It was an off-the-cuff comment made during a catch-up with an old friend. “Wouldn’t it be amazing,” said former Dancing with the Stars presenter Candy Lane to ex-judge Craig Revel Horwood earlier this year, “if they brought back Dancing with the Stars?” He agreed with her, and off they went down memory lane, reminiscing about their time on the hit programme, which ran for five years from 2005.
Candy then thought no more about it until a couple of weeks later, when a producer from TV3 phoned her out of the blue to ask if she would come to a meeting to discuss a special project. “When they said it was Dancing with the Stars, and asked me to be involved, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry,” says Candy. “I said, ‘Oh, let me think about it... Yep!’ There was no hesitation at all. I have always had a huge fondness for this show – it’s been a real gift for me and it is wonderful to get to do it again. It was amazing how it happened just weeks after we had talked about it – I think somebody up there was looking down on us. In future, I’ll have to make more wishes!”
It won’t be a case of reviving the past, however. This time, Dancing with the Stars is being made by TV3 and will have a whole new look, based on the overseas versions of the show. “It’s going to be modern, bigger and better, with lots more genres than ballroom and Latin dancing,” says Candy, who won’t disclose her age.
This time around, she’s also nabbed a new role as a judge, not a presenter. So what kind of a judge is she going to be? “A fabulous one, of course!” she laughs. “To be honest, I’m not known for my tact when it comes to critiquing dance, but I will be a fair and honest judge. I’m not going to be mean. I’m going to be constructive.”
When she’s not running her Auckland dance studio, teaching classes, producing shows, choreographing routines and even performing herself, Candy often travels overseas to adjudicate at top dancing competitions in the United States and Australia. Her life sounds glamorous but most of her time is spent in hotels and dancing venues, where she often has to stand for hours on end, observing the competitors. Because she insists on wearing high heels, her feet can end up in agony. “I dissolve some aspirin in the bath and put my feet in it, which helps,” she reveals.
The mum to daughter Jaz (20) and son Zak (18) says she will feel right at home on the judging panel. Part of the attraction of being a judge on DWTS is that she gets to sit for most of the show and will now be able to watch the routines properly. “Before, I used to miss things because I was preparing for what was coming up.” She’s also looking forward to dressing up in some of her stunning full-length sequinned gowns, which haven’t had much use since the last series.
“People used to ask me what I was going to do with them, and I’d say I was planning to put them on when I went to the supermarket so I’d get some wear out of them! In my local supermarket, nobody would bat an eyelid. They’d just go, ‘Oh, it’s her’.” There’s no date yet for when the series will begin screening and as we went to press, Candy was the only person whose involvement was confirmed. She’s excited about the thought of casting talented Kiwi dancers and also very curious about who the “stars” are going to be this time around.
She’s got a few ideas about who she’d like to see strutting their stuff on the dance floor. Top of her list would be Banshee and Outrageous Fortune star Antony Starr. “I think he is so good! The only trouble is I would want to be his dancing partner – I’d have to pull on my dancing shoes!”
Candy admits that on the occasions when she dances – usually at corporate events or special festivals – she still suffers from nerves as she stands in the wings waiting to go on. So how does she deal with them? “I ask someone to get me a brandy!” she laughs. “No, it’s fine as soon as you go on, the nerves dissipate.” She hopes nerves won’t put some well-known Kiwis off taking part in the show. “It really is a great experience and I’m sure people will be very happy to hear it’s on again. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t get people saying to me, ‘I wish Dancing with the Stars was back on again.’ It’s so exciting to be able to say to people, ‘It will be!’”
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