Tuesday, March 30, 2010

News About So You Think You Can Dance

From reuters.com:

"Think You Can Dance" adds "all-stars" from past

Mon, Mar 29 2010
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Television dance contest "So You Think You Can Dance" will feature a group of "all-stars" from past seasons in a bid to boost audiences when it returns for a 7th season in May.

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told reporters on Monday that Emmy-winning choreographer Mia Michaels will return as both a judge and a choreographer, and that just 10 dancers -- instead of 20 -- would be picked for the main competition from the thousands that audition.

In a major shake-up of the Fox summer TV hit, Lythgoe said he was assembling a pool of dancers from previous series. They will pair each week with the 2010 contestants who are vying for a $250,000 cash prize and a dance magazine cover feature.

"The whole reason for doing it is to make the show more exciting...Some of these brilliant dancers (from past seasons) have just disappeared off the face of the earth. To be able to have this show use its own talent is fabulous," Lythgoe said on a conference call.

In the past, 20 contestants have danced in pairs in styles from jazz and ballroom to hip-hop. Viewers vote on weekly eliminations until the finale.

In the new season, starting on Fox on May 27, the top 10 will draw the name of an all-star, and perform in the style perfected by that dancer. Lythgoe will release the names of the all-stars in coming weeks.

Unlike Fox's top-rated TV talent show "American Idol", where the victor gets a recording contract, releases an album, and can forge a best-selling career, winners of "So You Think You Can Dance" have few such high-profile opportunities.

Ratings for the dance contest have declined over the past two years from about 9.7 million viewers in 2008 to 7.1 million in 2009 when "So You Think You Can Dance" was moved from its regular summer spot to the autumn.

"The whole reason for doing improvements on a show is to try and get more people watching," Lythgoe acknowledged.

Contemporary dancer and choreographer Michaels, whose exit last October shocked fans, will return as both a choreographer and judge. Former ballroom dancer and judge Mary Murphy will add choreography to her judging duties, Lythgoe said.

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Dance Show - "Got To Dance"

from upi.com:

CBS orders U.S. version of 'Got to Dance'

LOS ANGELES, March 25 (UPI) -- CBS says it has ordered "Got to Dance," a new U.S. reality-competition series based on the hit British show.
Dancers of any age, group-size and style will be invited to compete to become the country's favorite dance act.

"Amateurs with raw talent from across the nation, either performing solo or in a group, can audition any form of dancing: from ballroom to break dance, bhangra to ballet, and tap to tango," the network said Thursday. "The most talented and entertaining dancers will be invited to audition for the panel of judges, all world-class dancers themselves."

The names of the judges, as well as information regarding auditions, will be announced at a later date, CBS said.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Golden Dancers


By Elita Sohmer Clayman

I went to the doctor for a checkup since I was not feeling well. She announced to me that “my body was aging gracefully.” This was nice to hear and I thought that I had never heard this type of pronouncement before. As always, I am going to relate this to ballroom dancing. Ballroom dancing helps us to age gracefully, not only in our bodies but in our minds. Everyone knows that you have to think in your mind before your feet can move gracefully.

When I first learned to ballroom dance, I always looked down at my feet and when the teacher said you cannot do that, I could not believe that you could dance and not look to see if your feet were moving the right way. Quickly, you realize that you need not look at your feet to make them move. At first, you cannot believe that your feet can do that.

Learning to dance is something that stays with you like when you were a kid and learned to ride a bike. Many years, even twenty years later you still remember how to bike ride. so it is with dancing. Due to an auto accident almost two years ago, my husband and I have not danced socially. He keeps saying he forgot lots of things. I say that once we get back there to the studio in the next two weeks, it will all come back to us. Maybe, we will not be perfect but then we never were, but we will still remember plenty of steps and patterns.

Investing in dance lessons is a good investment. That is my opinion and I am sure most dancers feel that way. If you go to the movies to see a new one, you come out and feel good or bad depending on what you saw. That is it, you talk about it for a while and then it is gone. When you put money into learning something new like dancing, you increase your learning each week or months and it stays with you and then it all comes together. One day you get up there and dance and you are amazed, you remembered, you did it and most of all you are proud.

From dancing you have social events, you have learning events and most of all your mind and body benefit from accomplishing. Accomplishing something like ballroom dancing could be one of your most relevant and rewarding moments. Take a picture digital or regular and look at yourself in action. You will be delighted to see that at this age whatever age it is now, you are achieving and realizing a dream you may have had for a long time. You may have thought you would never get around to doing it and now you have.

Shakespeare said in one of his many sonnets. “I am a rich man with a key to the treasure in the chest.” When we find a competent studio and a studio of that kind, then we have the key to success and the key to being excellent ballroom dancers. Our life will become a treasure and we will be rich.

Keep on Dancing and most of all enjoying every moment you do.

Elita Sohmer Clayman

The Jambar Challenge

from jambar.com:

By: Jared Buker REPORTER

It's June. I'm in a stiff tuxedo. My feet are aching from the rental shoes, and my ears are ringing from the feedback of the speakers. The disc jockey fades out the music and announces the final song of the night. I spring from my seat, slip off my plastic dress shoes, and begin executing the perfect YMCA. The bride and groom laugh as I wear out my socks on the dance floor. I am the hit of the wedding.I'm also 6 years old.

Fourteen years later, things are different. I despise the thought of dancing in front of people unless there's a blinding strobe light distorting everyone's vision. There's something impeccably awkward about a gangly, self-conscious kid with his hair in his eyes trying to look smooth. I have two left feet, and they're pigeon-toed.

The odds of me ever being a good dancer are about the same as the proverbial snowball in hell. So when I decided to attend a dance class taught in Beeghly Center, I really only had one thing on my mind.Don't step on anyone's feet.

My partner, Ty Sidney, can attest to the fact that I kept my feet to myself. Problem was, I was so focused on my shoes that I rarely looked away from them. To prepare for the class, I watched the first few episodes of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

That didn't help.But anyone who saw the start of the new season will understand the mantra I used to get through the class.Be like Evan Lysacek, not Buzz Aldrin.

To clarify, that just means try and be graceful like an Olympian, not sluggish and wheezy like an aging astronaut.

All kidding aside, Ty and I caught on quickly, to our surprise. We learned the country two-step, which is the ideal dance for beginners because you don't actually lift your feet off the ground. The two-step is very traditional. You put your hand basically on the shoulder of your partner. It took several strangers telling me to get my hand off their hip for that to sink in.

The class was taught by Dustin Jones, ballroom competitor and co-owner of the Fred Astaire Studio in Youngstown.

Talk about pressure.

Honestly, Jones was incredibly patient with the class, doing an excellent job of explaining the two-step in a way even the rhythmically-inclined could comprehend. After only an hour, I felt like I could almost trick someone into thinking I knew how to dance. There was an undeniable sense of family amongst the dancers in the class. This was the nicest group of people I've ever met. It's nice to feel so welcome when entering a situation that is foreign to you, and I would absolutely be thrilled about going back to learn a new style of dance.

Dustin told me that my performance was actually quite impressive. He felt I picked up on the movements quickly, was rhythmic, and had great footwork.

Tell that to my high school tennis coach. He once told me I had the grace of a vending machine.

One thing I learned about the two-step is that, for the most part, the man is in control. This is a daunting task when you lack the necessary confidence, but by the end of the hour, I felt like that old self-consciousness had melted away.Dustin said that was what the class is all about. "When you realize how much you can learn in an hour, it gives you the confidence you need to be a good dancer," Jones said. I would be skeptical about such a concept if I hadn't faced my fears and seen it firsthand. So with my newfound confidence, I feel like the next logical step is to join the "Dancing with the Stars" crew.

I just need to get famous.

The Power Of Dance

Excerpt from news-herald.com (Northern Ohio):

"Dancing helps woman cope with Multiple Sclerosis"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

By Janet Podolak

Denial followed by depression.

Those were her reactions when Jessica Dwyer of Willoughby was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"That's really quite common," said neurologist Dr. Mary Rensel, an MS specialist with Cleveland Clinic's Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research. "It often comes at an active time in people's lives, and it's something that doesn't go away."

Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheaths around the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide variety of symptoms.

It was early in 2007 when Dwyer was diagnosed. She was 27 and had been seeking answers to a series of strange and seemingly unconnected medical issues for more than a year. She was in the so-called prime of her life.

"When I suddenly lost the vision in my right eye, I saw an ophthalmologist, who ordered an MRI to determine the reason for elevated pressure inside my eye," she recalled.

Within weeks she was sitting in front of a neurologist who had ordered a spinal tap, then told her she had multiple sclerosis.

"The next day I left on vacation and put it out of my mind," she said. "It took a full year for comprehension to set in."

Like many people, she knew very little about the MS that was changing her life but learned it's an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system with no known cause or cure. Its symptoms and progression are different for everyone who has it.

She plunged into depression."I hated myself, my life and everything around me," she said.

The depression was affecting her marriage and making everything worse, so she finally sought counseling.

"When I passed the milestone birthday of 30, I finally learned to accept my diagnosis and move on with my life," she said.

She began treatment, and before long her disease was diagnosed as being stable. After that, dancing was a catalyst toward her current happiness. She'd always dreamed of being a dancer, so when she saw an ad for the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Willoughby, she went to an open house.

"I quickly discovered that I loved it," she said.

That was a great reaction, Rensel said."Anything that raises your mood and gives you exercise is a good thing for those with MS." The Mellen Center is doing a number of clinical studies that have proved the value of exercise, along with medication.

Although it's fun, dancing has not always been easy for Dwyer because her symptoms include fatigue, a loss of balance and numbness in her feet, she said. But she's been taking lessons and spends about five hours a week at the dance studio.

"My dance instructors work to accommodate me," she said. "Dancing keeps me strong and focused. I feel free when I dance."

She speaks often about the power of dance in her life and how it has transformed her attitude and daily life. She continues to experience numbness and a vibrating feeling in her feet and knows that her multiple sclerosis could worsen — or not.

Rensel is an optimist. "Those who get exercise, control their weight, avoid diabetes and watch their cholesterol can expect good results over the long term," she said.

For Dwyer, happiness has come with an improved attitude. "I know if I dwell on it, MS will run me," Dwyer said. "It's now been a year since I've been at the dance studio and I feel like I've taken back control of my life. It's a wonderful workout for the body, and I'm happy."

Find out if the power of dance works for you with a Friday evening visit to the Fred Astaire Dance Studio, 34601 Ridge Road, Willoughby; 440-516-7837.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tony Dovolani Interview!

from tvguide.com:

Dancing's Tony Dovolani: What's With All the Kate Hate?
Mar 21, 2010 10:01 PM ET
by Joyce Eng

Tony Dovolani was the only one in the dark. The Dancing with the Stars pro says he doesn't read casting rumors about the show, so the possibility of working with Kate Gosselin (a widely speculated pairing since they both live on the East Coast) never crossed his mind. "Everyone was thinking that except me!" he tells TVGuide.com. "I don't read rumors. If you do and set your heart on somebody and don't get them, or it turns out the person is not doing the show, then you're disappointed even if you get somebody great." And great is exactly what the mom of eight is, says Dovolani, a dad of three — whatever "haters" might think.

TVGuide.com: What was your reaction when you found out you had Kate?
Tony Dovolani: I knew my wife was going to be very happy because she's a big fan of hers. I think there's a bond between people who have had twins. I was pleasantly surprised and happy she was doing our show. You hear about people and you're always curious to see if they are who you think they are. In this case, I was very happy to learn she was just as sweet as I thought she was going to be. She's so nice, and we're having so much fun together.

TVGuide.com: Evan Lysacek said Kate showed some rhythm during your title shoot. Is she going to be a dark horse?
Dovolani: [Laughs] Kate has never taken a dance step in her life! The one thing she does have is drive. That's something that I love about her. She's fantastically driven. There are a lot of hours packed in and she's 100 percent present the entire time. She wants this really badly and she's willing to work really hard. But as far as her having any advantage over the contestants — no. The other ones come with way more experience.

TVGuide.com: How often do you rehearse?
Dovolani: Every day for six hours a day at her home in Pennsylvania. The rest of the time, she's with her kids. People think she's away from her kids and she's not. She's a single working mom. Instead of being supportive of her, they're bashing her. I don't understand that. My sister told me, "Tell Kate that all of us mothers understand and we're standing behind her." To hear that confirms that I'm thinking the right way. She has to provide for those kids. They're so sweet! They came up with a routine they showed us one day! Once in a while we perform for them. She's a great mother. They're all over her.

TVGuide.com: How does your Viennese waltz look?
Dovolani: We're ready. I'm excited to show everyone what she's accomplished in such a short amount of time, not having any experience whatsoever. You're expecting a person to go from zero to 160 mph in seconds. There has to be a lot of trust. It's a process. As a teacher, I'm excited because I have an empty canvas to work with. She has the work ethic and that's all you can ask for. I would say she's an average learner, but the hard work makes her a fast learner.

TVGuide.com: She's a very divisive figure. Are you concerned about how that will affect voting?
Dovolani: I'm new to this whole thing about hating somebody and I don't understand why people hate her. Our show is so positive that it's going to be difficult to hate someone. I love our show. It's the only show you can watch with the whole family. For me, it's mindboggling to think people think negatively in general, let alone at someone they don't know. I guess if you're a hater, don't watch when we're dancing. ... Honestly, I think the side she has shown — not what the tabloids have shown — there's nothing wrong with her. She's a mom taking care of her kids. She doesn't buy into the tabloids. She's a great role model for her kids.

TVGuide.com: What do you think of the rest of the cast?
Dovolani: It could be one of the best seasons ever. We have a little bit of everything. Niecy [Nash], Nicole [Scherzinger] — I'm a huge fan of hers. Erin [Andrews], Evan — I can't wait to see them. Chad [Ochocinco], what a personality! ... I'm excited about the changes too. Brooke [Burke] coming on is awesome. There were changes that needed to be done, like with the big cast. I think the producers listened to the audience. The audience was the one that suggested these things.

TVGuide.com: Are your or Kate's kids going to come out for the tapings?Dovolani: I don't know if hers will come. My wife comes out every three weeks every season with our [4-year-old] daughter. My wife's my hero. She goes through so much on a daily basis so I could do what I do. When we got pregnant with our first child, I said I was going to quit competing to be around. She said, "No. You're going to compete and you're going to win because I want you to share this with your kids to set an example for them. I want them to say, 'My dad is a champion.'" It's because of her I am where I am now.

TVGuide.com: You also act. What do you have coming up?
Dovolani: There are some projects. I love being able to create — acting, choreography, dancing, whatever it is. ... There's an independent movie called Wormhole that I'm going to do. I have Pumping Up, which has to do with bodybuilders, and it's really cool. I'm looking forward to the summer because there are a bunch of projects lined up.

Who Are The Dancing With The Star Judges?

from cincinatti.com:

By Mike Hughes

They are, for starters, the most international group on TV. Bruno Tonioli was born in Italy, Len Goodman in England, Carrie Ann Inaba in Hawaii, with Japanese, Chinese and Irish roots.

"We've all been working in films and television for 30 years," Tonioli exaggerated when the show started in 2005. "We all started as performers."

They were used to working with strict rules, Goodman said then. "It's from 35 years of judging ballroom and Latin American competitions."

But this show also gives them a category called "intangibles," Inaba said. "We judge on fluidity, we judge on form, we judge on musicality, we judge on the chemistry, we judge on how they look."

Two of the judges were on the British show ("Strictly Come Dancing") that began a year before the American one. The third "Strictly" judge was replaced by Inaba. Here are brief glimpses:

Tonioli, 54: Choreographed tours for Tina Turner and Duran Duran. Also did choreography for music videos (including Paul McCartney, Sheena Easton and Michael Jackson's "Give In to Me"), movies ("Little Voice," "Ella Enchanted") and TV episodes.

Goodman, 65: Longtime competitor in the ballroom style called "Exhibition." He won the British championship four times and finished second at the world championships. Judges ballroom and Latin American competitions and has a dance school in Kent, where he lives.

Inaba, 42: Started as a hula dancer. At 16, she won a Hawaiin talent competition and moved to Japan, where she had three pop-music singles. Back in the U.S., she was one of the five "Fly Girls" on "In Living Color," alongside Jennifer Lopez, with Rosie Perez in charge. She toured with Madonna, Ricky Martin and David Copperfield and was in two "Austin Powers" movies and "Showgirls." She's done choreography, including episodes of "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," working with Nigel Lythgoe.

Last year, they linked with choreographer Adam Shankman and actress-dancer Katie Holmes to start the Dizzy Feet Foundation, which gives dance scholarships

Some Advice For Kate Gosselin from another Ballroom Dancer Mom

from thefastertimes.com:

By Tatiana Keegan

When Kate Gosselin steps onto the dance floor Monday night for the season premier of “Dancing With The Stars,” she will be lucky to have a great partner in Tony Dovolani. I know this because Tony and I used to compete on the professional ballroom circuit together.

It’s fun seeing Tony on the cover of People magazine this week. Because way before Kate, before Kathy Ireland, Melissa Rycroft, Susan Lucci, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Jane Seymour, Leeza Gibbons, Sara Evans, and Stacy Keibler—even before “Dancing With The Stars” started making everybody crazy for the rumba and cha-cha in 2005—Tony and I won lots of competitions together, including the International Latin Rising Star title at the United States Ballroom Championship in Miami.

Tony is a powerful dancer, with lots of charisma, and an excellent coach. Part of what makes him so good is that he’s open to suggestions from other dancers and coaches he trusts. When he was partnered with Susan Lucci in Season 7, he asked me to take a look at their mambo routine. (She was feeling stiff, so I told her, “The mambo is a sensual dance —you want to feel like ripping your clothes off!”) So I hope Tony doesn’t mind that I’ve accepted an invitation from The Faster Times to offer a bit of womanly advice to his current partner, who I am sure is a bundle of nerves as she tries to learn the Viennese Waltz knowing that millions of people will be watching her every reverse turn and natural turn.

Though I can’t imagine what it’s like to have eight children, I’m a mom myself (my daughter is almost three). It’s not easy balancing the demands of motherhood and the pressure of competitive ballroom dancing, but it can be done. (Follow me and my new partner, Werner Figar, on Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter. And here’s our web site, too.) Anyway, Kate, here are some tips:

1. Learn to Love High Heels. Dancing in high heels looks incredibly difficult—and it is—but once you learn how, you’ll actually find it liberating. At first, you can’t keep your balance. Your ankle, calf muscles, and lower back will hurt. But having so much weight on the front of your foot actually allows you to move your feet faster and spin more easily. Dancing in heels is actually easier for me than walking. Be patient and practice in your dance shoes as often as you can.

2. Keep Your Heart Open: The Viennese Waltz requires very fast footwork executed smoothly, so it’s a great technical challenge. But at some point you have to forget about technique and just dance. This is a very romantic, lyrical dance. As you practice, listen to the lyrics and try to open your heart to the meaning of the words and make them your own. Everyone seems to have an opinion about the choices you’ve made with your life. This is your chance to tell your own story through that song.

3. Exhale: Inhaling happens automatically, but we tend to hold our breath when we’re nervous. Shutting off oxygen can make you dizzy, lose your balance, and forget your steps. So focus on exhaling. And remember that most people watching will be supporting you. There’s something about being so open and vulnerable on the dance floor that makes people want to cheer you on. This actually may be the one area of your public life where people are not judging you and really want you to succeed.

4. Forget The Judges. We all want good marks, even when we say we don’t care. But try not to obsess about it. Judging in ballroom dancing is very subjective. The best way to forget about them is to stay focused on your partner. Let the music go through your blood and your muscles until you become an instrument of the song. Even if your technique is not good, the judges will forget about that because they get involved in the story you are telling. If you lose that connection to the music, the judges will get bored and start looking for technical problems. That’s when the trouble starts.

5. Ignore the Mommy Critics: When I decided to return to return to the competitive ballroom circuit this season, of course I worried about whether I’d have enough time for my daughter. But when people ask me what is more important—my career or my child—I say, “That’s like asking me to choose between eating or sleeping.” Why must women always answer that question, but not men? You will make the time for your children and be a great inspiration to them, especially your daughters. They will be proud of you for trying something extremely difficult and opening yourself up to exciting new experiences that will enrich their lives when you bring all that home.

Oh, and one last thing: Watch out for Tony’s flailing arms. He once smacked me right in the nose during a cha-cha in the finals of the USBC. I thought it was his elbow, he said it was his shoulder. I saw sparkles and tears ran down my cheeks. But we never stopped and ended up winning the national championship. So no matter what happens out on the floor, never stop. Keep dancing!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dancing With The Stars - Season 10 Begins Tonight!

Here's a look at who is competing this season:

Soap star Aiden Turner and Edyta Sliwinkska
Legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Ashly Costa
NFL star Chad Ochocinco and Cheryl Burke
ESPN host Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Olympic skating champion Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya
Bachelor star Jake Pavelka and Chelsie Hightower
TLC star Kate Gosselin and Tony Dovolani
Pop star Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough
Comedienne and host Niecy Nash and Louis Van Amstel
Actress and model Pamela Anderson and Damian Whitewood
Actress Shannen Doherty and Mark Ballas

You'll be able to vote for your favorite beginning at 8:00 p.m. tonight.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dance Is Hot

Excerpt from a Time Magazine article on Twyla Tharp:

"Dance, if you haven't noticed, is hot. It's not the high-art sensation it was in the '70s, when Robbins and George Balanchine were working, companies such as the Joffrey Ballet and Alvin Ailey were drawing hip new audiences, and stars like Baryshnikov were celeb-magazine fodder. Instead, it has glided into the mass-audience mainstream. Broadway shows like Billy Elliot and Fela! (the Afrobeat musical choreographed by Bill T. Jones) put dance front and center. The ballet-like triple axels of Olympic figure skaters drew huge ratings at the Winter Games. And TV hits like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance have given ballroom dancing a cachet it hasn't had since Fred Astaire hung up his tux."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tony Dovolani On Cover Of People Magazine!

Fred Astaire Dance Studios champion dancer and DWTS professional dancer Tony Dovolani was on the March 12th cover of People Magazine, along with his celebrity partner for DWTS Season 10, Kate Gosselin!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ballroom benefit

From montgomeryadvertiser.com:

By Robyn Bradley Litchfield

Dressed in a casual but elegant black number, Alabama's first lady Patsy Riley seemed to float across the floor with dance partner Jim Williams leading her through such classic ballroom steps as grape­vines and telemarks.

It's a dream come true for Riley, one of eight contestants in the third annual Dancing With Celeb­rities, a gala fundraiser benefiting the American Cancer Society's Re­lay for Life. For about 20 years now, her husband, Gov. Bob Riley, has given her dance lessons for her birthday.

"We were supposed to take les­sons together and just haven't got­ten around to it," she said. "So I have really enjoyed this. It's such a wonderful event, which makes it even better."

Dancing With Celebrities will be Saturday at the Capital City Club. The evening will include a social hour and dinner.

Riley has been working with Williams, who owns the Fred As­taire Dance Studio in Montgom­ery, since January and was ready Tuesday to add music. The two­some strutted their stuff, perform­ing a fox trot to Manhattan Trans­fer's "Sunny Side of the Street," a number Riley picked because of its positive message.

"I thought I knew how to dance -- but I was sadly mistaken," she said.
But Williams quickly pointed out that most people are their own worst critics. He added that danc­ing lessons aren't really about how much you learn.

"It's about being with each oth­er and having fun," he said.

Until Riley began lessons with Williams, she said she and the gov­ernor might occasionally dance, but it has been more "like teenag­ers at the prom."

Dancing with Williams, how­ever, is another story, she said with a laugh.
Still, she and the other contes­tants (BJ McCullough, Sally Pitts, Dr. Pam Strickland, Melissa George, Leah deButts, Richard Fiore and JimmyVarnado) have re­hearsed for weeks to prepare for the competition. The one who raises the most money will receive a trophy, but all of the dancers will know that they have been part of raising money to fight cancer.
For three years now, Williams has donated to each competitor 15 40-minute lessons and a profession­al partner for the performance.

"These celebrities really step out of their comfort zone, and they always do a good job," he said. "And I've got to hand it to my staff. They are great at getting every­body ready for the event."

And what an event it is. Sherry Nath dreamed up Dancing With Celebrities after seeing how suc­cessful ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" had become. The 2009 event raised $33,400, and this year's goal is $50,000. Recruiting contestants is actually the easy part, she said.

"Most people ask to dance with us," she said. "I am really excited about this year's group. It's the most we've ever had."

Many people have wanted to get involved and support the effort.

Riley said, "Every person you know has been affected -- in some way -- by cancer."

The devastating disease touch­ed the state's first family several years ago.
In September 1998, she said, "Our world changed forever when the word 'cancer' entered into our lives through our daughter Je­nice."

Jenice Riley died the summer of 2001, after a three-year battle with cancer. Now, almost a decade later, her mother and father are more de­termined than ever to do what they can to fight cancer.

Nath said money raised thus far through Dancing With Celebrities has allowed the American Cancer Society to do further research, to educate the public and to conduct several new clinical trials. She hopes that with money raised Sat­urday, the organization can start a new clinical trial in Montgomery.

Riley said that this particular event is inspiring not only because of its connection to cancer.

"It's also a way of introducing people to a new way of relieving stress and a fun way to exercise," she said.

The first lady is a firm believer in trying new things and never giv­ing up on learning. She is a busy wife, mother and grandmother who is on the go. The Rileys have three grown children (Rob Riley, Minda Riley Campbell and Krisa­lyn Riley Crye) and eight grand­children. Dancing has been a way for Riley to step back and really get lost in the music and the dance steps.

As a family, the Rileys are more than happy to get involved.

"Anything that we can do to find a cure, revise the treatment, we will do it," Riley said before try­ing "Sunny Side of the Street" one more time with her dashing in­structor.

Standing on the sidelines Tues­day, Nath watched Riley rehearse with Williams and said, "We'll stop this disease one of these days."

Thursday, March 04, 2010

New Pro on Dancing With The Stars!

From associatedcontent.com:

Damian Whitewood is the new professional dancer on this season's show. He will make his debut on the arm of 42-year old former Baywatch Babe, model and activist Pamela Anderson when DWTS premieres on March 22 at 8 PM ET/PT on ABC.

Damian gained notoriety by appearing in the Broadway hit dance revue, Burn the Floor. According to the show's official website, Burn the Floor features international style ballroom dancing, and all of the participating dancers have a strong competitive dance background. Viewers can expect newcomer Whitewood to be strong in all forms of ballroom and Latin dance, including the waltz, foxtrot, viennese waltz, tango, quickstep, cha cha, salsa, paso doble, rumba and jive. In other words, Australian native Damian Whitewood knows his stuff.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

DWTS Pairings

Buzz Aldrin
Famous for: Being one of the first two humans to walk on the moon in 1969
Infamous for: Claiming to have seen a UFO
Partner: Ashley Costa (formerly DelGrosso), returning for her 4th season

Pam Anderson
Famous for: Her roles on Home Improvement, Baywatch, and V.I.P.
Infamous for: That tape with Tommy Lee
Partner: Damian Whitewood, making his Dancing WIth The Stars debut

Erin Andrews
Famous for: Being one of the most well known sportscasters on ESPN
Infamous for: Being filmed in her hotel room without her knowledge or consent
Partner: Maksim Chmerkovsky, returning for his 8th season

Shannen Doherty
Famous for: Playing Brenda on 90210
Infamous for: Relationships with Hollywood bad boys Ashley Hamilton, Rick Salomon, and Judd Nelson (well, he played one in a movie)
Partner: Mark Ballas, returning for his 6th season

Kate Gosselin
Famous for: Starring in Jon and Kate Plus 8 on Lifetime
Infamous for: Starring in Jon and Kate Plus 8 on Lifetime
Partner: Tony Dovolani, returning for his 9th season

Evan Lysacek
Famous for: Winning gold in men's figure skating at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics
Infamous for: Nothing
Partner: Anna Trebunskaya, returning for her 5th season

Niecy Nash
Famous for: Playing Officer Raineesha Williams on Reno 911 and hosting Clean House on Style Network
Infamous for: Appearing on that horrible 2008 sitcom Do Not Disturb with Jerry O'Connell
Partner: Louis Van Amstel, returning for his 6th season

Chad Ochocinco
Famous for: His career as a wide receiver for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals
Infamous for: Legally changing his last name name to Ochocinco
Partner: Cheryl Burke, returning for her 9th season

Jake Pavelka
Famous for: His appearances on The Bachelorette and The Bachelor: On The Wings Of Love
Infamous for: Breaking every nice girl's heart and choosing bad girl Vienna
Partner: Chelsie Hightower, returning for her 3rd season

Nicole Scherzinger
Famous for: Being the lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls
Infamous for: Being in The Pussycat Dollls when they were still a burlesque group
Partner: Derek Hough, returning for his 6th season

Aiden Turner
Famous for: Playing Aiden Devane on ABC's All My Children
Infamous for: Nothing
Partner: Edyta Sliwinska, the only pro compete in all 10 seasons

Dancing With The Stars - Season 10 - Cast Revealed!

The celebrity cast for the next season of Dancing With The Stars is:

Buzz Aldrin, astronaut
Pamela Anderson, actress
Erin Andrews, sports anchor
Shannen Doherty, actress
Kate Gosselin, reality TV show star
Evan Lysacek, Olympic figure skater
Niecy Nash, actress and comedian
Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver
Jake Pavelka, The Bachelor star
Nicole Scherzinger, singer
Aiden Turner, soap star