Lindsay Arnold (photo by Brandon Showers)

Lindsay Arnold is hoping this is her season to win the Mirror Ball on "Dancing with the Stars," and we've gotta say—it really could be! With her gorgeous choreography and her partner Jordan Fisher's natural ability, we won't be surprised if they, "take the lead," so to speak.

On the road to this glamorous career, while training at VIBE dance studio in Lindon, Utah, Arnold had a mentor that she says paved the way for her future as a performer. Rick Robinson—who also trained Julianne and Derek Hough, Witney Carson and Mark Ballas—taught her the value of being versatile as a performer and to always maintain confidence.

"Rick constantly reminds me not to focus on pleasing other people. Which is hard because, as a dancer, I'm literally going to competitions to be judged. It can be really difficult to hear someone's critique of me, but he reminds me that my opinion is the only one that's important. If I'm happy with what I'm doing, then that's all that should matter. He gave me so much confidence in this industry that's so full of rejection."

Watch Arnold and Fisher compete Monday nights on "Dancing with the Stars."

Witney Carson posted this picture from last night's "DWTS" finale.

Actor Alfonso Ribeiro has been crowned the Season 19 winner of “Dancing with the Stars” with his pro partner, Witney Carson. (You may remember the Utah native as a perky ballroom dancer and Top 6 finalist on “So You Think You Can Dance.”)

On last night’s finale, the pair scored perfect 10s on their final dance, a cha-cha/Argentine tango before accepting the glittering mirror ball trophy. Ribeiro, who danced on Broadway as a child in The Tap Dance Kid, said he had wanted to be on “DWTS” 10 years ago and every year in between! So charming. Now he’s a ballroom TV champion and heading out on a 39-city tour with “Dancing with the Stars: Live!” beginning December 27.

Ribeiro was a frontrunner throughout the season. If you missed everything else, you’ll want to at least check out this clip from the “My Most Memorable Year” episode, when he recalled his time playing Carlton Banks on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” That was the night, after much speculation and finger-crossing from viewers, he finally did “the Carlton dance,” his signature move from the sitcom. In a student-teacher role reversal, he showed Carson the nuances of the arm swing, and the pair busted it out during their jazz performance to “It’s Not Usual” (Carlton’s preferred accompaniment). They scored perfect 10s, and judge Julianne Hough told him that even though he’d given viewers what they wanted with “the Carlton,” by the end of the season, people would remember Ribeiro as a dancer in his own right.

Photo via Facebook

As our 2014 Dance Teacher Summit approaches, we're getting excited to try out some new dance styles during the three days of classes and seminars. Tony Dovolani's ballroom crash course is always a crowd favorite, even if we can't quite figure out how to move our hips like he does...

An Emmy-nominated choreographer and winner of multiple U.S. and world ballroom championships, Dovolani coaches Latin and ballroom at Dance With Me studios in NYC, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. He co-owns the business with fellow “Dancing with the Stars” pros Valentin and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. DT spoke to him about the challenges of coaching nondancers on "DWTS" and how he continues his education as an artist.

Tony Dovolani

Pro on “Dancing with the Stars”

Dovolani was paired with tennis great Martina Navratilova on Season 14 of "Dancing With the Stars."

Dance Teacher: On “DWTS,” you work with people who have never set foot in a dance studio before. How do you get them to loosen up and keep an open mind?

Tony Dovolani: The first thing I explain is that walking is dancing. Every single person has a rhythm in his or her body, because it takes coordination to walk. It’s just putting one foot in front of the other, but I try to remove the expectation that they should be able to do it right away. A child takes about a year and a half before she can put one foot in front of the other. Even if she learns to walk at nine months, she’s still waddling back and forth! It takes time, but I 100-percent believe that anyone can learn how to dance, and I actually think it’s the ones who have a hard time learning things in the beginning that tend to stick it out and be a little bit more determined.







DT: Do you think it’s important for teachers to continue their own educations?

TD: Oh, absolutely. Some people stop taking lessons because they think they’re masters. In my opinion, the moment you consider yourself a “master,” you should stop dancing completely because you must know it all! I retired from competing about four years ago, and I think I’ve had more lessons after I retired than before. This is my passion; it’s not my job.

DT: Who do you learn the most from?

TD: I learn from every dancer that I’ve ever watched. I learn from other teachers, from my students, and I ask them all questions. I’m not afraid to tell them I don’t know something. I want to explore their minds and find out how they would approach something. I think people are way too eager to talk about how they do things and not enough to learn from other people. I also go to Broadway Dance Center in NYC, to Alvin Ailey, and I go watch New York City Ballet quite often—I think they’re phenomenal. Pretty much anything that has to do with dance, I’m there.

Photos courtesy of ABC

Presenting a young Peter Martins, Twyla Tharp and '70s NFL icon Lynn Swann in Tharp's Dance is a Man's Sport, Too. (And thanks to our sister publication Dance Magazine for sharing it!) Swann is known for taking ballet classes to improve his vertical jump and agility on the field. In this clip, he shows off his leaping prowess against Martins, who of course went on to direct New York City Ballet. Who has the better ups?

“Dancing with the Stars” premieres tonight at 8, with a promising lineup of contestants, including athletes, singers and even Bill Nye the Science Guy! Swann's former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, plays at 8:40.

The cast of Season 17 (photo via

If you're like any of us nerds at DanceMedia, the end of summer doesn't just mean the end of beach days, but the closing of dance TV staples like "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Breaking Pointe." That is, until you realize fall programming means "Dancing with the Stars" takes over prime time.

The show airs once a week this year (Mondays at 8/7 central), which means they'll have to cram all the dancing, critiques and eliminations into two hours. Most importantly, I hope they don't cut down on guest performances. My favorite part is seeing everyone from New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck to college dance students take the stage.

Season 17's cast includes:

"Saved by the Bell" star Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Valentin Chmerkovskiy

High School Musical alum Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff

"Pretty Little Liars" actor Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd

Comedian Bill Engvall and Emma Slater

Valerie Harper of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and Tristan Macmanus

Former NY Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess

Singer Christina Milian and Mark Ballas

Bill Nye "...the Science Guy" and Tyne Stecklein

Jack Osbourne (son of Ozzy) and Cheryl Burke

"Jersey Shore" fist pumper Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Sasha Farber

"The King of Queens" actress Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani

"Glee" actress Amber Riley and Derek Hough

Who do you think has the rhythm to win Season 17? (Here's to hoping my '90s science idol, Bill Nye, takes home the mirror ball.) Catch the premiere, September 16 on ABC.

This week, Zendaya earned the first perfect score of the “Dancing with the Stars” season for her salsa performance with Val Chmerkovskiy and Gleb Savchenko. She’s one of the best performers of Season 16, which isn't surprising, since she sort of dances for a living. Zendaya stars in the Disney show “Shake It Up,” which chronicles the lives of two friends who work as backup dancers on a TV show. This strikes me as a tad unfair, since she’s competing against comedians, boxers and reality stars like the recently departed former “Bachelor” Sean Lowe. At the same time, though, the best dancers are definitely the most fun to watch! So maybe "DWTS" has figured out a good mix, after all. What do you think?

Watch Zendaya’s perfect 30 performance here:

The Camden Sophisticated Sisters drill team wowed on this week’s “Dancing with the Stars” results show. Since 1986, the organization’s founding director, Tawanda Jones, has used dance to motivate and empower young women in Camden, New Jersey, where many residents live below the poverty line and violent crime rates are some of the highest in the nation. The team rehearses in a converted water tower, which Jones refers to as “safe haven” for many of her students.

As if the Sisters’ mission isn’t moving enough, they dominated the dance floor Tuesday night in their special appearance on the show. Commercial choreographer Brook Wendle created a crowd-pleasing, hard-hitting routine to Beyoncé’s “Get Me Bodied” for CSS, and the girls nailed it. To top it off, host Tom Bergeron announced “DWTS” would be outfitting the team’s rehearsal space with brand new mirrors. We can’t wait to see what these impressive young ladies do next.

Boxer Victor Cruz was eliminated yesterday on “Dancing With the Stars,” but the biggest news of the night concerned Adrianne Haslet-Davis, the dance teacher who lost her foot in the Boston Marathon bombings and has inspired the nation and its arts community with her positive attitude and vow to return to the dance floor.

Host Tom Bergeron announced that viewers would hear from Haslet-Davis on next week’s program, when plans will be revealed for “DWTS” to help with the dancer’s recovery. Derek Hough has even invited Haslet-Davis to perform with him on the show when she’s ready. “It’s hard for anyone to understand what she must be going through,” Hough told the Boston Herald. “But if she has the determination and she has the passion…she’s going to be dancing again. It’s not going to slow her down.”

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