Tuesday, December 08, 2009

'Dancing with the Stars' star visits Crestview

From the crestviewbullentin:(Crestview, FL)

By Brian Hughes brianh@crestviewbulletin.com
Nita Smeddon ended up with two instructors for her regular afternoon dance lesson at the Crestview Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Her usual teacher Scott Seip’s expertise was supplemented by an acknowledged expert in the art of the dance, Edyta Sliwinska.

Sliwinska, best known for her nine seasons on TV’s “Dancing with the Stars,” was in town last Friday and spent most of her day at the Main Street dance studio working with Fred Astaire’s clients. That evening she offered a group lesson.

Smeddon wasn’t Sliwinska’s only pupil during the lesson, however. She had several others, who just didn’t happen to be out on the dance floor at the time.

“The staff is listening and watching and learning,” said studio owner and manager David Col√≥n. “It’s awesome. It’s a good chance to learn from the best.”

“I think Scott’s having the most fun,” observed studio co-owner Erica Moreno as Sliwinska propelled him along the floor in a sultry tango to demonstrate the steps for Sneddon. “He’s in her arms a lot. He is going to have nice dreams tonight!”

Moreno said Seip wanted to make sure someone took his photo with Sliwinska because his buddies didn’t believe he would be spending the day with a television personality, let alone being frequently embraced in a dance with her.

Also watching from the sidelines was Crestview High School junior Yumi Terrell, whose lesson followed Smeddon’s. She was looking forward to learning a few extra pointers from the out-of-town celebrity guest—until she went online, looked up Sliwinska’s impressive credentials and started feeling a bit out of her league.

“Now she’s a little nervous,” chuckled Krickett Goutreaux, another Fred Astaire instructor, who, turning to the student, indicated Seip and said, “C’mon, Yumi, you dance with a star every day.”

But as Smeddon’s lesson came to a close and Yumi got to observe how personable Sliwinska was with the pupil, Yumi was ready to hit the floor herself. As for Smeddon, her eyes sparkled as she headed for a chair.
“That was so much fun!” she said. “I had a wonderful time. She (Sliwinska) is darling.”

The Polish dancer, who on the most recent season of “Dancing with the Stars” was partnered with writer/musician Ashley Hamilton, found her visit to the Hub City a welcome change. Instructing ordinary people was more relaxing than teaching celebrities, she said.

“When you work with some stars, you have to brace yourself for moody people who are late all the time,” Sliwinska said. “Dancing with regular people is more pleasurable.”

After a quick break for some fresh fruit and water, Sliwinska was ready to hit the floor once more with Seip and his next pupil, the now-eager Yumi.
“For me, the effort is pretty much the same,” Sliwinska said. “I give each student I take 100 percent, whether they’re movie stars or regular people. There’s no difference.”

For budding dancers such as Nita Sneddon and Yumi Terrell, however, their 45-minute encounters with the famous dancer indeed made a difference, and created memories they will always remember.

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