You never really know how hard dancing is until you get in there and start. Fortunately, I'm a workout fiend. I've done a lot of yoga over the past 10 years, and pilates, which is very dance oriented. So my body was ready for this. Or so I thought...
I've had a couple of ballet classes in my life, but ballroom? There's no comparison. The pros make it look so easy. But I'm slipping and falling all the time because I'm a klutz. I'm beat-up all over. The very first day of rehearsals, I got a big fat blister and I said, "I gotta put socks on." So I have this thin pair of black cotton socks not very pretty but they do the job.
The question was, could I? The waltz, the rumba, they're all hard as hell. But I thought, "OK, Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones did this for Chicago and worked their butts off, so I can do the same thing." I marched myself down to Shelly's Discount Aerobic Wear and bought fishnets, belts, shorts, flowing skirts, leotards. I thought, "Maybe if I look like a dancer, I'll feel like one." I went a little cuckoo. My husband [Harry Hamlin] thought I had lost my mind.
But Harry thinks I'm crazy anyway. I think it's probably one of the things he loves about me. He's the one who should be doing the show. Mr. Hamlin took nine years of cotillion dancing when he was a kid. So he knows how to ballroom. He's a lovely, elegant dancer.
Dancers are gods to me. Louis van Amstel, my amazing partner, has become a friend for life. When I think about great dancers, I think about Baryshnikov. And, of course, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Some friends of ours bought Ginger Rogers' estate on the Rogue River. It's in Oregon, my home state, and it's a lovely cabin on 2,000 acres. When we were home for the holidays, they invited us over. I got to spend the day in the house where Ginger lived, and they've kept it exactly as it was. Her paintings are still there. She built this massive stone fireplace and picked every rock herself. I can't tell you how surreal and fabulous it was.
In my own house, we're always dancing. Just this morning, the kids Delilah is 7 and Amelia is 4 had Madonna's new song playing. At 8 o'clock in the morning, we're dancing to "Hung Up." I love rap, Kanye West, you name it. In rehearsals yesterday, we had our music going. Louis said, "You have to stop singing. You can't sing while we're dancing." So now I can't sing and dance at the same time.
But I'm having a blast. Can dancing change your life? Yes. It has changed mine. What I've learned, more than anything, is that it's not necessarily about how good you are technically. It's about your soul coming through. And it's about having fun. As the song goes, "Let the spirit move you."