'Dancing With the Stars': Tony Dovolani admires Audrina Patridge's work ethic

audrina-patridge-tony-dovolani-dwts-11-rehearsals.jpgIf you're on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," you don't get Sunday off. especially when you're Audrina Patridge, and Monday night means you have to perform the intricate and difficult quickstep in front of the TV audience and the show's judges.

Last night, the former star of "The Hills" logged into Twitter and tweeted, " Icing my feet!!! Lol the quickstep is tons of fun. I'm whipping my body into a dancers body!"

"Trust me," says her professional partner, Tony Dovolani, calling in right after orchestra rehearsals this morning (Sept. 27), "I was icing my feet, too. We've been working so hard, we're sore everywhere. Last night, we ended up with camera blocking, which means the director choreographs the cameras to your dance.

"Today, we start in the morning, and we go and check out for the first time what the orchestra sounds like doing the song. We dance to the orchestra and the cameras, to make sure everything is sewn up.

"Then from there, Audrina goes into hair and makeup, and pretty much it's a whole-day process for all the girls. Myself, I get on the computer. I start choreographing the following dance, if they give me a hint at what it is. Basically, it never stops. This is a seven-day-a-week job."

Asked if he needs to find time to do the apparently obligatory spray-tanning, Dovolani, who was born in the former Yugoslavia (now Kosovo), says, "I don't do spray tan. I go tanning. I either go outside or, if I go to a tanning bed, I'll probably do six, seven minutes once a week. That's it. I have olive skin, so I tan pretty quickly."

Obviously, the primary job of the pro dancers is to coach their celebrities in dance technique, but often as not, the job entails emotional and psychological support as well.

"We have such an interesting bond," says Dovolani of Patridge. "I spent an hour with her just sitting and focusing and talking about different parts of the routine. It's a team effort. I truly feel like Audrina and I have such a strong team. All she has to rely on is me, and I rely on her.

"Yesterday, we were doing camera blocking, and as we walked in -- all the lights and everything else can really throw you off. She looked at me, and I said, 'The only consistent part of this is going to be you and me. That's the only thing that we are going to be familiar with. Don't pay attention to anything else other than you and me.

"That's exactly how it works."

Dovolani has also come to admire Patridge's work ethic.

"The way she works," he says, "Audrina's got a lot of strength. Her attitude is perfect for this. She is not taking this opportunity for granted. She is really going for it. The way she works, how driven she is. I see the look in her eye, and I see that she is really determined to do well -- and not just for herself.

"She told me the other day, 'I really want this for you also. I know this is about the stars, but I want this for you. I see how hard you work and what a great coach you are. I want this for you.' I was, like, 'Wow.' It's quite nice to hear somebody actually care that way.'"

Patridge has surprised Dovolani in other ways.

"I thought she was this Hollywood chick," he says. "She is so not that. She is the girl next door. Her favorite pastime is hanging out with her family.

"To me, it's so amazing to see what you think of a person, then you get to meet them, and you're like, 'Wait a second, you're nothing like what I thought you'd be.'"

Along with hard work and discipline, Dovolani also relies on a little pre-dance ritual.

"I always blow a kiss to God," he says, "and I always eat strawberries before every performance. If you eat something sweet, you might have a sweet performance."

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Photo credit: ABC

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