“Dancing With the Stars” pro Tony Dovolani says that with his current celebrity partner, “The Hills’” Audrina Patridge, “I’m so happy I can’t tell you. It’s very refreshing after 10 seasons to feel this way. With Audrina, I just feel rejuvenated, I enjoy choreographing for her. We laugh all day.”
So, is having the young and lovely Audrina a payback for the angst he had to go through when partnered with the oh-so-challenging Kate Gosselin last season?
“Oh, even with Kate, I don’t think it was that bad,” says Dovolani, who’s widely considered a nice guy – but did, at one point, temporarily walk off the Gosselin job when she kept questioning his teaching. He adds, “As long as I have somebody who is driving, who wants it really badly, whatever they lack in talent, I can always make them dance.”
But with Audrina, everything is going better. “You know she has no dance background – no performance background – since she’s from a reality show. She came to me as raw as they get. But the thing is, she goes into it headfirst. The way she approaches things – she never gets angry, never gets frustrated with herself, just keeps going ahead. Nothing comes easy to her, but the way she approaches her learning is really amazing. She’s like a sponge, no inhibitions. She doesn’t hold back. She trusts me completely as a teacher. And I feel like I have a real dance partner. It’s not just dancing with a celebrity.”
Audrina’s family has been “very supportive,” he says. “They’ve been around a lot. I even met her grandmother.” As far as her boyfriend, Corey Bohan, who initially balked at all her rehearsal time, says Dovolani, “It can be hard for people who don’t understand the industry to accept the time demands, but he’s come around. He’s been at every show. He even told me, ‘I massage her feet so she’s 100 per cent.’”
Dovolani’s also getting support from the home team, of course, and was happy to be able to nip back to New York City for a quick visit with his wife and three young children.
“My daughter Luana surprised me with a dance at home. She performed the Waka Waka theme from the World Cup that Shakira did verbatim – and she’s five years old! I got to experience the first time she had a dance lesson…It was pretty amazing.”
Her two-year-old brother is dancing, too, says Tony. “He imitates her….I came home to a houseful of dancers. As a dad, what a proud moment.”
And as a husband, “My wife Lina said, ‘I love it when you smile. You haven’t taken the smile off your face since you started to dance with Audrina.” Aww.