What a fun interview with Val Chmerkovskiy and American Dancer!!! Val explains the differences between dancing competitively and dancing on Dancing With The Stars. He also speaks about how long it takes to put together routines, the workload, the highlights and trust in a dancing relationship, what he enjoys the most about dancing on the show, and more. Below are just a couple of takes…
How does the workload compare to when you were dancing competitively?
It’s a different workload. Different set of stresses, different skills used, and most importantly different challenges. But if you want to be successful you have to put in the time–honest time. I never expect anything to just be given to me. And anyway I wouldn’t want it that way. I want something that’s NOT easily attainable and so I’m willing to wait for it, strain for it, while consistently WORKING for it. There’s a workload if you want to take on a workload. If you look for shortcuts, you will most certainly find them, but you’ll also find yourself in the same place that you started. I shine ’cause I grind.
How much time do you normally get to put together a routine?
You have 3 weeks before the show starts to rehearse with you partner—cameras on, and all that jazz. At the end of the first week you get the song for the Week 1 performance. Now you have 2 weeks to either continue teaching her general principles or start choreographing the Week 1 routine. After week 1, you have 3 days to teach her the routine and she has to dance it for a “wide.” (Director needs for camera/lights choreography) Then you have two more days before showtime. In those two days you’re going through timely dress rehearsals (with/without the band) which are quite stressful on the celebrity, and therefore stressful on us. This then occurs weekly, until it gets even more stressful.
What are some of the highlights of dancing with a celebrity partner?
You build a relationship. I would get eliminated week 3 all over again for the friendship that I have with Sherri Shepherd. You grow so much as a teacher and as a person. These celebrities are grown people who are accomplished individuals and they are frightened to death. I’m not going to speak for every case, but in Sherri’s case I had a huge responsibility in front of me. She trusted me, she respected, and she fought for me. I’ve been a teammate my entire life, and I haven’t experienced that kind of camaraderie and that honesty from too many people. I’d fight for her in any alley, anytime. That relationship and the journey we shared, as it should be in every partnership, are the highlights.
What do you enjoy most about DWTS?
The stage. The act. The audience. A true performer yearns for a stage to showcase his craft, and an audience to share it with. The more people you can share your work with, the more inspired and fulfilled you become as an artist. Therefore, you enjoy the impact that you have on people. Tonja Garamella (one of my teachers and a close friend) always told me “Touch, Move, and Inspire.” Art is supposed to bring us closer to God. Well, God for me exists in every person that I touch, move, and inspire.
Beautiful words! You can read the full interview at American Dancer!!!