Maks, Tony and Val being interview by a local news station, right before "Extra" stepped in for their chat session.

 

 

Last night marked the grand opening of Dance With Me Stamford, the fourth latin and ballroom dance studio in a chain co-owned by "Dancing with the Stars" pros Tony Dovolani and brothers Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy (Maks and Val to their fans). The business partners held a "meet the press" session and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Stamford's mayor. A well-attended cocktail reception and a sampling of performances by the studio faculty followed.

 

Before this event, I didn't truly grasp the celebrity status these dancers—that's right—dancers—now hold. Now I see why I had such a hard time tracking down Dovolani for an interview last month! These guys were being interviewed by "Extra" and People magazine. After the press was finished, a mob of women took turns having their photos snapped with the debonair Dovolani (to borrow from our 2011 cover) and the apparently notorious Ukranian heartthrobs. (Where have I been?) I was lucky to get to shake hands with Tony and eventually Val, who assured me he doesn't think of himself as a celebrity, but a dancer. Lucky for him, today you can be both.

 

I've heard mixed opinions on what shows like DWTS and SYTYCD do for the dance world, but seeing them produce stars with enough clout to fill four new studios with dancers, I have to think they're doing something right. If it gets more people to the studio, stage or dance audience, then any publicity is good publicity, right? Even if some of it involves debating whose abs are the hottest... http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20529968,00.html

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