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How You Can Dance Like a Pro With Kym Johnson

Learn to dance with Kym and Mark! (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Publicity)

We don't know about you, but we've found ourselves tuning into this season's Dancing With the Stars and wishing we could move as well as the pros, and even some of the contestants. We got the scoop from Kym Johnson about how she keeps dancing fun for her and her partners, her stay-healthy tips and how you can learn to salsa and shimmy while staying fit.

We're sad to see you and Jaleel White go last week. Who do you think are the top competitors this season? Who do you enjoy watching?

I think Katherine and Mark are ones to watch and William and Cheryl are really good. There are a lot of great dancers this season, so it’s exciting.

How do you keep dancing fun, especially when you're practicing for hours a day?

It’s always fun for me; it’s difficult to learn a dance in just four days but it’s fun. For the show, we dance for seven to eight hours a day. It’s hard on the body. We use a lot of Epsom salts for baths after.

There’s also the mental aspect of the competition, right?

You have to be a mentor and be motivational. These celebrities are out of their comfort zone. Everyone is different and you need to figure out how to get them to learn in their own way. When I see that my partner is getting frustrated, I usually do a five-minute break. I always give positive feedback first and then give a critique to help them learn.

Besides dancing, how do you stay in such great shape?

When the show’s on, all the practicing is more than enough of a workout. When the show’s not on, I do Pilates and Xtend Barre and just like to get outdoors in general.

Do you follow a strict diet?

When the show’s on, I get food delivered from Freshology. It’s convenient and you can keep track of your calories.  When I’m off, I still try to eat as healthy as I can.

For those who are doing the new DVD, Dancing with the Stars: Cardio Dance for Weight Loss , how many times a week do you recommend doing it so they can see results? Will they be able to look like a pro on the dance floor after doing this?

Anyone can do this. You'll learn the steps you see on the show and be able to do them on the dance floor. [Editor's note: Kym and Mark break down the dances into individual steps so even the rhythmically-challenged can follow.]  You work your whole body—I noticed a difference  with my own after developing this workout. I'd recommend doing this about three times a week. You'll definitely pick up the steps after a few sessions.

You need a lot of confidence to be a good dancer. What do you tell beginners?

Let your inhibitions go, which is difficult to do. But don't be too hard on yourself; just have fun.


Preview the Dancing with the Stars: Cardio Dance for Weight Loss DVD  ($12, below: