DWTS Finale: From The Audience Seat

May 20, 2009 at 6:08 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

We have an amazing intern, Erin, that was lucky enough to attend Monday’s performance night finale of Dancing with the Stars, and lucky for us, she graciously agreed to recap her experience. Enjoy!

Hello BDC Socialites!

I recently won a trip a trip of a lifetime. Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from my local ABC station telling me that I was the winner of their Dancing With The Stars Sweepstakes and have won a trip for 2 to the finale (performance) taping! Over the next 20 minutes, a mix of emotions ran through my body. At first I was caught off guard and was somewhat confused by the phone call. Having entered the contest months ago and thinking “nobody really wins these contests,” I never gave my entry a second thought. However, as I learned more details and all the information started to sink in, those feelings changed. Needless to say, I was ecstatic! Though I live only a short 6 hour drive north of the LA area, I have never attended a DWTS taping, despite always desperately wanting to go. Never in my wildest dreams was I expecting anything like this to happen!

After we got the legal formalities out of the way, I received more specific details from the promotions rep in LA. I found out that ABC was going to wine & dine us! Our hotel accommodations were at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (http://www.fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire) in the heart of Beverly Hills adjacent to the infamous Rodeo Drive. We checked into our gorgeous hotel room around 3pm Sunday afternoon where we were given a welcome packet with more specific details such as dress code, what to bring to the studio, what not to bring, and Monday’s schedule including the possibility of a meet and greet with some of the dancers! Emotions started building up as reality was starting to set in. I honestly don’t know how I slept Sunday night!

Before getting ready for the show, my boyfriend (my guest) and I shopped around and explored Beverly Hills – but I know none of you care to hear about that! At 2:45pm the winners from all over the country met in the lobby in our best cocktail attire. There was a representative from ABC with us every step of the way taking pictures and videos as none of us would be allowed to bring our own cameras. After the “photo shoot,” we boarded a bus to the studio. We played trivia games along the way and were given DWTS memorabilia, including a copy of the new Ballas Hough Band CD autographed by Mark and Derek! We were a pretty enthused bunch and definitely didn’t need the help of the opening MC to get us pumped for the show!

We took our seats at the set about an hour before show time. We were seated on the floor level facing the stage. We took in the whole set, noting how much smaller it looked in person, and gawked at all the celebrities in attendance. Six chairs down from me was Genya Mazo, Alec Mazo’s brother. A few rows in front, sat Corky and Shirley Ballas, and just feet away were DWTS alumni such as Jane Seymour, Marissa Jaret-Winokur, Brooke Burke, Holly Madison, Vivica Fox, Emmett Smith, Warren Sapp, the Woz, and many more! Tom & Samantha opened the show just to the right of us, and from that moment forward, it was a non-stop thrill! As I’m sure you all saw on TV, the group Paso was amazing and the freestyles were full of energy and entertainment. But what came after the show made our trip even more memorable.

Our ABC rep met us at our seats once the taping concluded and informed us of a little surprise. Mark and Derek were going to come over and take a group picture with us to finalize our night. While we were waiting for Derek, Corky and Shirley Ballas came over to greet each of us and thank us for coming out to the show. They were both very cordial and chatted with us for a bit. Then Derek made his way over to say hi and take the group picture, but was then was kind enough to offer to take individual pictures with all of us winners. He was very nice and patient while we all took our turns to pose with him and the stage. Then it was time to play the waiting game while Mark and Shawn finished up in the Press line, but we didn’t let that bring down the mood!

While we patiently waited on Mark, we took in the chaotic Press line and watched the couples move from interview to interview (where Maks and Karina were conducting interviews for their respected shows as well). A few of us eventually built up our courage and inched our way closer and closer to the end of the press line where, after some time, we were able to meet and get autographs from Gilles & Cheryl and Tony & Melissa. I even snagged a kiss on the cheek from Tony! (Thanks again Tony! 😉 )

Forty not-so-long minutes later, Mark made his way over to take the group picture. Corky was taking pictures for Mark as well, then started to record a video. He then said, “On the count of 3, everyone yell ‘VOTE FOR MARK AND SHAWN!’” We of course chanted back, but apparently it wasn’t loud enough for Corky! He had us do it even louder, which made Gilles stop what he was doing in the Press line and turn to us exclaiming “WHAT?!!!” Gilles threw his hands up in the air in protest then ran over to jump in our group picture. He then summoned Cheryl, then Shawn followed thereafter. Tony then looked up from what he was doing and, of course, had to jump into the fun as well. Melissa was the last to join us, leaving the reporters behind to give us one complete group picture with all of the Season 8 finalists! This crazy, hilarious moment gave us a climactic ending to one of the most perfect nights for all of us.

At the beginning of this trip, I was expecting nothing more than to witness a lively dancing spectacle, but the outcome of the trip far exceed those expectations. Our experience is one I will never forget thanks to all of the people at ABC, both the cast and staff behind the scenes. I will never wash my cheek again Tony, (just kidding!) nor do I hope to come down from this cloud for a LONG while!

(Pictures from the meet & greet are still to come!)

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An interview with Marissa Jaret Winokur

February 2, 2009 at 8:54 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

I got the greatest gift in my inbox on Friday! The same company that handles the ticketing for Dancing with the Stars is doing the ticketing for Marissa Jaret Winokur’s new show, Dance Your Ass Off, and my husband and I will be attending a taping on Saturday, Feb 7th. The show is slated to be on Oxygen over the summer, and I hope you will take time to tune in when it airs. I don’t expect to be able to share much with you about the show, but what I CAN share is this great interview I got to do with Marissa not long after she competed alongside our own Tony Dovolani on Dancing with the Stars! Here’s the link to the original piece as published on Ballroom Dance Channel Social.

Marissa Jaret Winoukur chats with BDC Social

I’m hoping that we will get the chance to talk with Marissa, as well as some of the instructors for the show, when we get closer to time for the premiere! Please join us back here tomorrow for this week’s Ballroom News and Notes, and if you’d like to dance YOUR ass off, why not try our lessons?

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

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