Anna Trebunskaya, Dancing With The Stars

Dancing with the Stars pro Anna Trebunskaya hears the chatter about her partner, Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek, but she's not listening. "It kind of freaked me out at first because people were already talking about it, like, 'Well, he's going to win; he's definitely going to go far,'" she tells TVGuide.com. "But then I forgot about it because we can only try our best and the rest is out of our control. I'm just concentrating on our dances." Their rehearsals are going well, she says — except for the instances when she fears she will fly out the window. See why the 29-year-old thinks she'll take flight, why she likes working with athletes and who she's going to recruit to help out Lysacek.

TVGuide.com: You've been on five seasons, and Evan is your third athlete after Jerry Rice and Chuck Liddell.
Anna Trebunskaya:
I know! I've had a lot of athletes! I like working with anybody, but athletes are great because they definitely have the work ethic. You don't have to teach them how to work. You just have to teach them the different coordination to their bodies, but their bodies are already somewhat coordinated, although it might be for something else, like hitting people in the face! [Laughs]

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TVGuide.com: Evan says he's not very graceful. True?
Trebunskaya:
I think he's very critical of himself. Chuck — I compare them because their bodies are different — was a really burly man, like a tank on wheels. Evan's not like that. He's definitely lighter on his feet, so I think he's just very critical of himself. The Viennese waltz is a good dance for him because it has a lot of rotations, which he's used to. There are some spins that are sort of down his alley, so I'm trying to make the choreography more comfortable for him. He's also not used to having a partner, so he wants to do his own thing — not intentionally, but subconsciously. That's his struggle right now. I'm trying to manually hang onto him and not let him run away!

TVGuide.com: Does he try to run away from you a lot?
Trebunskaya:
Not a lot because I don't let him. He's just used to being by himself. He's also done [skating] with a lot of power and a lot of strength on his own, but if you add too much power to a couple, then we're both flying out the window. I tell him to be careful because I don't want to go flying! I think he's slowly starting to realize that and is kind of backing off. He's learning fast.

TVGuide.com: Evan's had a stress fracture in his foot for a while. How are you working around it?
Trebunskaya:
Yes, I'm conscious of it and he hasn't really been wearing the Latin heels. Those were Tom DeLay's nemesis last season. That's how he got his stress fractures — because of those darn Latin heels. So I'm not doing that for him now.

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TVGuide.com: Did you root for Evan or your countryman, Evgeni Plushenko, in the Olympics?
Trebunskaya:
[Laughs] I think our producers have a good sense of humor to pair us up. Obviously I'm a big fan of Russian Olympians, but honestly, I'm a fan of just good performances. So, I was just as happy for Evan winning as I was for the Chinese pairs skaters that won because they should've won and that was their night. Russia's my motherland, but I've been living in America for a while now and I have roots here as well. I have seen the gold medal. I like it! It was very heavy and kind of big. I asked if it was real gold and Evan said, "No, you cannot sell it."

TVGuide.com: Do you like that the show went back to having a smaller cast?
Trebunskaya:
Definitely. I think the smaller cast makes it easier for the audience to connect to a certain celebrity. For me and Chuck, I think we could've done better if there weren't so many people. It is what it is. It's just easier for people to notice somebody because when there are so many people, nobody knew who to vote for. Or they gave a vote to four different people. So in the end... you didn't really save anybody. The audience has to choose a couple and really stick with them because you never know. They might be at the top of their game one week and everything's nice and dandy. You might think they're safe the next week, but they're never safe.

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TVGuide.com: Your husband, Jonathan Roberts, is not on this season. Is it easier or harder not competing against him?
Trebunskaya:
We never have a problem competing against each other! It's actually a little bit harder because I'm not going to be seeing him as much. I'm going to be traveling with Evan, and that's going to be interesting. But people are away from their spouses, sometimes not knowing for how long, so I'm not complaining.

TVGuide.com: He can give Evan tips.
Trebunskaya:
Oh, for sure he will! [Laughs] He's going to have to watch the show every week and he's going to have to give me his thoughts. He doesn't have to go overboard with it, but just a few ideas. I'm definitely going to pick his brain.