their moneymakers, raise funds for charity

Jonathan Papelbon, of the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, looked like he was trying out for a weekend gig at Club Cafe when he chose a black, see-through lace bodysuit to compete in World Series MVP Mike Lowell’s “Dancing with the Stars” benefit in Florida last weekend.
Pap, who merengued with professional dancer Teresa Kasler, didn’t win the competition, but he did take home the “Bringing Sexy Back” award.
The contest was judged by a number of Red Sox playes, including Javier Lopez, Jason Varitek, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz and Sean Casey.

Word from spring training is that Papelbon's unwashed lacy black number is headed for the charity auction block. At least Papelbon kept his shirt on. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was showing off his merengue moves when he suddenly ripped his shirt off to reveal “Daddy” painted in glitter on his chest.

“Pedroia is a moron. You can write that - he is a moron,” manager Terry Francona told the
Herald’s Michael Silverman after the event. “He was dancing, he looked like a puppet on a string. It’s funny because he’s such a little gamer but he’s looking over at us knowing we’re just crushing him. He’s drinking Red Bull, he’s exhausted, he’s trying to do these things with this girl, which he’s not strong enough to do. It was hilarious. I’m glad I went.”

Alex Cora, who has some major league moves, showed them off with the lovely Latasha. But it was Lowell - the host of the evening - who took home the “Golden Shoes” trophy for dancing a spicy salsa with dance queen Christine Lopez.

The “Stars” event was a private affair for Lowell's charity that assists low-income families in Miami and Boston struggling with cancer. The foundation also funds baseball programs for inner city kids.

For the full text of the article, click on