On a Close Encounter of …

I recall hearing and reading about the hub-bub between John Hurley and Kelly Monaco in Season 1 of Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) – but I didn’t watch. As a sports fan, having ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne in the Season 2 cast caught my attention – so my wife and I watched DWTS for the first time on January 5, 2006.

We watched the entire show. The next day was the results show, and my wife asked, “Don’t you want to see what happens?” I had seen the first night with Kenny, and that was good enough, but she was curious – so we watched the elimination of Kenny Mayne.

Season 22 (of the 2 seasons per year) starts later this month. Since that first episode we watched, DWTS was the first domino that led us into the world of ballroom dance. We’re still watching the show and still dancing. Who knows how much money we’ve spent on lessons, dances, and shoes – at least I can blame Kenny Mayne.

Long-time watchers may remember Season 2 as it included guests Drew Lachey (a Cincinnatian who won), Stacey Keibler, Jerry Rice, Lisa Rinna, Tia Carrere, George Hamilton, Tatum O’Neill, Giselle Fernandez, and Master P, It also introduced us to professional dancers Tony Dovolani, Maksim Chmerkovsky, Louis Van Amstel, Cheryl Burke, Anna Trebunskaya, and Edyta Śliwińska – the Polish-born dancer who easily catches the eye. Besides, many of us would love an opportunity to dance with the partner of our choice …. Just once! Did you hear that Edyta? Anna? Sharna? Peta?

To those of us old enough to remember the variety shows on television, DWTS is a blend of a reality show of today and the variety shows of yesteryear – especially on the Results Show when top artists perform – such as this appearance by Michael Bublé in Season 9.

Like any business, dance studios aim at making a profit. Every studio has their way of increasing sales, which may include providing coaching sessions. The “coach” is usually an experienced dancer/teacher from out-of-town who is part of a normal lesson – of course with an extra fee. Yes, coaches are an outside perspective providing a new set of eyes for suggestions, but it’s never interested us – after all, we are social dancers who don’t compete.

As part of one of the sales promotions are our current studio, we earned the right for a drawing – and what did my wife select? … a free coaching session. We talked with our regular instructor about the upcoming coaching possibilities, so we selected Agnes. Plus, I took a group class with her last year, so I knew she had a pleasant demeanor … as well as being an attractive woman. (At least I’m honest.) 😉

Early this past February, we had our coaching with Agnes. A wonderful lesson – and I had a few steps with her. In our chit-chat time, I discovered that she’s Polish and now lives in Los Angeles … but why I didn’t wonder if she knew Edyta is beyond me! After all, look at the connections – Polish, dancer, Los Angeles.

Two weeks later, my wife was gone on her girls’ cruise – which meant too much time on my hands – so I searched Agnes. On her website I discovered her personal story of dance and journey to the USA – her dance accomplished as a winner or finalist in the most prestigious dance competitions, and her appearances on Dancing With The Stars.

WHAT? I had in my arms and danced a few steps with someone who has been on the show! My wife and I had a coaching lesson with someone who probably knows cast members – including Edyta! … and yes … in the video above, that was Agnes and her partner dancing to Michael Bublé … and odds are, we watched that episode!

With YouTube doing what it does, I saw other videos, of Agnes and her partner Urs … including the entertaining, unique dance video below that demonstrates grace, variety, speed, strength, versatility, control, and probably more. TIP: After watching up to 2:50, save yourself time by forwarding to 4:50 … and enjoy watching the lady I think of as my Close Encounter of the Dance Kind.

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60 thoughts on “On a Close Encounter of …

    • Susie,
      We ballroom dance for fun … thus don’t complete and don’t perform as a solo couple … (we have been part of a group for a small event at a studio) … It’s fun, but harder than expected. BTW, check the sidebar for the Ballroom category!

      We’re still handing with DWTS. For the past handful of seasons we’ve wondered if our interesting in the show is waning … or if the show is nearing the end. But the casts have turned out to be fun.

      PS: Not knowing where reside, are dance studios in the area? I can give tips/info about the different opportunities that exist.

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  1. That was such a fun demonstration Frank! It was also good to hear how you got into dancing – I didn’t realise it was because of the programme. – I wonder how many couples go off and take lessons as a result of getting hooked. It’s such a great activity for anybody to get into. Fitness would never be an issue again 🙂 I’m looking forward to this new season!

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  2. I think I’ve mentioned before that we were taking ballroom dancing when the first episode of DWTS aired. We signed up for Arthur Murray classes to prepare for our daughter’s wedding. We kept it up for a while, and circumstances made it hard to continue. I never pass the studio without wishing we were still connected. I had so much fun during the time we participated. I love your video and your “close encounter” dance kind is amazingly talented. What skill and what fun!

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    • Debra,
      I recall you taking lessons, but didn’t recall it was during the first season of DWTS. BTW … Agnes and her partner have separate Murray studios in SoCal – but I’m not sure where.

      Glad you watched the video … it’s so fun. I may have to take another coaching lesson from her to see if she can get me inside tickets to the show!

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  3. I have never watched Dancing with the Stars. There is an Australian version. We saw bits of the American show when Bindi Irwin was in it.
    I used to go to ballroom dancing classes when I was young and I loved it, but I married a man who dances like a stick so it ended then…what a pity.

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    • Debra,
      Wow … I never knew your connection to ballroom. Awesome – but your description of hubby made me laugh.

      Aussies have a very strong history on the American version. Bindi was fabulous … and a winner – but I can’t recall other contestants from your land. Pro Kim Johnson has been on many of the seasons … and Sharna & Peta (on the cast in recent seasons) are Aussie.

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    • Amy,
      Yep – Season 22 starts soon – 11 years is quite a run on television. Although ratings are still high, I think they’ve peaked. It’s quite a find for the BBC.

      In terms of the coaching session, I knew nothing about her fame at the time – so in this case, surprises are good.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Isn’t it interesting the way we look at celebrities? How could you have forgotten?!!!
    She’s unforgetable. I adore DWTS. I am glued to the tv screen. I hear, I see, I speak nothing. I’m glued. I love the memories it brings and I like the build-up to the winner. The creative routines they come up with are incredible. The costumes are gorgeous. I shan’t go on. I am addicted to dance. 👣
    Yes, she sure is an excellent … exceptional … fabulous … well – I could go on but you’re thoughts are the same, I’m sure. OK … no mas … GREAT post.
    Isadora 😎

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    • Isadora,
      The way we look at celebrities is interesting … and yes, much of the time we probably give them too much credit – but they are who they are – celebrities. Our lesson was 45 minutes, but the possible connections to Edyta didn’t initially come to mind. Meanwhile, let Season 22 begin!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes, people look slightly different in person. Also tv make-up is much more intensely put on. 😳
        Let the dancing begin …. YAY 👣
        p.s. it’s bittersweet sometimes to watch and remember those good old dancing days. My knees and hips remind me all of the time. It’s like modeling. When you become a size 2 you’re out leaving room for the size 0’s. LOL
        When you get older you watch more than dance. BUT …. I’m still happy to do that. I had my moments of applause. It sure is addictive. 😎

        Liked by 1 person

  5. DWTS does feature drama, style, and pageantry so wonder it’s been popular. Honestly I can only take a few minutes or so of it. (Keep wondering if that’s what all the little pageant girls and their moms dream of)
    Social dancing used to be very popular with parents years ago. Dressing up with gloves and all – or “Squaw dresses” with big full skirts and loaded with rickrack for the square dances (Shell Oil co. used to hold weekly square dancing for employees – many of whom were from Europe/Holland/Germany and got a real kick out of the music and dances).
    As you’ve said, lots of drama and exercise. NIce to see people interested in dancing again. It’s cool you and your wife are having fun with it.

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    • Mouse,
      The drama aspect fills the reality-show niche … but I know what you mean … after all, I try to look past that. However, some contestants are simply more likable than others.

      I think DWTS has been a boom to the dance industry. Of the two studios we consider for the weekends, one will have about 30 people and the other 50-100 … plus when the ball occurs 4-times per year – that will have 200-400 attendees … and Cincinnati isn’t that big of a city.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. One of my favourite tracks from Michael Bublé. Agnes is a very special dancer, and good for you that you had a few minutes of coaching with her. So fascinating to watch these two amazing dancers in the last video. We have our own DWTS here at the club this Saturday evening. It promises to be a gala occasion, and I’m so looking forward it.

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  7. I usually watch the first couple of shows and the the last few to see who didn’t get voted off and how much better the remaining have become. My girlfriend went to school at Music and Art with Ray Chew. I met him a couple of years ago at a class reunion.

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  8. Just goes to show, Frank, how small the world is! You’re coming up with some corking connections right now… Agnes and Edyta’s paths would most undoubtedly have crossed!
    Our version here is ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, and last year they had a special season where normal everyday folk were nominated to take part dancing with their favourite professionals. You never know… that may come to a ballroom near you soon!

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    • Tom,
      Strictly Come Dancing is the original show from which the BBC has made tons of money across the world. What an interesting twist. Wonder how the number of viewers compared with the past. The news also gives me a glimmer of hope, but I’ve got the feeling someone with ballroom experience may not be considered.

      Thanks for supporting my thought of the high possibility of Agnes & Edyta crossing paths – let alone knowing each other. The world is so small, I imagine there is only 3 or 4 people between me and Pope Francis … such a small world.

      Like

  9. Loved your post! It sent me to the internet to buy my 2017 Vienna State Opera Ball (Wiener Opernball) tickets, along with replacing the No. 25 occupant of my Top 25 Bucket List.

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    • Tim,
      That appears to be a grand event, but Viennese Waltz makes me dizzy. Besides, the Ohio Star Ball is much closer, cheaper to get there, and cheaper to attend … and it is one of the grand competitions in the US.

      Like

  10. Pingback: Guest Post from aFrankAngle: On a Trip to the Ballroom | Happiness Between Tails

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