TV

Former DWTS dancer Carol-Ann Hanna spills on what it's like working with the rugby players on the show

They're ones to watch, she reveals.

By Carol-Ann Hanna
I can't believe the dance-offs have begun already! It's starting to get into the business end of the Dancing With The Stars and it's showing, with injuries and illnesses now cropping up - and strapping, linament and pain killers beginning to become part of DWTS life!
I felt bad for K'Lee this week. She did her best performance yet and with her injury, along with all the other things she juggles, she had to do that dance again in the dance-off - although I personally loved seeing it again. I received a similar injury last year with nerve damage to the neck so I can identify with the pain she's in.
K'Lee performs the tango with Scott Cole.
Brad, Anna Wilcox's dance partner was strapped up from a mishap through the week where he dislocated his shoulder.
Vanessa and Glen were delayed at the airport for hours due to the Auckland fog on Saturday, nursing chest colds, but still managed to slip out of the airport between flight updates for more practice - that's what winners are made of!
Nadia also had to reach for the pain relief. She's digging deep for some mental toughness as the competition heats up.
Manu got judges Rachel and Camilla excited with his smooth salsa moves.
However, we aren't even halfway yet and I'm pretty sure there's a Mediaworks curveball about to hit. Last year, just when everyone thought they could not do anything more, and (late) after the show on the Monday night when all we wanted to do was crawl under the duvet, they called a meeting and announced they were adding another dance to be performed the following week. I wonder if there's a similar event about to happen!
This week I loved Willy, Manu and Laura. I could certainly see Giancarlo's fabulous style coming through in Manu's salsa. (Giancarlo, a renowned salsa dance teacher, taught both Manu and his professional dance partner Loryn Reynolds, who specialises in ballroom dancing, this week.)
What a treat to have one of the world's best salsa teachers working with you, and I personally think this was his best dance - such rhythm and joy on his face. He must be so awesome to work with.
Willie and Amelia confused the judges with their hip hop dance - even though it was a hip hop dance!
Laura had a great dance - brilliant choreography and I loved the addition of her friends - although if I were to be really picky I have to agree with Rachel. It was a little untidy in parts but nevertheless a great performance!
Willy turned out another humdinger with a fabulous street dance/club dance Afro-American influenced hip hop routine. It was controversial as the judges didn't think it was hip hop. It was, but to be fair perhaps not the version they identified with.
It was choreographed by Lance Savali who has danced with Chris Brown, Beyonce and Rhianna. I'm glad that the scores weren't affected because of this because, as Julz said, it ticked all the boxes - including the hip hop box!
Laura brought in her friends this week.
I also must make a mention of Glen's dancing this week, given all the challenges he and Vanessa faced, he still turned out a fabulous chachacha.
One thing I found working with my celebrity partners Norm Hewitt and Ma'a Nonu is that rugby players are hard workers. They take direction and never question anything; they are competitive and resilient and Glen is no different. He knows no other way of competing and Vanessa is the perfect foil.
It was sad to see Anna go but the competition is hotting up and it's not as clean-cut as it has been in previous years. It's still anyone's to win.
This is a new week and they have to keep pulling rabbits out of the hat. They have to keep well and avoid injuries and illnesses. These would be extra challenges they don't need, now that the going has got tough.