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Dancing With The Stars

DWTS’ Teddy Volynets Defends Sherri Shepherd Against “Cheating” Accusations – Exclusive

As part of the Dance With Me studio family, former Dancing With the Stars troupe dancer Teddy Volynets knows just about everything there is to know about the Chmerkovskiy brothers, Tony Dovolani, and what the inner world of ballroom dancing is really like.

In an exclusive interview with Wetpaint Entertainment, Teddy opened up about those Sherri Shepherd “cheating” rumors, what a real “Dance Mom” is, and how Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Val Chmerkovskiy are doing so far with Melissa Gilbert and Sherri. And make sure to check out Part 1 of our interview here.

Wetpaint Entertainment: How did Maks and Val do in Week 2?
Teddy Volynets: I thought Melissa Gilbert’s performance was on point. There’s not much I can really criticize about her dancing. The judges found something to criticize, they should, they’re always going to do that. But I thought Sherri was f**king unbelievable. You can quote that. I was blown away by that performance. I mean, honestly, it was a performance, you know? You don’t really get that a lot. A lot of the people are focused on steps, this and that. But that was a full-on dance performance that any dancer would enjoy watching because of how committed she was. Yeah, there was a slip-up but how quick she got back on it was unbelievable.

I just want one Mirror Ball to be brought to Dance With Me. Maks never won a Mirror Ball, he was pretty close. Tony was pretty close. Val is brand new to the show, so I don’t really care which one of them wins as long as one of them wins.

Do you think one of them has a good chance of winning Season 14?
I would say so, absolutely. I know them as friends but I also know them as teachers and I know how hard they work to push you to do things you thought that you didn’t know that you could possibly do. Not comparing to anyone else, I just know that this family has an incredible work ethic. That’s something that definitely influenced me and gotten me to where I’ve gotten.

Credit: Photo via Teddy Volynets' Twitter    

What do you know about those rumors that Sherri was “cheating” by taking lessons at Dance With Me before the season began?
I haven’t heard about the rumors until you told me, and I didn’t know whether or not she did it. In truth I probably should know. Either way, I don’t see what the difference is whether or not someone has taken lessons, whether any celebrity is interested in taking lessons. I don’t see why it would be unfair for anybody who may or may not be interested in being on Dancing With the Stars for them to take ballroom dancing lessons during their own time. There’s no guarantee of whether or not they’re going to be on the show. So anybody who wants to be on the show has to not take lessons until they get on the show? Regardless of whether those lessons are with somebody who’s been on the show before or just an instructor in any studio.

Do you ever use DWTS to pick up girls?
I actually have not thought of using DWTS to pick up girls. I guess I’m doing it wrong. Maybe that’s what I should be doing from now on. Yeah, why not?

What do you think of Dance Moms on Lifetime?
Look, I think television is television. Everything is going to be portrayed the way it’s going to be portrayed. I don’t think real-life dance moms are that crazy. My mom is a dance mom and even though she’s very involved, between driving us to practice from Long Island to New Jersey to being on the side of a competitive dance floor with water, and anything that we needed. Giving us space when we needed space and being right there next to us when we needed her right there. Television is going to portray whatever people want to watch.

Is there one celebrity you would most want to dance with on DWTS?
For me it’s not so much which celebrity would I have to pick and choose, it’s more, just give me a celebrity, anything is fine, I’m not really picky. If I get one, then that’ll be…because I got a taste of what that’s like last season with Hope [Solo], when I got to work with her a little bit. You know, it’s a lot more responsibility, it’s a lot more, not really nerve-racking but you’re much more involved because you’re there six hours a day. But I got a taste and now I want the whole thing. But honestly I would just be happy to be back on the troupe either way.

Did you see Tristan MacManus’ potential when you were both on the troupe?
I know Tristan has a musical theater dance background, and he toured with Burn the Floor, and when I found out that he had the opportunity to be a pro, I was very very proud of him. I think he’s doing great this season with Gladys [Knight] and he did really well last season with Nancy [Grace]. The kid’s good at what he does so I can’t really complain. I’m happy for him.

Do you want to be back on the DWTS troupe?
I would love an opportunity to be back on the show. It’s not something that’s completely in my hands. I had a lot of fun when I was there. It’s a huge opportunity. It’s the biggest stage for ballroom dancing in America. What more can you ask for than doing what you love and having 20 million people watch?

Catch the next new episode of DWTS tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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