Mya is aching — but she likes it. "My torso's cramped," she tells TVGuide.com about rehearsing with her Dancing with the Stars partner Dmitry Chaplin. "But it's a good sore, like I should've been doing something in the gym before he battered me today!" The singer/actress is hard at work perfecting her moves with Chaplin, but don't think her dance background puts her at a large or even unfair advantage. It just puts more pressure on her, she says. See what else she has to say about her new gig and if she'll pay tribute to the "Cell Block Tango" she performed in the musical Chicago on the show.
TVGuide.com: How are rehearsals going?
Mya: It is really hard! You have to think about so many things — where your head is supposed to be, your shoulders, your neck, your posture, what your feet are supposed to be doing, where you're supposed to be looking. It's about training your body to do a certain thing that it naturally doesn't do. You'd think the waltz is really simple when you look at it, but it's not! [We're doing] the waltz and the cha-cha, which I just learned a little bit of today.
TVGuide.com: How are you and Dmitry getting along?
Mya: He's been teaching me basics so he hasn't really cracked the whip just yet. He's really nice.
TVGuide.com: A lot of people have you as an early favorite because of your dance background. You came in third in our poll.
Mya: That's a lot of pressure. It's kind of intimidating. I don't know what I'm doing right now. [Laughs] In music videos, they make it look right and there's editing, but this is going to be live. I'm scared of messing up because of the high expectations. For any gymnast or ice skater or person in music — like Lance [Bass] or Mel B. — everyone is going to be overly critical of us first. We want to get it right, but if we don't, we're, like, letting everyone down.
TVGuide.com: How different is it from choreography you've done in your career?
Mya: Totally different. I was at least allowed to be free and put my own thing into it. With what I've learned so far, it's very structured. When you're with a partner, everything has to be coordinated, so that's new as well. I think musiciality is helping me with the timing a lot, but everything else is like opening up a book and reading it from page one.
TVGuide.com: Have you gotten any tips from your "Lady Marmalade" cohort Lil' Kim yet?
Mya: Oh, I haven't spoken to her yet, but I plan on calling her to ask about the do's and don'ts, how did it feel, what kind of preparation I should get ready for, if I should do certain conditioning. So yeah, I'm going to talk to her.
TVGuide.com: Some people have said they do Pilates for conditioning.
Mya: Yeah, that's what [Dmitry] recommended for me. He said no running — [the] less impact the better, and Pilates is really good to stretch and to elongate. I have a Pilates video in my basement that I've never opened up so now it's time to open it up!
TVGuide.com: Will you do an homage to Chicago?
Mya: I don't know. I don't think we legally can. But maybe they can clear something. I'm sure clearance is involved.
TVGuide.com: What are you looking forward to the most?
Mya: Oh, all of it. I want to know what they're going to do with the hair and the tanning. That's so fascinating to me — these girls with fabulous hairstyles and costumes. I'm looking forward to the full picture. It's one thing to rehearse and know the moves, but once you see the character come to life with the hair, the makeup, the jewelry, your partner, it feels, I don't know, theatrical in a way. You want to perform it like you've never done before.
TVGuide.com: Last season, the celebrities designed costumes for a week. Maybe they'll do that again.
Mya: That would be fun. I'm going to start looking on the Internet!