Anna Trebunskaya, Dancing With The Stars
It's been eight long seasons since Anna Trebunskaya last made the semifinals on Dancing with the Stars (she eventually finished second with Jerry Rice in Season 2), but now she's back with Evan Lysacek. "It feels so gratifying, but mostly I'm really happy for Evan because I see how hard he's working and how much he does besides Dancing," Trebunskaya tells TVGuide.com. "He does Stars on Ice and his whole schedule has been crazy, so I'm just happy he's in." But if the Olympic champ wants to make it to the final three, he's going to have to up his performance factor, according to the Dancing pro. See what else Trebunskaya has to say about traveling with Lysacek on Stars on Ice and why we may see more WALL-E impressions from him.
TVGuide.com: You follow Evan to two or three cities in five days every week so he can do Stars on Ice and you guys can rehearse. How hectic has it been?
Anna Trebunskaya: There is the occasional lack of sleep! [Laughs] We've been very good and really efficient with our time. I'm usually ahead of him on the location because he travels by bus. I either drive with our producers or we fly from city to city. I'm normally there and we rehearse from 10 a.m. until the time he goes into the arena. He skates and I go to the next location. It's been, in an odd way, a set schedule, and we both know we have limited time to rehearse, so we do our work.
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TVGuide.com: How are the foxtrot and paso doble going?
Trebunskaya: We don't have a traditional song for the paso doble. It's going to be more rock or punk. It's not traditional Spanish flavor, so because of that, we kind of fully go off the music with our costumes. The foxtrot — I'm hoping for good things. Evan is such a great ballroom dancer.
TVGuide.com: You guys got the first perfect 30 two weeks ago, but the judges were split on your waltz and futuristic cha-cha last week. How do you think you did?
Trebunskaya: The waltz — I call it the rumba of the ballroom. It has a little of the Romeo and Juliet-feel. The song was "Open Arms," which had the opening words, "Lying beside you, here in my arms." So the beginning was a little unorthodox. Len didn't quite get it, but the other two did. I think Evan did absolutely amazingly because he's so elegant. With the cha-cha, we had to go modern. The dance is originally from Cuba, so it has that sexy Latin flavor, but our dance didn't have as much because it was from outer space. I knew Len wouldn't be fan of our cha-cha, but I had to stay true to the theme.
TVGuide.com: What did you think of Carrie Ann saying that one of the college dance teams has "Evan Lysacek Syndrome" as a form of criticism?
Trebunskaya: Every person has a trait that's a plus and a minus. Evan's a true perfectionist, which is great for me as a teacher, but sometimes it works against us because he wants it so perfect that he forgets that he has to stop perfecting the technique and just needs to perform it. What Carrie Ann said about the waltz was very true. She said he needs to lose himself in the performance. "Lose yourself" isn't something Evan really does. He wants to be just right, but he has to let go.
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TVGuide.com: Do you have any teaching methods to help him work on that?
Trebunskaya: I have to see what triggers his senses. When I work with kids and they're too serious, I ask, "What ice cream flavor do you like?" "I like chocolate." I say, "OK, when you do this part, think chocolate ice cream." They go, "Oh, OK!" Instead of thinking that you have to do it perfectly, you have to think of something to bring out that personality. It works with some and it doesn't with others. We're in the semifinal, but I'm not worried about his technique because it's almost like we own that role in a sense, so now we really have to address the performance issue. Some people are natural performers and some are natural technicians, and Evan is the latter.
TVGuide.com: He's fun in the packages, like when he did WALL-E's voice.
Trebunskaya: Yeah, that's exactly the case! I know he's a fun guy. He has a great sense of humor. We work really hard, but we joke around. He can come across in the dances like a machine, but he's not! We just need to open that gate and let his everyday personality come out. He needs to do more WALL-E voices! You know what? You just gave me an idea — that will be my teaching trick. Maybe his WALL-E voice will get us into the final!
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TVGuide.com: Is it true what they said on DanceCenter about Evan's hair being lush and full-bodied?
Trebunskaya: Yes, he has a pretty good set of hair! He has a pretty fancy haircut — very fluffy! I loved DanceCenter. I absolutely adore Kenny Mayne and Jerry and Len. It's hysterical and I love that Jerry wore that blonde wig and Kenny wore the rhinestones. They need to do DanceCenter more often.
TVGuide.com: You and Jonathan are dancing on the results show. What can we expect?
Trebunskaya: We will do a waltz. We're like the waltz couple! Dancing together is like second nature to us. It's almost on the level of reconnecting with an old friend — which sounds weird since we're married — but it's like when you haven't seen a friend in two months and when you meet again, you're back on the same page. That's us when we dance. I haven't danced with him in two months because I've been traveling with Evan. But when we had our first rehearsal, it was like click! We're back on!