No one wanted to keep dancing more than Sabrina Bryan. The Cheetah Girls star, who's been a shot of pure adrenaline on the Dancing with the Stars national tour, flies to India on Friday, Jan. 25, to shoot her third Disney TV-movie.
But as much as she welcomes the reunion with her Cheetah Girls posse, she doesn't want to go. "I'm dying," says Bryan, watching her professional dance partner and real-life leading man, Mark Ballas, rehearse in Indianapolis with another pro. "There have been so many ups and downs of me leaving. I've gone through the sob-fest twice already."
Bryan's last performance on the Dancing tour was on Sunday, Jan. 13, in Kansas City. But she chose not to take the first plane home to prepare for her overseas adventure. Instead, she says, she stayed on the tour, without dancing, for another full week, "because Mark said, 'Just stay until Monday [Jan. 21], please!'"
Neither one of them wants to contemplate the coming 10-week separation. "We're trying to figure out if he's going to be able to come visit," says Bryan. "If he does, hopefully it'll be around Valentine's Day. But we don't know yet because if he's on the show again, they start training on the 16th of February. And the tour doesn't end until the 10th."
It really doesn't get much more romantic than this: Go on a reality competition, fall in love with your partner, sign up for the national tour, and then dance with your new love in cities all over the country. The only fly in the ointment was that Ballas had to recover from the left shoulder dislocation he suffered during the final week of the show. He couldn't dance for the first 10 days of the tour and then had to dance around the injury. But he's almost back to full strength. "My arm's working now," says a clearly relieved Ballas. "I was worried there for a little bit."
Ballas traveled with the tour from the beginning (Seattle, Dec. 18) but didn't dance for the first 10 days. "The first couple of shows were fun," says Bryan, who danced with Derek Hough while everyone waited for Ballas to recover. "But when I got to dance with Mark again, it was like, wow. That was in Arizona (Dec. 28). I remember looking at him and wanting to just hug him, like, you're back! Sitting on the sidelines is not for someone like him."
Bryan and Ballas took to each other immediately when they started rehearsals for Dancing. Then they stunned the judges and the audience with their polished and fiery first performance, the cha-cha. "We were both so excited," says Bryan. "Obviously, I had never performed like this. But he hadn't been on the show, either. And when we stepped out on that stage, both of us looked at each other and it was like, "We're about to shock everyone. They have no idea how amazing he is. And I'm the 'Cheetah Girl.'" So if you have a daughter, maybe you would know who I am. We love watching that first video because the power behind us [from the crowd] was awesome."
Bryan is already trying to distract herself with preparations for the trip. "It's just crazy to think of everything you have to pack," she says. "I'm taking peanut butter and Top Ramen [noodles], because I haven't had a lot of Indian food. I have to make sure I have enough Q-Tips and body wash, because it's not like you can go to the nearest CVS to pick up stuff that you need."
Then she watches Ballas again, polishing a routine without her. She looks lonely already. Says Bryan, "This is so hard."
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