Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Night Of Dancing With The Stars

Wednesday night, my cousin Carla and I headed to Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum to see “Dancing With The Stars” live.

Both big fans of ABC’s top-rated ballroom dance contest, we couldn’t wait to see some of our favorite celebs and their pro partners in action. After a tepid opener with couples from local dance schools, the entertaining 2.5 hour show kicked into high gear.

My cousin Carla and me just before showtime

Recreating the TV show’s set design, the cast made their entrance from a grand staircase center stage. Kicking up their heels for the crowd were former N’SYNCer Lance Bass and his pro partner Lacey Schwimmer, Olympic athlete Maurice Green and Cheryl Burke, Oscar winner Marlee Matlin and Fabian Sanchez, singer Toni Braxton and Alec Mazo, along with the rest of DTWS’ superstar pros -- champs Mark Ballas and Derek Hough, Aussie Kym Johnson, Poland-born Edyta Sliwinska and newly-engaged hunk and show choreographer, Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Poetry In Motion: DWTS' Maks and Edyta

Mirroring DWTS’ successful on-screen formula, the show’s sequin-clad talented cast was accompanied by a 10-piece live band as they performed a variety of Latin and Ballroom numbers, including many of last season’s signature routines. Cheryl and Maurice reprised their mambo, Matlee and Fabian glided through a Viennese waltz and Lance and Lacey rocked out a gothic tango.

Lance and Lacey rocked it out to a cover version of Rihanna's "Disturbia"

Marlee and Fabian doing the Viennese Waltz

I was especially excited when the DWTS cast reprised their dramatic group paso doble routine from last season.

The group Paso Doble was even more exciting to watch live

An additional treat -- two huge video screens showcasing never-seen-before rehearsal footage and outtakes.

Midway through the show, Toni Braxton took to the stage, moving the crowd when she shared her Autistic son’s recent milestone -- speaking for the first time. She sang a breathy rendition of her classic hit “Unbreak My Heart.”

Breathe Again: Toni Braxton did more singing than dancing

One of my favorite group numbers was set to the Sinatra tune, “Fly Me To The Moon.” As the cast sashayed across the stage sporting colorfully mod flight attendant attire evoking an era gone by, I was reminded of that feeling I only get when I hear Old Blue Eyes -- the desire to climb right into the romantic world he sings of.
Fly Me To The Moon...Or anywhere near hunky Maks

The show ended on a high note, with the entire cast taking to the stage for a rousing rendition of “Dancing Queen.”

The finale was performed to ABBA's "Dancing Queen"

Carla and I left with big smiles on our faces (and even bigger crushes on Maks), and with eager anticipation for the new season of “Dancing With The Stars.”
Season 8 begins March 9th.

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