Exclusive Interview: Edyta Sliwinska of ‘Dancing with the Stars’
Edyta Sliwinska has graced the dance floor on the hit competitive reality show Dancing with the Stars for the past five years. She brings grace and poise to her performances and seems to be a fearsome teacher of ballroom as well. This season, she dances with All My Children star Cameron Mathison. She spoke to BuddyTV about her reaction to Sabrina Bryan’s elimination, how much she trains with Cameron and the fun she has with designing her own dresses. Below you will find an audio file as well as a transcript of the interview.
Hey, everybody. This is Debbie at BuddyTV, and I’m talking to Edyta Sliwinska, one of the professional dancers on Dancing with the Stars. Hi!
Hi, how are you?
Good, how are you?
Good. I’m a bit tired, but I’m hanging in there.
Great. So, I wanted to ask you, the big news so far is that Sabrina Bryan was eliminated, and a lot of our readers were really shocked when that happened. What was your reaction?
Yeah, I was really shocked, standing there in the bottom two next to Sabrina, I was sure it was going to be us. And I think that was really unfortunate because Sabrina was probably one of the best female dancer celebrities that has ever been on. So, it’s been very shocking, very weird. I don’t really know how that happened. I guess people thought that she’s so safe that they don’t need to vote for her. I guess that’s what happened. That’s the only explanation that I can give.
That might have been. Which star, which celebrity have you been most impressed with this season?
In terms of the improvement? Or just purely dance abilities?
Yeah, either one. You know, improvement, maybe?
To be honest with you, and I’m trying not to be biased, but I am really most impressed with Cameron’s improvement. Because I teach him, I’ve been observing him since the very, very beginning, and he’s probably the most improved person that I’ve ever seen dancing. He started really, really bad. And I was kind of depressed at the beginning because I was thinking to myself, “What am I going to do?” This guy is looking great and probably has a great fan base, but he can’t move. And as the weeks were going on, he was proving me every time that he can improve, that he can learn do better and better. So, that’s the biggest surprise for me because, to be honest with you, I knew that Melanie, Sabrina, and, you know, even Jane or Marie are gonna be great because they are performers. That’s what they do. Helio, on the other hand, I thought he might be quite good. One, because he’s a lot smaller than Cameron so it’s much easier for him to move. And two, because he’s Brazilian. He probably has it in his blood. So, to be honest with you, I think Cameron was a huge surprise for me.
How many hours a week do you rehearse together?
I would say it’s about five hours a day, and we rehearse pretty much every day, including Monday after the show. So I would think it comes down to about 30 hours.
Wow, that’s a pretty hefty schedule.
Yeah, and the hours are increasing because this week, we have two dances to get ready. So, it varies. It varies from Cameron’s schedule as well because his schedule is so crazy that sometimes we rehearse only twenty hours because he has to work.
And, what do you think your chances of winning this season are?
Well, after last week, I’m a little bit scared because, apparently, no one is safe and I know that Cameron is maybe not the best dancer there, but he’s really improving. And who knows? Maybe if the viewers are gonna give us enough time, he can improve and he can be as good as Melanie, who’s getting triple tens. So, I really believe that he can win it if the viewers will support him. I think he is good enough, dance abilities and drive and work ethic, to do it.
You’ve been on the show since the very beginning, so you’ve had five partners now. Who’s been your favorite to work with?
That’s not a fair question. I love to work with all my partners. And, obviously, because of the age, I would say that the best communication and I become the closest with Joey Lawrence and now with Cameron. And I obviously had a very good relationship with John Ratzenberger and George Hamilton. But they could be my, probably, grandfather. So, it’s a very different relationship. With Joey and with Cameron, we are really good buddies, we became good friends, and I still keep in touch with Joey, and I hope after this season is over, I will keep in touch with Cameron.
That’s great! And, how does being on Dancing with the Stars impact your professional career?
Actually, it’s very funny because since Dancing with the Stars started, I have no time for my professional career. Because once the season is over, we start Dancing with the Stars tour immediately. And pretty much my whole career, dancing-wise, is dedicated to Dancing with the Stars. I haven’t enough time to do anything besides that. It’s really bad.
Is this something that you’ll want to continue in next seasons also?
It’s not quite dependent on me, whether I’m going to be on the next season or not. This is the producer’s call and whatever stars they’re going to get and if I’m going to be a good match or whatever the idea is, I have no idea. But I can certainly tell you that I enjoy doing it very much. And I think this is a great way for people to get introduced to ballroom dancing. And this form of ballroom dancing, teaching the stars and then going on the tour and performing in front of people that only saw us on TV and now have a chance to come and see us live is just a very, very good thing, and I consider myself lucky that I have an opportunity to do it. So I would certainly continue it as long as I can.
Is there a particular celebrity that you’ve been hoping to be matched up with?
You know, I can hope for people like top A-list celebrities, but obviously, they will not come to the show, and they don’t need to do it. You know, like Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. That would be really amazing to dance with them. Not only because they are incredibly handsome, but I think they have great personalities and that could be very interesting, how they cope with things like ballroom dancing. But, no, you know, I’m really in a place where I love to meet new challenges and teach a variety of people. So, whoever I’m going to get in the future, I’ll make the best out of it.
One thing I really enjoy about your performances is you always have the best costumes. I particularly liked the one when… Cameron had… it was the Superman paso doble. Do you have any say in what you wear for your routines?
We do. We have a lot of say. It starts from our idea, really, from professional dancers’ idea. And, we tell Randall [Christensen], who is our designer on the show, what do we envision, what’s our idea for the costume. And then we work it all together. He makes a little sketch for us, a little drawing. He’s been so good for us. He’s making those costumes. He makes them look wonderful, so he has to take a lot of credit, but the idea essentially is ours.
So that happens every week? He has to make costumes from scratch every week?
Yes, we do make costumes from scratch every week because every week, we have different dance, different music, different choreography, every season, different partner. You know, I would wear a different dress with John Ratzenberger than we Cameron. And I would wear a different dress for Superman paso doble or for a classical flamenco Spanish paso doble. So yeah, we do it every week from scratch and it’s very fun thing do, I must say. I have a lot of fun designing and coming up with a costume.
And, you just recently got married to another dancer on the show, Alexo [Mazo], and how’s married life been treating you?
You know, I don’t really know because I hardly see my husband, unfortunately. We got married on September 1st and that was when the training for the season already started. And since then, I’ve been in New York every week, most of the time spending in New York training with Cameron, and when I come to L.A. for the show and for the weekend, I spend most of my time doing interviews and training with Cameron. So, unfortunately I don’t get to see my husband much. I hope when the season is over, we will catch up. So I can’t answer that question. I don’t know how is married life. No idea.
-Interview conducted by Debbie Chang
(Image courtesy of ABC)
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