Abby, one of our readers here at PureDWTS, was the winner of the Design a Dance Concept design and got a trip to LA and a day on set as a reward. She sent me the following blog about her experience:
A Day on the Set of Dancing With the Stars
A quick bit of background: I have been a dancer for practically my entire life and spent several years performing and choreographing professionally. So of course I’ve been a huge DWTS fan since Season 1! I am constantly choreographing dances in my head so when I heard about the Design a Dance concept contest I sat down and came up with an idea and penned out my entry in about ten minutes. About a week later I got a call that I was a top five finalist! The voting was up online the following week which ended on a Thursday, and I got the call that Friday that my concept won. They immediately booked my flight for me and a friend to fly to LA on the very next Monday…definitely a whirlwind!
We arrived at the DTWS studio (on the CBS lot) on Tuesday morning at 9am. We were immediately met by a producer and I was given a trailer for the day. That’s right, I had my own trailer!
Then we went backstage and I was mic’d up and met my camera man for the day. Derek and Cheryl (as you all know) were chosen to do my dance, which I was beside myself about. Besides having a horrible crush on Derek, he is my inspiration as a choreographer… amazing. Derek and Cheryl were already on stage rehearsing when I arrived, and the car was on stage as well. They were working on putting their steps together as well as camera blocking and lighting, music timing, etc.
They rehearsed for about two hours and I sat and watched (with a camera on me). They filmed me walking around the stage, checking out the car, walking down hallways, scoping out the stage, and also talking with Derek and Cheryl.
Derek and Cheryl were very sweet! Everyone I met and worked with on the set that day was SO, SO very nice. From producers to costumes to camera men, they truly have an awesome behind the scenes cast on DWTS! It was very thrilling to watch Derek and Cheryl rehearse the dance all morning and see the geniuses at work. Oh, and of course I loved getting to hug Derek! Here we chatted at the food table:
My other crush on DWTS is Tom Bergeron! Love this guy! He is truly just as sweet, adorable, and funny in person as he is on camera. We met during rehearsals in the morning but he would come over and chat with me all day, even during the “live” taping later that night. What a doll!
Before the live show Derek and Cheryl rehearsed again with the band and I watched the private rehearsal again (with a camera in my face). They had interviewed me and filmed me all day because I was told they were going to do a 45 second package about the dance, but sadly it never aired. It was still fun to film though!
The audience arrived at 4pm and we pre-taped the Design a Dance at 5pm (pst). After that they let everybody on the ballroom floor for a dance party! What fun that was! Tony and Kyle came out and led everyone through fun dances like YMCA (except it was DWTS) and the Cha-Cha slide. I got to watch the entire show from the front row which was such a thrill! One producer told me that everyone says this, but the ballroom floor truly looks much smaller in person than it does on TV! It’s still a magical place in that ballroom, and I think (actually I KNOW) I would be happy to go back every week!
I had a backstage pass that allowed me to go wherever I wanted on the set all day. I also got to watch the press line after the show, meet the cast…It was truly an amazing day to be “behind the scenes” all day on DWTS! I can’t thank the producers enough for giving me a wonderful experience. And I have to say Derek and Cheryl’s dance was hot hot HOT!!