Dancing With the Stars pro dancer Louis van Amstel isn't one of the pros on Season 16, but the fan fave dancer is still keeping very busy.
Wetpaint Entertainment recently spoke to Louis about his upcoming performance — and retirement announcement — at the Dance Legends show in New York City, his LaBlast fitness program, and the current season of DWTS. So read on to find out who Louis thinks are the frontrunners this season, his special goodbye to the competitive dancing world (don't worry, guys, he'll still do DWTS!), and what else he's been up to during his season off.
Wetpaint Entertainment: Tell us a little about Dance Legends.
Dance Legends is one of the two top events in the dance world, worldwide. The top three of the World Championship are all performing in the same venue, which is very unique, because normally they would avoid each other until they get to the World Championships.
My partner, Julie Fryer, and I, who have been three time World Champions, are actually retiring from the dance world. So we're getting together for the very last time. We've been working really hard for that moment. [The show's] at the beautiful Hammerstien former opera house in New York City. It's a huge event, and it's also very special for us to say goodbye. It's going to be quite sentimental, because it's our last time.
Although we might be dancing on Dancing With the Stars for the very, very last time in May, this is us saying goodbye to our dance world, and thanking all of the people that supported us. It's going to be a very special moment.
It sounds awesome, but also bittersweet.
Yes. It's bittersweet. But for the people, if they want to come — they can buy tickets at Dance Legends — if you love Dancing With the Stars then you love ballroom dancing. [At Dance Legends] you're going to see it at the highest level. It's quite an honor to be a part of that show.
You've also been working on LaBlast. How is that going?
LaBlast is my dance fitness program that is absolutely growing like wildfire. We have so many instructors trained, and we're in 15 different states, four different countries, and by the end of this year we'll have five more states. And within those states a lot more people are trained. It's literally going after what Zumba did in 14 years — I'm pretty much in my second year right now, and it's growing so fast.
What is so humbling is to see what started off as a little class is now a full on worldwide program. I have Dancing With the Stars to thank for it, and all my celebrities that did so great. People like Kelly Osbourne, who lost 35 pounds in three months, that really inspired me to say, "You know what, there's so many people like Kelly, and like Marie Osmond, like Kirstie Alley, who, through dance, lose so much weight and feel healthier, feel happier."
If people want information about how to become a LaBlast instructor, or if people want to know where they can find classes in their area, they can go to Lablastfitness.com and find out more information.
Let's talk DWTS! You choreographed the opening performance for Week 3, which was great.
Prom Night! It was so cute. And I have to say, I thank Tom [Bergeron] for the shout out and saying the "ever patient [Louis]." [Laughs] The celebs did great.
Having worked with the stars, and having watched them dance for three weeks, who do you think are the frontrunners?
The frontrunners, by far, are Kellie Pickler and Zendaya. Absolutely by far. And then Jacoby Jones is third place for me right now. And then Aly [Raisman] is slowly coming from behind, like Seabiscuit did. We still have to watch out for that girl. But by far, right now, Kellie Pickler and Zendaya.
What do you think of the incorporation of new dance styles, like Contemporary and Jazz, and having them in the mix as early as Week 1?
At first I said, to bring in Contemporary, it's too early. But what I think they should have done in Week 1 is change it up a little more, so more people would have different styles, like they're doing now. [In Week 3] I think there was one couple who had Paso Doble, one couple had Samba, and then three couples Viennese Waltz, some had Jive ... If you mix it up, mix it up completely. Otherwise say one group does this, the other group does that.
But I like it. It's diversity. I think what's nice about this season is there's a lot of diversity, and people react to it. They like it. In the end everyone has to do Contemporary. Everyone will have to do Jive. Everybody will have to do Quickstep. Eventually, when they get to the end, the couples that will make the finals will have done every single dance.
You said that you might be dancing on the show with your partner later this season. Will you be doing any more choreography for opening numbers or results shows?
I don't know as of right now. Prom Night ... last Sunday I was asked to do it. There you go. Welcome to TV and Hollywood!
We hope to see you back on the show in future seasons, whether as a judge or a pro.
Thank you! They have very clearly said that [my not being on this season] was just this season, and they felt they didn't have a partner for [me]. Some of them are really tall, or they just didn't think it would fit.
But in the end it's a blessing in disguise, because my activewear clothing line, LVA, is coming out — we're partnered up with Sears — end of May. So I am extremely happy where I am right now. I am good for this season, but I still would love to have a partner! I love doing this show.
For more from Louis, don't miss his thoughts on the judging this season.
Those of you in the NYC area should make sure to check out Dance Legends to find out how you can see Louis perform live on April 12 or 13, 2013. And if you're looking for a fun way to exercise (and let's be real, who isn't?), check out the LaBlast website.
Not enough Louis? Follow him on Twitter @LouisVanAmstel!
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.