Tag Archives: “Dancing With the Stars”

Managing Dancing and Motherhood — Edyta Could Write the Book on It

DANCING WITH THE STARS - EDYTA SLIWINSKA - The stars grace the ballroom floor for the first time on live national television with their professional partners during the two-hour season premiere of

DANCING WITH THE STARS – EDYTA SLIWINSKA – ABC Television Network. (ABC/Craig Sjodin)

“Dancing With the Stars” pro and ballroom dance great Edyta Sliwinska is thinking of adding book authorship to her professional repertoire. She’s been managing to keep up her career — not to mention her great physical shape — while being a fully engaged mother to her and husband Alec Mazo’s 2-year-old son, Michael.

“I know I’m not a writer, but I think the way I tried to be a mom and go back and forth to work — I’d like to share these experiences with other moms out there,” says the Warsaw-born beauty.

“I feel like so many women are guilty about going back to work, and it is tough. Maternity leave is so short. Some people have to go back to work. I feel there is a way to go back to work and raise your child yourself.”

Her work has included the rigors of a five-month cross-country tour of Edyta’s and Alec’s dance show tour with infant Michael along. “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, taking baby on a national tour. I went through a lot. I’ve competed since I was 10 years old and I’ve trained for ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and I’ve toured with ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ but touring with a baby was something else!” she says, and laughs.

One important key to making it all work for Edyta:

“My child was breast-fed till maybe like three weeks ago,” she reports. “Breast-feeding is the easiest thing that mom can do. It’s very convenient, and it’s the best way to keep your child feeling connected, feeling secure and happy.”

She realizes that might raise some eyebrows. In fact, she admits, “Honestly, I thought, ‘I’m not going to go longer than a year,’ and I was probably so judgmental of women who breast-feed for so long, before I had a baby. Now my answer is, ‘You’ve got to do whatever works for you.’ For me, with all the changes in my life, it made sense. We moved around so much. We traveled for different projects. It was that one thing consistent for my baby to make him feel happy and keep us connected.”

As far as the physical demands, Edyta finds, “Yes, breast-feeding takes a lot out of you. It does require a lot of energy. So it actually helps you stay in shape.”

By the end of her breast-feeding time, she says, “It was more for comfort than for feeding. I really, really don’t know how I did it. I was trying to quit last year and there wasn’t a good opportunity that I would be at home and we wouldn’t have something going on.”

It turned out that her and her latest “Dancing With the Stars” celebrity partner, Geraldo Rivera’s early elimination from the show this season gave her enough of a peaceful time at home with her son to make that transition.

Now, she says of that disappoinment, “Perhaps I would like to give it one more try with ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ because it wasn’t that much of a challenge for me this season.”

She’s quick to add that she loved working with Rivera. “The tough part is he is 72 years old and he doesn’t really have any experience (in dancing) so it was hard to learn anything. So that was tough. It took a lot of patience. But he’s a great person and I had a lot of fun getting to know this person who is so amazing at what he does, coming to my world, learning to do what I do best.”

Still, she didn’t get much chance to show off the choreography and dance talents that made her a favorite mainstay on the first 10 seasons of “DWTS.” Coming back after a five-year break, she is still enjoying dancing on the show as part of the group choreography, but she’d like to do more.

Then, there are her and Alec’s live shows. Edyta says they might like to take one to Europe. Of course, they might also do more instructional videos — as in her and Alec’s DVD “Dancing like the Pros” and fitness DVD “Fitness with the Pros.”

As for Michael, thanks to his early months on tour, he’s used to “hanging out with dancers and hanging out in my dressing room as I was doing my makeup and getting ready,” says Edyta. She stresses that she only hires nanny help when she’s in the midst of performing engagements. And her husband’s parents “are wonderful” about babysitting here and there.

“He actually started walking while we were on tour. I can’t say that his first steps were onstage, but that’s where he practiced a lot.” She laughs.

So, is he showing signs of following in Mom’s and Dad’s dancing footsteps?

“Unfortunately, yes!” Edyta responds cheerfully. “We both wish he would be something like a doctor or lawyer, and then his life would be more stable and secure, but he is very much into performing, and he’ll probably end up doing that.”

LOUIS VAN AMSTEL WELCOMES GETTING BACK TO PAULA DEEN

Louis Van Amstel relished working on a full-on samba with Tamar Braxton for last night’s (10/12) “Dancing With the Stars” switch-up week performance — but the popular pro says he welcomes getting back to the rather different challenge of dancing with his partner of this season, 68-year-old Paula Deen. He certainly has his reasons. For one thing, he and the Georgia-based foodie have struck up an off-beat friendship. That’s real chemistry the twosome have been showing, ever since their introduction, when Paula planted a surprised Louis’ head upon her ample breast.

There are other kinds of chemistry besides romantic chemistry, he points out.

He’s quick to add that Paula “has come furthest of the older group” of this year’s contestants. “There’s a change in her demeanor, from nervous to less nervous. She’s gone from screwing up big to screwing up less big.” Not surprisingly, Louis disagrees with Gary Busey’s complaints over his axing from the competition two weeks ago, when plenty of viewers anticipated Paula getting cut: “I don’t think it was unfair. He went out exactly where, in my opinion, he should have gone out.”

The other, probably most important reason Van Amstel is happy to be teamed with Paula this season is that it’s a perfect promo for his LaBlast Dance Fitness program. LaBlast Dance Fitness is seven years old now, complete with DVDs, online options and trained LaBlast leaders doing his thing all over the country.

“I really do better with someone like Paula, or Kelly Osbourne, than someone like Tamar,” he says. “My last seven years have been about teaching people to dance and convincing people who don’t think they can dance that they can — people who have to lose a lot of weight, I want to support them. When they see me dance with Tamar, they say, ‘That’s great, but I could never do that.’ When they see me dance with Paula, when they see her transformation, they say, ‘Maybe I can do that too.'”

Paula has lost more than 40 pounds. Osbourne shed 35 in her transformation.

 Van Amstel is hoping to induce more women and men who wish to lose weight and get into shape with his ballroom dance-based program via his Oct. 21-starting “Dance the Pounds Away With LaBlast Fitness” DietBet.com challenge. Participants will have a chance to win money by losing weight via his LaBlast program over four weeks.

Helping people get in shape and get healthy has become much more than a side activity for Van Amstel. It’s now a mission.

‘DWTS’ Pro Tony Dovolani Steps Out in Comedy/Rock ‘n’ Roll Caterer Inspires Reality Shows

Tony Dovolani

 Dancing With the Stars” pro Tony Dovolani got to try out his comedy acting chops in next week’s (Feb. 19) episode of TV Land’s “The Exes” — and loved it.

 The nice guy ballroom champ tells us that his one-time “DWTS” partner, Leah Remini, called him out of the blue.  “She said, ‘All right, you’ve been preparing for acting for a long time and I’m going to make sure you get the opportunity.’  I guess they had put a scene together for her, dancing, and she said ‘How about if I bring Tony?’

“The question was, ‘Can he act?'” Tony recounts, “and she said, ‘I’ve seen him study.'”  They not only brought him in, but gave him more and more lines, much to Tony’s delight.  He points out, “Normally in situations like this, if you’re not good they take your lines away.  So that means they liked what they saw.”

He was definitely required to act, since the script called for him to play a fellow who didn’t know how to dance, that Leah’s character teaches.  “It was such an incredible experience — definitely a favor returned on her part.  She just made me feel like I could conquer the world, and you know that’s a special quality in a person,” says Tony.

He enjoyed getting laughs from the audience, applause from Leah and from the “Exes” cast including Donald Faison, Wayne Knight and David Alan Basche.  One of the show’s producers “gave me a very nice vote of confidence.  He said, ‘Tony you’re very warm on camera.  You’re very likable.  You come across very nice.  I think this is something you should pursue.'”

Not that he has any intention of putting aside his dancing shoes.  The 18th season of “DWTS” is set to launch March 17, and as far as Tony is concerned, there is no end in sight for the show.   “Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly entertained audiences for 70 years — musicals and dance were a part of our culture.  So I don’t see it going away.  Every year we do something new and we twist it a little bit and we mix it up a little,” he says.  He also considers “DWTS” the most positive of programs, because not only does the winner triumph but so do other competitors, in that “they’ve still accomplished something for themselves….It shows how difficult some things are, but  If you work hard, anything is possible.  That’s the message every week, and I think we need more of that on television.”

Shelleylyn_1

EAT, PLAY, LOVE:  Shelleylyn Brandler, lovely blond cast member on FUSE TV’s “Warped Roadies,” just might be stepping into her own reality TV spotlight soon.  The rock ‘n’ roll caterer, whose TaDa company hands out all kinds of gourmet grub to music stars from Taylor Swift to Marilyn Manson, has been paged by pal Gene Simmons to star in a prospective cooking show titled “Rock Star Chef.” 

The KISS frontman is “the most amazing mentor I could ask for.  He is busy with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame right now,” she notes, referring to KISS’ induction into that rarified group April 10, “but after that we’re going to get together about it.”  Meanwhile, another producing entity has been pitching a reality show centered on Shelleylyn and her world, called “‘Sex, Food and Rock ‘n’ Roll.’  Food is the new drug.”  She notes, “It’s a matter of finding the right home.”

In the ’90s, she was a concert production runner with a rocker boyfriend — and a knack for snacks the bands began to crave.  “It was my brother who said, ‘There’s Martha Stewart, but there’s no one for the urban, punk, rock ‘n’ roll style.  You could really make a niche for yourself in rock ‘n’ roll catering,” recalls Shelleylyn.  She also recalls lackluster food — at best — being served on rock tours.  “Nobody was caring about food or being a foodie. I remember sitting in my  living room coining the word ‘foodie,’ because I just cared so much,” she declares.  “I wasn’t a great chef, but I knew that on my worst day, I could do better than what some of these professional people were doing.  My turkey sandwiches were made with fresh rosemary bread I made myself — so what I did was always a little better than what I was seeing.”

Along with a generous portion of nerve, she lucked out in terms of timing — just ahead of the explosion of interest in chefs and culinary arts.  Now her credits include nine years of catering for the Coachella Festival, plus The Warped Tour, the Mayhem Tour, tours for Taylor Swift, Beyonce, shows including the BET Awards and many more.  She knows that Miley Cyrus is gluten free and Tobey Maguire is vegan, and she recently learned how to cook Kosher for some orthodox rockers.  And perhaps most importantly, her go-to hangover cure is “menudo, the Mexican soup.”

WRIST WATCH:  Despite all the heavy breathing, cat-fights and sexy bodies on display on ABC’s “The Bachelor,” obvservant viewers may have noticed that The Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis wears the same bracelet all the time.  That’s all the time as in every scene and every photograph, from poolside with his daughter to the hot tub with one of his wannabe wives, to when he’s modeling teeny tiny swim trunks and handing out roses.  No, it’s not a high-end accessory — it’s a Step by Step Foundation bracelet.  This band is a symbol of an international non profit (www.stepbystepfoundation.com) that helps children in need around the world.  It was founded by Juan Pablo’s friend Liliane Stransky who is also from Venezuela.  We’re told he has been an active supporter for three years now.  Now, there’s some exposure anyone can feel good about.