Dancing With The Stars Live! “Dance All Night Tour,” News, Rumors

Keo, Emma, Bill, Val, Me, Alek: 24Jan.2016, Cincinnati

Keo, Emma, Bill, Val, Me, Alek: 24Jan.2016, Cincinnati

Dancing With The Stars Live! “Dance All Night Tour”

This posting covers news from mainly December and January.

My Christmas gift from my family was two tickets and VIP passes to the Live! “Dance All Night” tour performance in Cincinnati for last Sunday, January 24. OMG! I was totally surprised. How wonderful! How exciting! How lucky I am!

 

On the tour:

Pros: Val, Peta, Keo, Sharna, Lindsay, Emma.

Troupe: Brittany Cherry, Jenna Johnson, Alan Bersten, Paul Barris, Julz Tocker

Special Guest Star: Alek Skarlatos

Dances Star and are Choreographed by: The Pros, Alan, Jenna, and Brittany Cherry

 

VIP ROOM, BEFORE THE SHOW: A repeating video ran of the dancers rehearsing, teaching certain dance moves to viewers, informing us of other tidbits, etc. On the video Emma says that with partners, whether young or much older, it’s all about retaining what she’s teaching and being willing to put yourself out there. To me, Emma and Sharna are always especially engaging.

Jenna Johnson: Our first photo opp that day. VIPs’ photos, whether alone or with Jenna, were taken in front of a green wall and then superimposed onto a DWTS set. “I’m Jenna,” she said, offering her hand for a shake. I said, “We know who YOU are, sweetie. I’m Vickie and this is my husband, Bill.” Very sweet and cute. Live! dance captain. Comes across as being confident and strong. This is her second tour.

Alan Bersten: Our second photo opp. Walked around the room in loose pants, tennis shoes, a baseball cap turned backwards, and a sleeveless shirt that revealed bulging biceps. Comfortable in any setting and genuinely sweet, like “the boy next door.” Spent two hours in the VIP room talking with fans, taking countless photos with fans (adults and children) and with Jenna in regular and dance-style poses. Was interested in my book, “Dancing in the Stars: Carroll Webster, International Dance Luminary of Vaudeville & Hollywood,” which I was autographing for the dancers, and said he wants to read it. He’s had two seasons in the pro troupe, and this is his second time on tour.

For our third photo opp in the VIP area, we were told that photos would be available with four of the pros and that we could choose to have a photo with one or any number of them. My hubby and I agreed that we should be photo’d with all of them. When our turn came I left two copies of my book on the designated table just outside the large partitioned-off photo area. I stepped around the partition and there they were! Seeing Alek, Val, Emma and Keo (right to left), I kind of squealed and did a few jumpy steps toward them. Val stepped out of the group, put his arms around me and took me into a series of spins with him. Somehow I didn’t get dizzy, and then he and I took the few steps to join the group. I quickly hugged Alek, then Emma and finally Keo, greeting each by name, before Val placed me to his left between him and Alek, with Alek on the far right of the group. While that was going on, my hubby placed himself between Keo and Emma, on the left side of the group. I quickly told Alek and Val that my dad was a ballroom pro in the 1930s/40s , I’d written a book about his life, and I’d just left two copies for them. Click. Click. Finished; time for the next VIPs. I thanked Alek for his service and excitedly but reluctantly left the group. The opportunity of a lifetime!

Emma Slater: What you see is always what you get—sweet, engaging, enthusiastic, and highly communicative. She confirmed something that many of us have noticed on the show: She’s very sensitive to everything around her. Like Val and Keo, she’s been on all 3 of the Live! tours.

Alek Skarlatos: Alek, both IN PERSON and on the stage, was exactly as he came across on TV—sweet and sort of innocent, humble, dedicated, skilled, boy-next-door. It evidently showed universally, because the crowd’s applause showed how much they like him. I still say that he deserved to win third place last season. He and Lindsay talked to the audience about his continued crush on Emma, which I’ve clearly seen; Emma was his partner during switch-up week. He had dances with Lindsay and one with Emma, and one dance that involved ALL of the girls. So cute—him AND his dance scenes.

         Note to Alek: In our first photo, you’re looking sadly at me, as though you thought I was paying more attention to Val. So sorry—that was not my intention. I would have loved to have an entire conversation with you, but each photo session had to be quick to accommodate the VIPs for photos and so that you all could prep for the show. You’re adorable! I was in your corner in season 21, and I‘ll stay there. Glad to see you smiling in our second photo!

Valentin (Val) Chmerkovskiy: As many of you probably know, he’s a fan-favorite. Genuinely personable and sweet, considerate, almost magnetic. He supports numerous charities for children, including in dance, education, and health. Did you know that he’s a classically trained violinist? Both he and older brother Maks were born in Ukraine. I liked when he talked about the sacrifices his family had made so that he could pursue his dreams, thanking them and the fans. Such a pro—a class act as a dancer and as a person who’s trying to improve and benefit the world. He’s been on all 3 of the 3 tours.

Keo Motsepe: We could all tell that he’s tall, right? But in person you know for sure. Alan is tall, around six feet, I’d say, based on my hubby being 5’11” (and me being only 5’4”). Val’s about 5’10” and Alek’s 5’11” or so, I’d say. And then there’s Keo; I’m guessing 6’4”. For a big, muscular guy, Keo moves very gracefully while also powerfully. Like Val, he has been on all 3 of the Live! tours.

As I said, Keo is a tall, big, muscular guy. The other guys have very-muscular torsos and slim waists/hips that are similar to my hubby’s size. Alek, because he’s not a pro dancer, has more of a stocky, construction-worker kind of a fit build—very nice, ladies, and, yes, you do want to take him home.

All of the above plus the following performed:

Lindsay Arnold: The adorable Lindsay trained with Mark Ballas and his mother, Shirley, in Lindsay’s home state of Utah. Her specialty is Latin dance. She comes across live just as she does on TV: sweet, highly skilled, and commanding. A joy to watch. Her legs are as long as some short people are tall, I think, which gives me the impression that she’s taller than she actually may be. Amazing to me that, as tall as she is, she appears to be as tiny-wasted/-hipped as Peta, Brittany Cherry, and Sharna. My husband says that Lindsay was wearing a band on the third finger of her left hand. Is she engaged or married? This is her first time on tour. Should Lindsay be a pro again, in the coming season? YES!

Artem Chigvintsev: Even more impressive and commanding in person–really grabbed my attention! This is his second time on tour.

Brittany Cherry: Cute, tiny; maybe not as short as I’d thought but probably taller than Witney, who seems to be the shortest of the ladies. She seems to be rather shy and is very passionate about dance.

Sharna Burgess: Sharna had been in Australia taking care of family members’ health issues and, so, had missed at least a few of the performance stops.   I was delighted to see her. Of the three audience members (2 women, 1 man) who were invited on stage at one point, one was a young guy who had “I love Sharna” and her picture on the front of his tee-shirt. She’s adorable, very personable, and ranges from funny to endearing when addressing the audience and interacting with her peers. Seems to be a “free spirit” and said that dance saved her. I connected with her the minute she premiered on the show with Andy Dick, and I’ve been her fan ever since. This is her first time on tour.

Peta Murgatroyd: Peta has a quietly powerful worldliness about her that represents her extensive background in dance, including as a ballerina. Very personable, communicative, and funny, too. She seems to be tiny in every direction (probably only 12” across the waist, at most!), but in photos she looks a couple of inches taller than Sharna and Brittany Cherry, and, I think, similar in height to Emma and Lindsay. Has the female version of Val’s abs. I got the impression that she sort of was the leading female or queen-type of the tour–in title only, not in attitude or behavior. As you may know, she is set to marry Maksim Chmerkovskiy this year (I’m guessing in the spring, soon after season 22 concludes). I got the feeling that Maks put all of the guys, esp. Val, in charge of protecting Peta for him while on this, her second, Live! tour.

Paul Barris: Paul, a former World Salsa Champ, has choreographed for DWTS and other TV shows. A company dancer, he is handsome and very impressive! I’m supposing that this is his first time on tour.

Julz Tocker: Julz was a pro on DWTS Australia and a DWTS USA troupe member. Handsome and very impressive! As with Paul, he’s a company dancer and I’m supposing that this is his first time on tour.

Not an ounce of fat on them! We knew that the girls have to be small so that the guys can lift them many times during a dance, but you can’t know how small until you see them in person; muscle weighs more than fat, so I’m guessing them at 100-110 pounds.

You might be surprised to know how many of the show’s dancers competed on So You Think You Can Dance, were cast members of Burn the Floor touring internationally and on Broadway, and have been in movies and/or performed with top musical artists. All of them are top-drawer pros–meaning truly professional at all times–who showed genuine appreciation to the public through their graciousness, generosity, and passion for dance.

 

THE SHOW!

Wow! It was a theatrical, spectacular production for 2 hours, minus a brief intermission. Cool, colorful high-tech, state-of-the art 3D sets of art, lights, screens, tall backdrops. What’s on the screen moves with the dancers in jaw-dropping, breath-taking choreographed routines. Their joy in the dance radiates from their faces as they give their all perfectly and passionately. How do they remember and execute so many different routines flawlessly?!

A cinema portion in the second half recreates songs from famous movies. For example, Artem started the James Bond one with a backwards moon walk dance and then was joined by Brittany.  Two of the other movies were “The Great Gatsby” and “The Godfather.”

In the “Get to Know us” portion, all of the dancers move gracefully in flowing lines across the stage; they take turns stepping forward into front and center to perform as his/her recorded voice tells his/her own story and what dancing means to them. Beautiful!

The guys repeated the sexy chair dance that they’ve done on the show. Captivating enough through the TV screen, but OMG, ladies, in person, especially in the front row where I was, they light the fire! (Take a small personal fan with you.) That was one advantage of being in the front row. Another was the ability to see how slim, powerful, and expressive the dancers really are.   A disadvantage of being so close and looking up at the stage is the difficulty to see all dancing at once.

Val and Sharna did some hip-hop, which, beyond their skill, doesn’t appeal much to me.

At one point dancers genuinely talked about how sweet and talented Bindi Irwin is (winner, season 21). High praise from high talent. They obviously have a lot of fun and appreciate the fans.

By the way, the first two rows are the “sweat zone.” Val and a few others sweat profusely; sometimes it flies and hits the fans up front. It was funny to see Artem and Val side by side after a particular dance: Artem dry, Val soaked and still sexy. It’s all good!

The show was fun, powerful, beautiful. It was dramatic—especially the dancers’ facial expressions in both serious and lighthearted numbers. It was “full-on,” as Len always says at the judges’ table. It was everything you would expect and much more. Like the TV show, yet also quite different. On the live TV show they get a minute or so to do only one dance; on tour they average 15 or more dances, in every style, that have enough time to tell more of a story. BOOM!

I’ve calmed down a bit since last Sunday, but I’m sure I’ll rev back up by March 16th!

For tickets, visit DWTStour.com. Is the extra money for the VIP package worth it? If you can swing it, you bet your boots it is—probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

 

RELATIONSHIP NEWS

Maks and Peta: engaged to marry this year. Some rumored details: It probably will be a huge event somewhere in New York, their families will fly in, Sharna will be in the bridal party, Val will be best man; Peta’s DWTS family, including former dance partners Donald Driver, Gilles Marini, and Tommy Chong, will be included.

Mark Ballas, 29, and singer BC Jean, 28: became engaged last November.

Witney: Witney Carson and Carson McAllister, from the same hometown in Utah, just got married in January.

Julianne Hough: Julianne, 27, is engaged to marry Brooks Laich, 32, a centerman for the Washington Capitals NHL team.  Shortly, we’ll see her on the cover of Cosmopolitan’s February issue.

Kym Johnson, 39: Yes, she’s in a romantic relationship with her season-20 partner, Robert Herjavec, of “Shark Tank” fame. They became good friends and then progressed and are very much in love.

  

OTHER NEWS

Julianne: Dancer, singer, actress, choreographer. She wrote a healthy eating guide at Byrdie.com.

Did anyone see Julianne Hough in the leading female role of “Sandy” in the “Grease Live” premiere on Fox TV on Sunday night, January 31st? Carlos PenaVega, from DWTS season 21, and Eve Plumb, of Brady Bunch fame, were also in the cast.

Allison Holker: Attended some red-carpet type of events, looking radiant in the third trimester of her pregnancy; for example, the People’s Choice Awards with Julianne Hough. DWTS did not win in the “Best Competition Series”; it lost to The Voice.

Karina Smirnoff, 38: Karina, Sasha Farber, Anna Trebunskaya, and others are set to dance in episodes 8 and 9 of “Agent Carter,” season 2. Karina also has a new film, a political comedy called “Swing State,” with a tentative release date of April 1, 2016.

Tom Bergeron: Tom wrote a memoir, “From Haverhill to Hollywood,” that was published a mere month before his dad died, during last season (21).

Don’t forget Mark and BC Jean’s 2015 song, “Roses and Violets,” which they performed last season on DWTS. Also, if you live in the California area you can catch them performing in San Diego on Feb. 19th. For tickets, go to Live Nation.

Shirley Ballas announced via Facebook in early January that she will write a new book about her entire career, which will include Mark, and siblings Julianne and Derek.

Maks Chmerkovksiy co-choreographed Zendaya’s new “Neverland” video, which premiered in January.

Maks was in his first LivOn Labs Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C Commercial in January, and he and Peta held a dance workout class with JCPenney Xersion active wear in New York City.

Kym Johnson’s book, “The 5-6-7-8 Diet,” hit the shelves on January 19. Her #1 fan, Robert Herjavec, attended her signing at the Bookends Bookstore in Ridgewood, NJ in January. The book covers nutrition and exercise, her career, her teaching style, and more.

Derek Hough was on the Red Carpet at the premiere of Jennifer Lopez’s “All I Have” show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 21.

Also in January, Derek, Witney, some of the troupe, and other dancers did a show at Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary celebration night in Anaheim, CA. On February 21st (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST) on ABC, fans will be able to see a TV special from that celebration.

Holland America “Dancing With The Stars” Champion Cruise: Pros Kym Johnson and Tony Dovolani, along with celebrities Florence Henderson and Carson Kressley, will perform and help with the competition portion of the cruise. See PR Newswire for more information.  This is said to be the last cruise in a successful, three-year collaboration between DWTS and the cruise line.

 

THE PROSPECTIVE-CONTESTANT RUMOR MILL

Supposedly, Alfonso Ribeiro (former winner with pro Witney Carson) is helping with casting. Names of a few prospective contestants that have been “aired”:

Taryn Manning: actress who’s had roles on “Hawaii 5-0” and “Orange is the New Black”

Trisha Paytas: YouTube personality, iTunes music/videos, author of several books; has been on shows such as America’s Got Talent, Dr. Phil, and My Strange Addiction

Mike Tolbert: fullback for the Carolina Panthers football team

I’ll update you when I find out more.

Vickie L. Weaver

Vickie L. Weaver

Owner at Writestyle
Writing has been an important talent and part of my life since I was a child.Professionally, after decades of employment for others, I founded Writestyle in 1996 to provide writing, editing, proofreading, training, and more to clients worldwide (www.writestyle.com).Clients often call my work “magic.”I have written and/or edited for “Coexistence Magazine” (national), for “Ohio Magazine,” and for various newspapers.In addition, I have edited or contributed to the writing of numerous books.Personally, I have written in various genres.I have always composed poetry; as such, I have won awards and publication for some of my poems, and I am compiling a book of my poetry.One of my children’s books is set for publication.With my second husband, family and friends in Ohio, I enjoy music and dance, aid charitable causes, and strive for beauty and harmony in life.
Vickie L. Weaver

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