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PureDWTS Ask Court – How Do the Pros’ Contracts Work?

So we’ve been getting some questions on Twitter about how the pros’ contracts work – some of you were concerned about some of your faves leaving the show in the coming seasons, when their initial contract expires; others were just curious how the contracts work.  So here’s our best guess – keep in mind that contract negotiations in the biz are usually kept pretty hush-hush, for obvious reasons, so we don’t know exactly what’s written into each pro’s contract; this is just our best, educated guess based on what we’ve heard from people behind-the-scenes, what we’ve watched unfold, and what the pros themselves have said. Consider that your disclaimer 😉

How long are the pros’ contracts? From what we’ve been able to cobble from interviews the pros have done and intel we have from other sources at the show, it seems like the initial contract (the one the pros get when they first sign onto DWTS) is anywhere between 5-7 seasons (or 2.5-3.5 years), with a possible option to renegotiate after they’ve completed one year of their contract.  After their initial contract expires, it seems as though subsequent contracts are pretty open-ended – pros like Derek, Cheryl, & Kym seem like they’ve been able to negotiate on a season-by-season basis; other pros, like Lacey, appear to have gotten dropped from the roster and not offered a contract extension after their initial contract expired. Some of the one-and-done pros (think of the Jesse DeSoto’s, the Inna Brayer’s, the Tyne Stecklein’s, and the Andrea Hale’s of DWTS) likely were released from their contacts after only one season, when the producers were sure they weren’t going to use them again.

What does being “on contract” at DWTS entail? While being “on contract” certainly improves a pro’s odds of getting a partner each season, it’s not a guarantee; the only thing being on contract really means within the context of DWTS is that the show gets first dibs on you each season, and can use you for whatever purpose is within the scope of your contract – in this case, they can use you as a pro on the show, they can put you in the troupe, they can bench you for a season (and let you pursue other opportunities within that time frame, within reason), they can send you out on tour, they can send you to the (now defunct) Vegas show, they can send you out on one of the DWTS cruises, they can tap you for pro dances/bumpers, whatever. And as Lacey stated in an interview with Kristynyou only get paid if they actually use you.  But let’s say, like Sasha, you aren’t guaranteed a pro spot from season to season, and may alternate going back and forth from pro to troupe – the clock doesn’t stop on your contract, and you’re still burning up seasons on your contract whether you’re a pro, in the troupe, or not on the show at all. From what I can tell, TPTB can also veto any outside gigs you take if it puts you in direct competition with the network (although this seems to vary from pro to pro –  more on that later); so even though you’re getting paid (relatively) well when you are working for DWTS, there’s no guarantee you’ll be working from season to season, and they may also say “nope” to any outside jobs you try to take when you’re not working for them. This sort of exclusivity was ultimately the deal-breaker for a friend of mine who auditioned to be a pro back in 2009 – he had regular students back at his home dance studio, and couldn’t really wait till the last minute before each season to tell them whether he’d actually be around to teach them, and didn’t like the idea of having to “clear” any outside teaching/choreographing he was doing with ABC.

Do all the pros have the same contract? Definitely not.  At this point, some pros (i.e. Mark, Cheryl, Peta, Val, & Maks) have finished their initial contract and are likely negotiating from season to season or have shorter (perhaps year-long) contracts, and probably have more weight to throw around in terms of pay demands and special privileges; other pros still have a bit of time left on their initial contracts (if I had to guess, I think Sharna, Emma, Sasha, Lindsay, & perhaps Witney) and are probably going to be coming up on contract renegotiation time within the next season or two; the newbs (Alan & Jenna) still have a way to go on their initial contract and probably aren’t going to be renegotiating anytime soon.  So those are the differences in terms of length; we have noticed other differences in terms of privileges, though. Back when Julianne was still in her initial contract, she was offered a TV pilot, which TPTB nixed fairly quickly (I’m guessing it was on a rival network); however, Derek was offered a movie role (Make Your Move 3D) in the middle of his initial contract, and was allowed to take a season off to go film it (likely because the studio doing the movie wasn’t in direct competition with Disney, and Derek was the only 3-time MBT-holder and potential Emmy-winner at the time – so he had a bit more clout). Another interesting contractual “thing” we’ve noticed: Val, Mark, Emma, & Sasha have all been allowed to choreograph in the off-season for SYTYCD – but Derek was always prohibited from doing so. Our guess is that the higher-ups at DWTS probably saw him as a potential Emmy-generator, and didn’t want to run the risk of his choreography earning a potential Emmy nod for SYTYCD – so it may have been written into his contract that he was not permitted to choreograph for shows on rival networks. Since all of these negotiations happen behind closed doors and efforts are made to keep their terms confidential – we have no idea what could potentially be written into the pros contracts; but based on what we’ve seen, it’s a safe bet that not all contract are created equal.

Have the contracts changed at all over the years? Most likely yes.  I’m guessing all of the season 1 pros (Alec, Charlotte, Edyta, Louis, Jonathan, & Ashly) were probably only given contracts for that season, given that the network didn’t know if the show would catch on or not; once it was renewed for a second season, though, I’d guess that the pros that returned (everyone except Charlotte) were probably given longer, more exclusive contracts.  By the time Mark & Derek signed on in season 5, and it was clear the network had a hit with some longevity on its hands, the contracts probably got even more exclusive, as DWTS likely wanted to lock down their talent. I would guess at this point, the standard initial contract for new pros is probably pretty rigid & non-negotiable – so the newest pros, like Jenna & Alan, probably don’t have a ton of wiggle room until their initial contract expires.

If a pro’s contract is about to expire, does that mean they’re leaving the show??? Not necessarily. All an expiring contract really means is that a pro now has an opportunity to renegotiate their pay, the terms of their employment, the length of subsequent contracts, etc.  It’s a good thing, usually 🙂 And it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to jump ship. Just look at Derek – his initial contract expired several years ago (we’re guessing around season 15), and we still got 7 more seasons out of him before he finally hung up his dance shoes for good. I know some of you were worried about Sharna, whose contract I’m guessing is expiring after this coming season (season 27) – based on what we’ve seen of other pros whose initial contracts have expired, unless they haven’t used a pro in a few seasons (I think of Allison, who we haven’t seen since season 23; or Lacey’s last few seasons on DWTS, when she was pretty much on-the-bubble as a pro from season to season), I doubt they’re going to suddenly opt not to pick them back up during contract re-negotiations, unless a pro really starts making unreasonable demands or opts not to return on their own accord. And that’s something I think a lot of fans lose track of: eventually, the pros are likely to get offered new opportunities for growth in their careers, and are going to outgrow the capacity they have on DWTS…yes, if they’re your favorite, it’s sad to see them go, but if you’re a true fan, you understand that they can’t stick around forever and will eventually need to move on…which is often a good thing 🙂

Any other questions/thoughts about the contracts? Leave ’em below and we’ll try to answer them.

May 29, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 25/SYTYCD 14 Update – Kiki & Jenna Still In, Sydney & Paul Out, Sasha & Emma Choreograph

Figured it was probably worth it to check in on how things were going with our DWTS cross-overs on SYTYCD, especially since speculation has started on whether or not Jenna’s going to be a pro this season…

…Kiki & Jenna are still in the competition as of last night, which seems to be sparking chatter of “Is Jenna going to be a pro on DWTS this season?” While crazier things have happened, the longer Jenna remains on SYTYCD with Kiki, I think her chances at a pro spot on DWTS this season get exponentially smaller with each week that passes – especially since this season’s pros are getting confirmed this week, and it’s possible that Kiki & Jenna could make it to the finals…which would drastically cut into her rehearsal time with a potential celeb partner on DWTS. And given that Nigel seems to have gotten a lot more proprietary with his all-stars as the seasons have gone on, I’m not sure that he’d be willing to share her with DWTS for the few weeks of overlap between DWTS rehearsals and SYTYCD wrapping up.  Last year was a bit of a different situation on SYTYCD, as Jenna was an early out and there wasn’t much in the way of overlap with DWTS – but given that Kiki & Jenna haven’t even landed in the bottom 3 yet, it may be possible they could be there for awhile…leaving less and less time for Jenna to devote to being a pro on DWTS.

In other news, Sydney & Paul were eliminated last night, and Logan & Allison are still in the competition – which means that I think Allison’s chances at a pro spot on DWTS this season are about as good as Jenna’s…in that they’re probably not all that good. Sorry.

But at least we got a piece of Sasha & Emma jive choreography, which they did for Logan & Allison – and Shad even showed up in the audience to support them! Love when contestants remain close with their pros after their season ends 🙂 They also got to see Jake Monreal, Jenna’s partner from last year, whom they had also choreographed for.

As always, be sure to check out Amanda’s detailed review of last night’s show over at Pure SYTYCD.

August 22, 2017 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS – Dmitry Choreographs for Jenna & Kiki; Val Choreographs for Paul & Sydney on SYTYCD

So the live shows this season on So You Think You Can Dance started last night, and there was of course cross-over to DWTS – Jenna is back as an All-Star again, as is sometimes-DWTS-pro-dance-lurker/former MOVE cast member Paul Karmiryan; Dmitry is also choreographing again.  Additionally, Jenna has picked former DWTS troupe member Kiki Nyemchek as her partner this season, and Val has signed on to choreograph.

I was kinda shocked to see Kiki again – I didn’t realize he’s as young as he is (25 – I honestly thought he was already in his late 20’s five years ago), which means he was only 18 when he started in the DWTS troupe wayyyy back when; pretty sure he was a Fam hire. Judging from the comments on YouTube for their cha-cha, he still appears to be the pretty bland guy I remember from the troupe – the general sentiment seems to be that people preferred Jenna’s other partner and are disappointed that she picked Kiki over him:

Oof.  I see that Dmitry’s choreography hasn’t improved much – the song is awful, and the whole dance just felt like a non-event.  Couldn’t even tell you what Kiki did, as Jenna outdanced him the whole time. Paul & Sydney seemed to fare slightly (very slightly) better with Val’s choreography…

Oh look – the high kick is apparently a permanent thing now 😛 And there seemed to be a lot of stop-and-go, so no question – this is Val’s choreography, and this felt like a slight remix of Normani’s cha-cha…but less energetic. I will say I preferred it slightly to Dmitry’s cha-cha; but is it just me, or is Sydney…not all that great? She looks more like a contemporary or hip-hop dancer trying to do ballroom to me, than an actual ballroom dancer. She reminds me of that salsa dancer from several seasons ago (Cristina something, maybe?) that they tried to pass off as a ballroom dancer – just seems to lack polish & confidence in her movements.

Prediction: neither couple is likely to last long on SYTYCD, as is usually the trend – SYTYCD is just not particularly ballroom-friendly or ballroom-appreciative. Did any of you watch? What are your thoughts?

Be sure to check out Amanda’s review of last night’s show over at Pure SYTYCD.

August 8, 2017 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 23, Court Rants: Why I Don’t Really Care About the Troupe

Let me preface this rant with this: I know everyone is excited for the season to start.  I know that there hasn’t been a whole lot to report (yet). So I’m willing to cut people a little bit of slack – I think we’re all just looking for stuff to discuss until the next piece of intel falls into our laps. What’s puzzling to me is that of all things there is to talk about, I’m seeing an inordinate number of questions about the troupe – a fixture on the show that I find to be of little consequence anymore.

Not sure if it’s just not as exciting to talk about the pros that we’ve seen year after year or if people really do feel passionately about the troupe, but I guess it’s just hard for me to relate when people seem very invested in whether or not [insert dancer here] is going to be in the troupe again or might get a shot at pro a certain season.  It’s of such little interest to me that I don’t even really actively seek spoilers about the troupe in the pre-season – I’d rather focus my efforts on the pros and their celeb partners, so you’ll have to forgive me if I respond with a bit of frustration when I get questions on Twitter about “Have you heard who’s in the troupe?” or “Do you think so-and-so will get promoted to pro this season?”

So for those of you who don’t understand why the troupe is not all that important to me (and Heidi, really), I give you this: the 7 reasons why Court doesn’t care about the troupe. Read more..

August 15, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

DWTS Season 18: Rumor, Speculation and Wannabe Dancer Round Up!!

It’s time, once again, to take a look at the casting rumors we’ve seen for this upcoming season and rank them according to how likely they are to happen. I was thinking we really didn’t have many rumors for this season, but it turns out there’s more than I thought.  But there are also a lot of people saying they would LOVE to do it, which is not the same thing as a “rumor”.  And I also have NOT included who OTHER people would like to see dance – that’s not even a wannabe. Anyway, here we go….

ETA2: Lots of updates! Read our complete list below…and here’s to the Cast Announcement on Tuesday! Read more..

February 24, 2014 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Toni Redpath From “So You Think You Can Dance” Reviews The DWTS 15 Semi-Finals

Toni Redpath, a ballroom choreographer and judge from “So You Think You Can Dance”, has reviewed the Semi-Finals of Dancing With The Stars. She’s got some interesting comments. Below is how she felt on the contestants first dances. Be sure you read how she felt on their second dances at her official Facebook page here. She feels like us in some cases and not in others depending how you feel….

Melissa… Argentine Tango… Thank goodness for a recognizable dance. Great dance for her, as she can show off her beautiful legs. Some parts were amazing, some parts look a little awkward (like the pretzel move just before the final walk off). Great job to Tony for pulling off this evening with a bad back.

Shawn… I was curious to see if she could pull off such a mature & sexy dance considering how, in my opinion, she’s taken a step back in her emotional performance level since the Titanic routine. Unfortunately she came across as robotic & stand-offish instead of sultry. Remarkable physical performance though, but that’s not enough to win this competition.

Apolo… Rumba is a good dance for him. I love all the basics that Karina put in. Sliding doors, Nat opening outs, fan etc… Just beautiful after all the madness that ensued earlier in the evening. Apolo did a good job, but is throwing himself off balance by sending his upper body into turns first… Otherwise, amazing.

Emmitt…. Danced his Tango with a lot of intensity and I love the set of ripple stalks. However, footwork & posture are always going to be his great downfall if it ever becomes important in the competition. If it’s just a popularity contest he’ll be fine though. He’s just so loveable

Kelly… Breakout performer of the night… She’s really pushing herself in the emotional aspect of her dancing… Shawn should learn from her; dancing is not just about technical execution & dynamic movement, you have to have an emotional connection to the music & your partner, otherwise the audience won’t emotionally connect with you.

November 20, 2012 I Written By

Just a music and dancing fan here ....and a lover of life, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible camping in our travel trailer. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Jonathan Roberts Choreographing for So You Think You Can Dance – TONIGHT!

Better late than never! Set your DVR now for 8 PM EST tonight – yet another DWTS pro is choreographing for SYTYCD this week:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/JonatRoberts/status/240647916061065217″]

I’m assuming Jonathan choreographed a ballroom routine, given that he specializes in the ballroom dances; looks like we might also catch a glimpse of our favorite Russian redhead in the audience 😉

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/atrebunskaya/status/240927978534621185″]

Other DWTS connections in this week’s episode? Both Ryan DiLello & Anya Garnis of the Vegas show troupe are dancing as all-stars this week:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/ryandilello/status/240656061386878976″]
[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AnyaGarnisLA/status/240625444007866368″]

Be sure to check out the Dmitry Chaplin-choreographed cha-cha that Anya did with contestant Cole last week, if you haven’t already 😉 I just have one question: when are we going to get to see a FEMALE DWTS pro’s choreography (Karina, Anna, Kym, etc.) on SYTYCD? You listening, Nigel? 😉

UPDATE: Video of the quickstep routine Jonathan choreographed for Eliana & Ryan:

August 29, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

Dancing With The Stars Mark Ballas Lighting Up Las Vegas (Dancing Video, New Interview)

As you know from a previous posting with new interviews, etc., Dancing With The Stars pro Mark Ballas has been performing at the Dancing With The Stars Live in Las Vegas show this week. Well, the Morning Blend has interviewed him as well where Mark talks about the 6 numbers he’s in, his pets (did you know he has two dogs and three turtles?), his favorite partners on Dancing With The Stars, his parents and how he got into music and ballroom dancing, and more. You can listen to the fun interview in full here. Thanks to CMHagey You Tube, here’s some great footage of Mark dancing in the show as well. I love this song!

July 12, 2012 I Written By

Just a music and dancing fan here ....and a lover of life, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible camping in our travel trailer. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Mark Ballas Plays At The Viper Room, New Interview About DWTS Live In Las Vegas (Photos, Video)

Pictured above is Dancing With The Stars pro dancer Mark Ballas. Sunday night, he looked lean and mean playing his guitar at the Viper Room in Los Angeles. Seeing this picture and others like it at Getty Images makes me want to see him perform on Dancing With The Stars in a string duo with Val Chmerkovskiy again. How about you? Be sure to see all of the pics. They are some of the best music performing pics I’ve ever seen of Mark in action! He really gets into it!

Also, Fox 5 in Las Vegas interviewed Mark on Dancing With The Stars Live In Vegas. Last night, he danced for the first time in the show. He’ll be dancing until July 12th if you’d like to take it in. He will also be performing his music in the Tropicana Lounge on Thursday night. Details below.

FOX5 Vegas – KVVU

Thanks to MarkBallas Facebook and MarkBallas.com for the heads up on the video above!

ADDING: KTNV in Las Vegas interviewed Mark as well as Sabrina Bryan. Yes, the two are reunited again. Watching this interview makes one wonder on if she will be back for the All Star season which is briefly mentioned? You can see the new interview HERE.

July 10, 2012 I Written By

Just a music and dancing fan here ....and a lover of life, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible camping in our travel trailer. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

EW’s Video Interview With DWTS Tristan MacManus, Lacey Schwimmer, Joey Fatone, and Carson Kressley

As promised, Annie Barrett of Entertainment Weekly posted the videos of her backstage interview with Tristan MacManus, Lacey Schwimmer, Joey Fatone, and Carson Kressley before she saw Dancing With The Stars Live In Las Vegas. Carson shows off all of his costumes including his “Vogue” and “Moves Like Jagger” costumes. Tristan and Lacey talk on their injuries and the show’s ‘different vibe’ from the TV version. They say Tom Bergeron is jealous of Carson’s part and he is a “Silver Fox”. Joey Fatone talks of why he returned to dancing and how he loves his two dances. You can see more of this fun interview in four parts HERE.

July 9, 2012 I Written By

Just a music and dancing fan here ....and a lover of life, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible camping in our travel trailer. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.