Dancing's Anna Trebunskaya: Len Was "a Little Harsh" on Sugar Ray
Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya
After being told by Len Goodman that their jive may put them in jeopardy for elimination last week on Dancing with the Stars, Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya sweated it out under the Red Light of Doom before being the last couple called safe. "Ray was nervous, but he was containing it," Trebunskaya tells TVGuide.com. "He's a world class athlete, so he knows how to handle the pressure, but I know he was nervous. We tried to keep it light [the whole hour], like nothing's going on. We were very happy to be safe." So what does the pair have planned for storytelling week?
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Tom said you guys weren't necessarily in the bottom two. Do you think they put you there because Len said that you may be in jeopardy?
Anna Trebunskaya: I mean, yeah, it is a TV show and there needs to be some drama. I don't think that — I hope that Sugar Ray Leonard wasn't in the bottom two and he had enough fans and supporters to keep him in. But we never know the vote amounts. So there's always intrigue. It keeps things exciting.
What did you think of Len's comment?
Trebunskaya: I did think that was a little harsh. I thought there were a few couples who didn't do quite as well as Ray did and I felt it was not deserved. But we were first and I think the judges are a little more critical in the beginning — expecting a little more. I think by the middle of the show, it's like, "Oh, yeah, I am on Dancing with the Stars and these people are beginners, so maybe I should back off." I think our jive went well. We were working a lot on posture and arm-styling in the foxtrot and that actually came more in play in the jive because I thought he really improved [in those areas]. The kicks and pointed toes just take time. You cannot all of the sudden get technique.
You got the same score both weeks. Do you think his jive was better than the foxtrot?
Trebunskaya: I think the jive was just different. Looking at pluses and minuses in the jive, I thought it was very entertaining, maybe even more so than the foxtrot. But because it's not so elegant, so to speak, it can come across sloppy. I understand what they were saying. For the most part, I would agree with their constructive criticism. It's just a learning process.
How's the paso doble coming?
Trebunskaya: Good. Ray as a person is a very laid-back guy. He's very much not [aggressive like you need to be] in the paso doble. But he's also a boxer, so he has that aggression in him. I have to draw it out of him for the paso doble. We're going spend more time on polishing things and try to go out there and maybe surprise people. He's a natural born performer. His DNA is wired to entertain. I'm not concerned about that, but I need to address the technique.
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What's your story?
Trebunskaya: Our story has something to do with Ray's boxing. He chose the story and the music and I have to tell that story in the paso doble format. Hopefully we'll be successful at that. He chose a particular moment in his life, which was quite painful for him. He had to overcome a lot emotionally. It tells a lot about Ray and who he is and what kind of person he is.
He's your fourth athlete in a row and fifth total, but he's your first boxer. How does he compare to your past partners?
Trebunskaya: Well, the athletes, they get are always so good at what they do. That means they have a lot of habits. With Ray, he hunches down, [has his] shoulders up to protect himself. You know — don't get beaten up in the face. Don't expose yourself. For dancing, it's the complete opposite. We always want proper posture and form. That has been the hardest challenge. On the other hand, Evan [Lysacek], being a figure skater, is used to being a showman like that. ... Ray is a much more visual learner. He has to look in the mirror to see what he's doing it to learn it. He also has a great sense of rhythm. He's right on the beat. A lot of athletes ignore the music and try to do technical stuff, but he's the opposite. He's light on his feet.
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What do you think of everyone else so far?
Trebunskaya: I think everybody's working hard. From the very beginning, it was clear that nobody was going to be slacking off. They're all going for it. I think the older contestants are almost more hyped up that they get to do this. They're almost more committed, if that's the right word. Age doesn't really matter. It's about how you think about it, how you focus on things and what kind of show you put on. ... I would say from the first show, Kirstie [Alley] impressed me the most. On the second week, I was really impressed with Romeo. He's a young guy, he's hip, he's hip-hop and I thought his ballroom was better than his Latin. He was so elegant in his quickstep. He just looked sharp. I was very happy for him.
Will we see you and Jonathan dance together again this season?
Trebunskaya: If there's an opportunity, we're going to seize it. We love dancing together. We love performing together. If something comes up, we'll definitely do it, but not something in the next two weeks. Hopefully it'll happen later in the season.