In this second part of our interview with Tony, he tells us about his partnership with dance clothing manufacturer Capezio, his secret to keeping his DWTS partners sane, and why he refuses to teach his children how to dance.
Wetpaint Entertainment: You seem to be so good at keeping your DWTS partners happy and motivated. How do you do it?
Tony Dovolani: I'm actually — I don't know. They keep telling me that I have the patience of a saint. I don't know what that means, because I haven't met a saint yet [Laughs]. But I'll be honest with you, I don't know. I just enjoy dance so much. It is such a passionate sport that I was involved in since I was three years old. I don't really have anything to prove, since I have two world titles in the professional division.
I take such joy in teaching somebody how to do something that they've always wanted to do, that it never gets to the point where it's a high pressure situation. There is pressure, of course, but I keep such a positive mindset, because I'm always focused on the positive side of it. I see the final product in my head, and I fall in love with it. I don't really focus on "I can't get it." I believe that I can teach anybody how to dance.
I've always been positive. In fact, my wife ever criticizes me sometimes. "You know, not everything is that positive!" I go "Well actually for me, it is!"
That seems like the right attitude to us!
I'm like that with my kids as well. I'm the biggest cheerleader in the world. It's funny because people say to me: "Are you going to teach your kids how to dance?" I go "No! I don't want to be their teacher." I want to be their dad! I want to cheer them on. I don't want to be the one who tells them they didn't point their toe. That's why I don't teach my wife. My wife takes lessons in our Stamford and SoHo Dance With Me Studios studios, and funnily enough, I can't teach her!
You know, when Melissa walked in, I was so proud of her, because the first time I met her she had come off this ridiculous show where she got dumped on national TV [The Bachelor], and I had to become her bigger brother. And now she's coming back as a married woman with a child, and she is happily married. I was so proud of her. That's where I come from. So it's very difficult for me to lose my cool with anybody.
It's interesting that you don't teach your kids. It's so easy for people to become stage parents.
I honestly don't want to do that. To me, I feel it's more important for me to be their dad than their teacher. I want to be the dad. I want to be the shoulder for them to cry on when they fall. I don't want to be sitting there and telling that they're not doing something right. That's the last person who should be telling them that. We're supposed to be encouraging. The world I'm sure will introduce them to negativity. I just don't want to be the one.
Tell us about your partnership with Capezio.
Whenever you think Capezio, you think tradition. You think about years and years of dancing tradition. It's family owned, it's people that truly care about dancers, and it's designed and made by dancers. That right there — it's a statement on its own. When I was approached from Capezio, they realized that I wear their product, and we talked a little bit about the designs and all that stuff, and I saw how eager they were to really move forward.
We spent the past years basically re-designing — and let me tell you something, nothing was left out. They went for style, they went for comfort, they went for support. I mean, every part of it, even down to the materials, the type of heel they put on the shoe — nothing was left out. And that's the part that I am so appreciative of. They are technicians. They understand the material. They understand what a dancer really needs on their feet. Being in the business that I'm in, I understand that dancers have to be on their feet ten hours a day. Twelve hours a day sometimes. If you don't have the right shoes, you can really hurt yourself. And this is where Capezio stepped up to the plate. They made sure.
We did extensive testing. Our teachers tested it in our Dance With Me Studios. We did extensive testing on different things. We tried to give flexibility and durability at the same time. And never really sacrificing style. And that's something that was very important to us, because we want to be fashion forward.
My partnership has been just such a great fit. Because I feel like I represent tradition. I represent, through DWTS, style, and the future of ballroom dancing. I have to tell you I'm so excited about the new line, I'm so excited about what Capezio represents. The new clothing line they're coming out with for dancers. It's funny because I gave Melissa a goody bag from Capezio and she went to the bathroom and changed. She came back in and she was like, "I feel like a dancer!" That right there tells you what Capezio means to people.
For more from Tony, follow him on Twitter@TonyDovolani. And don't miss the first part of our interview for Tony's thoughts on the new season.