We have a confession to make: after getting a private hour of ballroom dancing lessons from Dancing With the Stars pro Val Chmerkovskiy, we’ve fallen in love.
Not necessarily with Val himself — though, after finding out just how great he smells in person, we’re definitely smitten — but with dancing! We had the opportunity to visit one of the newest DWTS dance pros at his family-owned Dance With Me studio in New York City, and learn the basics of the waltz, the jive, and even a little salsa.
A few things we learned include:
- Ballroom dancing is not just about imitating the movements — it’s about fluidity, and thinking of the 1, 2, 3 count as more of a song than a series of numbers.
- For girls, it’s vital that you trust your partner to lead you. Val was incredibly strong, physically and as an instructor, and once we let him take control, we found it much easier to glide along rather than focus on the steps.
- You have to hear the music first and foremost. Val explained to us that anyone, no matter how inexperienced, and no matter what shape and size, can dance. They just have to take their lead from the music, and really feel it.
- Val said that a certain celebrity from Season 13 was pretty awful when it came to the jive’s kicks. So she (um, they) relied on their partner’s distracting flips and acrobatics to steal the show and take attention away from her (right, their) inability to gracefully manage the jive.
- Having a model’s body — like Val’s Season 13 partner Elisabetta Canalis — is not an asset. It’s important to balance the man and woman’s bodies. A more traditional height difference, where the woman is a few inches shorter than the man, is optimal.
Watch just a few minutes of our hour-long session with Val below, and make sure to check back here for Wetpaint Entertainment’s exclusive clips of Val in his natural state: slipping off his jacket, sliding his fingers in between yours, and dancing away with you.