Depsite the fact that he was eliminated first with partnerMartina Navratilova during Season 14, Tony Dovolani is one of the most beloved and recognizable pros on Dancing With the Stars. His blindingly-white smile and kind attitude make him the favorite of many DWTS fans.
Wetpaint Entertainment had a chance to chat with Tony at the Grand Opening of the Stamford, CT branch of Dance With Me Studios, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Val, and Tony’s dance studio. He dished on why he’s opening a studio in Stamford and what he thinks of the upcoming All-Stars season.
Wetpaint Entertainment: The new studio looks great! Why did you pick Stamford?
Tony Dovolani: This is where I'm from. I grew up in Stamford. The first place that I moved to when I came to the United States was Stamford, and it was just unbelievable. Stamford has been very kind to me. So even though I made it big with Dancing With the Stars, I never forget where I came from, so I decided to bring it back. And also, I live in Connecticut, so for me, this is home.
Tell us about the Studio
The studio is amazing... Pretty much everyone that I know worked in this studio, and put their blood, sweat and tears into this wonderful place, and what an amazing place they built. We are proud to call it home. We knew it would be special, but not this special.
It's in a good location in downtown Stamford, too
Well, this is landmark building. For me it was important to be in a landmark place. Stamford is the New York of Connecticut, and we had to be somewhere where downtown is, where the restaurants are, where nightlife is. What better way to have fun and nightlife than dancing?
Let's talk about Dancing With the Stars. What do you think of the All-Stars season concept?
I think the All-Stars season is amazing. Everybody has been wanting to watch all those different stars come back and do something special, so why not put them in a competition again. Let's increase the odds and see what came out of it.
Anyone you're particularly hoping comes back?
Well Melissa [Rycroft] or Stacy Kiebler, or Susan Lucci. I liked most of my stars.
Speaking of you stars, there have been rumors that ABC is going to contact Kate Gosselin...
I don't know anything about that.
Would you be willing to dance with her again?
I will dance with whoever they put me with.
What did you think of the Season 14 finale?
I had a blast. I actually choreographed the finale number, so for me it was fantastic. I was asked to create something special and I got nothing but positive reviews out of it, and it was as grand as the finale needed to be. So for me it was a big honor to be asked to choreograph it, and for it to be a success.
Were you expecting Donald to win?
I kind of was hoping for Donald to win for the simple fact that he was the most improved dancer out of everyone. He is the guy that put in the hours of work and wanted to do the best, and he's a great representation of what ballroom dancing should be. It should be a constant growth.
Are there any changes you'd like to see made to the DWTS format?
I think the format is pretty simple, it puts people under pressure. We see the good side, we see the bad side, we see the ugly side, we see the great side. We see every side in there. So I think they have a great formula, and I think they should continue that path.
As a pro, what is the best and hardest part of your job?
The best part of my job is teaching people how to dance. The hardest part of the job is people not believing in themselves. I feel like we as teachers believe in them more than they do.
For more from Tony, follow him on Twitter @TonyDovolani. And for more about Dance With Me Studios, check out the Dance With Me Studios website.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.
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