Monday, March 5, 2012 at 2:57PM

      On Saturday, March 3rd, afternoon "DWTS" celebrity contestant Gladys Knight and her professional partner Tristan MacManus came to Dr. Dance Studio in Birmingham, AL to practice their dance routine for the season premier show, which will be shown on Monday, March 19th on the ABC Network.

      Tristan arrived with the crew at about 1:30pm, which gave us a chance to chat with him. This is his second season on "DWTS". Last season he danced with Nancy Grace. He had previously retired from competition dancing 12 years ago to play "football" (soccer), but eventually returned to dancing. He was in the cast of "Dirty Dancing" in London and then did two tours with "Burn The Floor" before joining the cast of "DWTS".

      Miss Knight arrived about 40 minutes later. Gladys Knight is of course one of the greatest R&B singers of all time. Having had such mega-hits as "Midnight Train To Georgia" and " If I Were Your Woman". She had given a show in Austin, TX on Friday night and was performing in Anniston, AL on Saturday night and stopped in Birmingham, AL to practice in between.

      Gladys and Tristan were both extremely personable and gracious toward us and allowed us to watch the practice, which lasted until about 4:00pm. Tristan had most of the choreography done, but was waiting for the final music edit to complete it. They had had only three and a half hours practice over the two peceding days, but worked very hard during this practice and were eventually able to dance all the way through the material with the music.

      We were amazed at the amount of progress Gladys had made in such a short time. You would expect her to have good timing, but she dazzled us with her ability to use her body. We anticipate a terrific first night performance that will give Gladys and Tristan a good leg up for the start of the competition. At the end of the practice Tristan showed Gladys an autographed picture we had from when Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough had practiced one Friday night in 2007 at our studio and had gone on to win that season. Tristan said,"There's your omen." Wouldn't that be terrific!

      Make sure to watch the premiere. You may see some filmed sequences at Dr. Dance.

Update on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 5:32PM by Registered CommenterKim

      Last night, Monday, March 19, was the premier of the new season of "DWTS".In the segment

preceding their cha cha, there was a shot of Gladys and Tristan practicing at Dr. Dance. The shot

was toward the front windows and you could see the musical notes above the windows. As we had

predicted, Gladys did very well. She really used her body. We wish her all the best.


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