First, how is it being back in London?
It’s great. I love London. The weather is what I thought it was gonna be but that’s fine when you are stuck in rehearsals for so long each day. We have been lucky that our days off we have had a little sunshine so no complaints. Football season just started back as well so it’s great to not have to get up so early to watch it like in LA.
How did the first couple of weeks of rehearsals go?
Rehearsals are tough. We got straight into it HARD when we came back but it’s been great fun. I missed the first two weeks last year and this year we have an extra week of rehearsals as well so it’s been great and equally as tough. We generally do 10-5 each day and that will depend on how many numbers we need to learn and then record for the production team. Each week the show is on then we will refresh at the start of the week and the day before we record.
We’ve heard that this year the pros will have different partners most weeks instead of dancing with the same pro throughout the series. Have you already rehearsed with several different partners?
Yeah, last year we started with someone more than others and then as the competition went on we switched up more. I think myself and Trent switched partners more last season as himself and Kristina stayed in the comp longer so myself and Aliona danced more together and I thought it would stay that way this year but they have switched it up a bit more this year. So far I think I’ve danced with almost all the girls at least for a few bars in certain numbers which is great. I don't think I’ve danced with Natalie yet but I’m sure at some stage I will do. They tend to use the same people for the ballroom sections.
You left dance for a while many years ago but then you got back into it. What ultimately made you decide that you wanted to dance again?
I go through phases in dance when I like it and I don't to be honest. Sometimes it’s the people and sometimes it’s just that I lose interest in what importance is put on certain things. I left the first time because granted I was at an age where I just wanted to do the same as everyone else and have fun but I just had no interest in wearing makeup and sparkles. I felt uncomfortable and looking back now at pictures of me as Oompa Loompa in spandex looking outfits is a jokeshop. I always liked the dancing and training but I didn't like the competing. I went back because I wanted to do shows and I missed working with a team. Stage shows seemed the way to go so I did that and then I found a show that was Ballroom and Latin but it seemed to be cooler and everyone doing it was quite different which is always the main thing. I hate doing stuff that alienates people. Whether I’m right or wrong I believed that’s what dancing at the time was doing. The good dancers only talked to the good dancers and dancing was all everyone talked about and if you didn't take lessons with such and such you weren't gonna get anywhere. It was all bull to me! I have been very lucky since I’ve come back to it with what I have been able to achieve.
You said that due to scheduling and travel issues, you couldn't compete in the Dublin triathlon, but are you still training or planning to train for future triathlons?
Yeah, I’m really disappointed to have missed this triathlon. Unfortunately with the heavy schedule of the first week my body was shattered anyway but for those races you need to be in the country and set up for the registration and all the safety and orientation meetings which is something I couldn't have made it back for. In hindsight physically it would have been too demanding for me to do right as it was an important time in rehearsals but I absolutely love it so I will for sure do more in the future. I still train now but it’s tougher because of the rehearsals. I still cycle and run when I can. Swimming is tougher to fit in but I have found a pool close to where I stay in London so I mainly do that on the days off.
You have performed with lots of recording artists during your career as a professional dancer, but is there one in particular that you would like to perform with?
Not really. Performing with the guest artists is cool I suppose but not too many of them stick around and hang out or anything so it’s much of a muchness for me! I like doing the numbers and when The Script came to DWTS they asked me to hang out after which was pretty cool but generally you shake their hand at the start, say hello, and then they are gone! I’d love Bowie to come in just to meet him but if that would happen I’d just wanna sit and listen to him - no dancing.
You do a lot of different stage shows and every audience reacts differently. Have you ever done a show that fell completely flat?
Oh, yeah, for sure hahaha! It’s horrible but that’s just the way it is. Sometimes it’s because the audience doesn’t get what you are trying to do and then other times it’s just not good – haha. I can't remember particular things but you will always have numbers when people don't feel like clapping at the end or you do something you think is impressive but they don't agree - haha. I think when it’s the tv show the audience in studio are all gonna clap regardless and then if they like it or more importantly they like you then they will clap and scream whether it was good or bad so we are saved a little there. Sometimes at shows even if people loved it they are quiet or subdued so you have to expect that. It’s harder when you are on the mic and you make a joke and they are having none of it – hahahaha. I’ve had that a few times.
What is the most unusual question you have been asked (or perhaps someone has asked one of the other pros) during a live show such as BWAT?
You always get some who ask about our wages and they won't give up until they get an answer. It’s really weird. Or they ask some pros why they 'broke up' with someone in front of their girlfriend or new partner. Just strange stuff, you know. I actually don't mind when people ask me that stuff but the problem is I try make them feel as uncomfortable as I do in those situations and sometimes that doesn’t go down well – haha. Sometimes people just wanna point out stuff about you so you don't get ahead of yourself, you know. Some people have a very biased and also a very skewed perception of people on tv and so maybe it’s justified in most cases.
Finally, you worked with Gleb previously on DWTS but had you ever worked with (or met) the new pros Otlile and Giovanni before?
Yeah, I worked with Gleb before. He is great and I hadn't met or worked with Gio or Oti before but they are really nice and have fitted in really well. Everyone gets on great here and I really like all the new pros. I’m sure once you see them on the show you will too. Gio couldn't be any more Italian and he is very funny. I like that guy and Oti is hilarious. I had never met her but I heard about her through Keo and she is very much straight in the conversation with people - very confident and a great dancer so I think people will love them and I look forward to seeing them all on the show.
On this website we talk a lot about Tristan MacManus but we also spend a lot of time discussing other pros, and the one name that keeps coming up as a favorite of our website members is Dmitry Chaplin. I had the opportunity to meet him for the first time when he performed alongside Tristan, Lacey Schwimmer, and Anna Trebunskaya at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Ballroom With A Twist in July. Not only is he charming, funny, and handsome, but he is extremely gracious and loaded with talent. In addition, I was fortunate enough to see this BWAT show with one of the delightful ladies who runs Dmitry Dream Team, the amazing support page for Dmitry. We thought it would be fun to get to know Suzanne and Maria (Dmitry Dream Team) better, and we know you will enjoy a brief Q and A with each of them (their answers to identical questions might surprise you!) along with a short history of how Dmitry Dream Team came to be.
A History of Dmitry Dream Team - from Suzanne
The Dmitry Dream Team Twitter page was founded on March 04, 2011. We launched the Facebook page on October 23 of the same year. Maria told me about a message board that was made for Dmitry and Mya’s season on Dancing With The Stars (that page no longer exists). When we found out that Dmitry was going to be on DWTS again and paired with Petra Nemcova we decided to start Team Dmitra since all of the other pros and celebrities had a team page. Dmitry started following the page six days later and my first thought was that when the season ended we would turn Team Dmitra into a fan page for Dmitry. He did have a fan page but it was not active.
The first time I saw Dmitry live was in Ballroom With A Twist in January, 2010. I didn’t get the chance to meet him as no meet and greets were available. In May, 2010 he performed on Long Island with Karina and they had dance lessons the next day, and I had a private lesson with him. I have no dance experience whatsoever but it was so much fun. Maria and I met for the first time in June, 2012 for the Dancing With The Stars: Live In Las Vegas show. It was her first time meeting Dmitry and I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure if he would remember me but he did! She saw him in San Francisco the following month performing with Peta, and we were able to see him again in November, 2013 when he performed in Ballroom With A Twist in Folsom, California. That was my first trip to California. She saw the show with Anna and Val in June and I saw it with Derek, Peta, Tony, and Cheryl in January, 2014. We were very, very fortunate that year as Dmitry was in the show in May, 2014 and Maria made her first visit to the East Coast. We were totally surprised when he came back to the East Coast in November and Maria came back again! We just saw the show again with Tristan and Chelsie in June, 2015 in California, and I had the opportunity to see Dmitry, Tristan, Anna, and Lacey in July with extra thanks to Jeanne (@T_MacManusFocus) who had an extra ticket to the show and invited me along.
2006 - So You Think You Can Dance
2008 - 2011 Dancing With The Stars (paired with a celebrity Season 08, Season 09, and Season 12)
2013 - acting, choreographing, dancing on Fox's Bones "The Diamond In The Rough"
2013 - choreographed the Holiday Bowl Halftime Show
2014 - acting, choreographing, dancing on ABC Family's Baby Daddy "Flirty Dancing"
2014 - director's cut of Chico's commercial
2015 - acting in an episode on the TNT Sharon Stone series Agent X
The Q & A
Now for fun part! We separately asked Suzanne and Maria seven questions about Dmitry, and you might find some surprises in their answers! Be sure and take a look at some of their favorite photos of Dmitry at the end of this Q and A. Hey, Dmitry! When are you going to let us interview you?
What five words would you use to describe Dmitry?
Maria: Sexy, nice, brilliant, funny, sweetheart
Suzanne: Oh, wow, only 5 words to describe Dmitry! He's sweet, caring, very humble, funny, and can I say oh so handsome!
What is your favorite Dmitry performance on DWTS? How about a non-DWTS performance?
Maria: My favorite DWTS performance is with Lacey - "Good Life" by One Republic http://youtu.be/HdNDIVXe0hI. For a non-DWTS performance, I love when he does the guitar Rumba with Anna and Chelsie in Ballroom With A Twist.
Suzanne: My favorite DWTS performance would have to be with Chelsie. The Rumba to Chasing Pavements. My favorite non-DWTS performance is the guitar Rumba with Anna to "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow' that he does in BWAT.
You’ve both seen Dmitry perform a number of times. Which one did you enjoy most and why?
Maria: Thats a hard one since I love all his performances but I'll say the first time seeing him in San Francisco and him saying, "Maria, get up here!" during audience participation.
Suzanne: My most enjoyable performance is a no-brainer for me! Gotta be New Hope the Saturday November 8 evening show. He sang Happy Birthday to me. I will never, ever forget that moment.
What is one dance you would most like to see him dance live?
Maria: I love his Rumbas but I'd love to see a Jive since we hardly ever see him perform that.
Suzanne: I'd like to see him perform a Samba or Salsa, only because he doesn't perform either one that much live.
If you could pick any one song for a Dmitry performance, what would it be?
Maria: "Uptown Funk"
Suzanne: If I could pick any song for Dmitry to perform to, I'd have to go with "Old Time Rock And Roll" by Bob Seger. That's my all time favorite song and he could re-create the Risky Business scene dancing in his undies - lol.
What do you see as his strengths?
Maria: I think he's very patient when it comes to teaching and his sense of humor that people don't get to see.
Suzanne: I think Dmitry's strengths are that he is very patient as a teacher and I love when we get video of him practicing his Wing Chun (a form of martial arts) because then we see him as a student. He also knows exactly what to say when people throw crazy questions at him like when we were at the BWAT and the guy asked "Dmitry, why are you still dressed?" I turned bright red and blushed but not him!
Who are your favorite dancers not named Dmitry Chaplin?
Maria: Tristan, Cheryl, Karina , Anna and I love all the BWAT dancers. They are always so nice and always give their time to us.
Suzanne: My favorite DWTS dancers are Tristan MacManus, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten (Troupe), Anna Trebunskaya, Chelsie Hightower, Cheryl Burke, and Karina Smirnoff. From BWAT: Allen Genkin, Tony Pututau, CJ Bair, Legacy, Serge Onik, Armen Way, Alla Kocherga, Pat Kaniowski, Jenya Shatilova, Magda Fialek, and Kiki Nyemchek. Okay I LOVE all of the BWAT dancers and with them always rotating dancers we always see our favorites.