Dancing with the Stars: Meet the New Pros
Lindsay Arnold, Gleb Savchenko, Sharna Burgess
There will be three new pros on Dancing with the Stars when Season 16 premieres on Monday (8/7c, ABC). But while Lindsay Arnold, Sharna Burgess and Gleb Savchenko are rookies on the show, they aren't exactly new to the global Dancing family. Here's what you need to know about the fresh faces and what you can expect from them.
PHOTOS: Check out the new Dancing with the Stars cast
Partner: Victor Ortiz
Background: Arnold finished in the Top 8 on So You Think You Can Dance last summer. She has been dancing since she was 4 and has trained with Dancing pro Mark Ballas since she was 12 in Utah. She also teaches at her dance studio in Utah. Besides ballroom, Arnold's also trained in hip-hop, ballet, jazz and contemporary — the latter of which will be new dances this season (Arnold and Ortiz have the foxtrot the first week). "It's very helpful to me because they're doing all these new styles on the show and it's nice because I have experience in them, so I can't wait to tap into that," she tells TVGuide.com. "Hopefully we won't be the first ones out so we can do them!"
How she got on Dancing: Arnold, who made no secret during and after SYTYCD that she wanted to go on Dancing, had been campaigning for the show "the past couple of years." "I'd been in contact with [Ballas] and I had done performances on the show, including the Ballroom Battle," she says. "Then I got on So You Think You Can Dance and after that, they contacted me when I was old enough to become a pro and it all happened from there."
What nerves? Because of her teaching experience and SYTYCD, Arnold believes she's well-prepared for the relentless Dancing machine. "I'm not nervous. I've been teaching for three or four years now, and when I was on So You Think You Can Dance, I helped my partner with the ballroom," she says. "On that show, you teach and learn dances in a limited time too, so I'm used to that grind."
But is Ortiz? Arnold is thrilled that she lucked out with Ortiz, a welterweight champion, as her first partner. "People always say it, but it's so true: Athletes have great work ethic and Victor is the same. He's so into training and rehearsals," Arnold says. "I'm very happy I got him, not just because he's such a great athlete, but he's such a great person too. He's so fun to be around, he's great on camera. A lot of the competition is making America fall in love with your celebrity and I think everyone will fall in love with him."
What you can expect: "A lot of surprises and stuff outside of the box," Arnold says. "Victor is up for anything and I think we're going to bring something new to the table." She's also heeding some of Ballas' advice. "Mark told me to bring myself into the competition and show everyone who I am and what I have to bring as a pro. I think I have a bit more modern style and something that hasn't really been on the show yet."
Dancing's Aly Raisman: People will see a "totally different" side of me
Partner: Andy Dick
Background: The Dancing troupe member, who started ballroom training when she was 8, competed at the World Championships when she was 15 and has performed in the dancing theater show Burn the Floor. She's appeared on the Australian version of Dancing and the Dutch version of So You Think You Can Dance, and choreographed the movie Street Dance 2 — 3D. Burgess also performed in the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. "My favorite dances are the Argentine tango and the paso doble — stuff you can really dive into," she says.
How she got on Dancing: Patience. Good things come to those who wait, and Burgess waited three seasons in the troupe until she got called to the pros. "I literally found out on Thursday and I met Andy on Saturday and they announced it on Tuesday," she says. "I truly thought that this season I had missed out. Then I got the phone call from the executive producers and I think I screamed and jumped with excitement." The promotion wasn't a complete surprise though, as producers had "made clear" to Burgess that a pro spot was in the cards. "Last season, it was an All-Star season, so it was just waiting for the right time to make a change in the cast. But they've always been very supportive. It was a 'don't lose hope' thing, like 'we do want you up there.'"
Andy who? As an Aussie, Burgess says she was unaware of all of Dick's legal and personal woes, but he opened up to her during their first meeting. "I found out a lot about his history and I guess I have a different perspective on it because I didn't see the videos," she says. "I heard it straight from him and it breaks my heart that he had to go through that for such a long time. It's a struggle and addiction isn't something anyone can criticize unless they've been through it or supported someone through it. I feel like he's in such a good place right now. I'm hoping that everyone gets to see that. There's a whole other layer to Andy Dick other than the TMZ videos and the mistakes that he's made."
What she doesn't want on Dancing: Like a lot of fans, Burgess was not fond of the bizarre hybrid dances producers saddled couples with last season (remember surfer flamenco?) "Those were crazy. I think a lot of our viewers and our fans felt that this went from a serious, classy competition to Bollywood Knight Rider craziness," she says. "It didn't quite make sense to everyone. They tried something new. Hopefully the dances will be more straightforward. Bollywood is a lot of fun, but no Ghostbusters theme with it!"
What you can expect: A serious Dick ("He's been saying he's in it to win it") and two sides of Burgess. "I'm a joker off the floor, so I think you'll see that in the packages, but I'm very intense on the floor. I love the powerful dances. I think that's when I'm at my best."
Watch our interview with Dick and Burgess below for more on their first dance, the foxtrot, and his meltdown.
Dancing's Lisa Vanderpump: I have to dance my way out of trouble!
Partner: Lisa Vanderpump
You know him from:
Background: The Moscow native started dancing at age 7 and specializes in Latin, ballet and contemporary. He's won numerous titles, including the Australian National Professional Latin-American Champion of 2011-2012, and holds a choreography degree from the Russian Theater Arts University.
How he got on Dancing: Savchenko says he "always" wanted to join the U.S. version. "It's the best," he says. "There are versions in Germany and China and Australia — all over — and the whole world looks to the American one. I never really had an opportunity until now. I was competing and the time wasn't right and then it just happened. I got a call, did an audition and now I'm here. Of course I said yes right away. It was great."
Will history repeat? Savchenko's time on Dancing Down Under was short-lived: He was eliminated first last year. But he says he's not concerned about back-to-back worldwide first-week exits. "I'm actually not thinking about it. Really," he says. "I'm trying to do my best, to create the best number to suit Lisa, show the best of her. Everyone who comes on the show, they're different. It's not a professional dancing competition. The celebrities have no dance experience, so when they start doing it, it's about their process. It's not about how good they are — of course that's important — but it's about the process and development. I'm not thinking about going first or second or third. If it happens, it happens."
What's in a name? Having seen a few Real Housewives of Beverly Hills episodes, Savchenko was aware of who Vanderpump was, but did not know her name. "I never remembered their names, but when they told me her name, it kind of sounded familiar. It's so different, so then I realized she was on Real Housewives," he says. "I never thought she'd have such a great personality. She has a great sense of humor and I have become a fan of hers." And contrary to Vanderpump's self-evaluation, Savchenko says she's been doing "great" on their foxtrot. "I have much more confidence in her than she has in herself," he says. "She's a really good performer. I'll be honest: I thought it'd be a lot worse than it is. But she's wonderful and is working so hard. In rehearsal, I stand there and I'm like, 'That's what we need.'"
What you can expect: "Lisa and I are both the same: We don't take things too seriously and I think you'll see that in our dances. I want her personality to shine," Savchenko says. "We'll be having fun and enjoying the show. Just live every second. That's my approach in life."
Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8/7c on ABC.