Toni dances up a storm

Toni Pearen is fi­nally do­ing what she loves best, writes Siob­han Duck

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Your Say -

AF­TER a month danc­ing around in her trackie pants, Toni Pearen was more than ready to wrig­gle into some se­quins and heels.

Pearen (right) says she is both ner­vous and ex­cited about be­ing part of this year’s new-look Danc­ing with the Stars.

She ad­mits she had been asked to com­pete in pre­vi­ous sea­sons but had re­fused be­cause she was host­ing Chan­nel 9’s Aus­tralia’s Fun­ni­est Home Videos.

Hav­ing passed the reins of the show to Shel­ley Craft ear­lier this year, Pearen is now a free agent and fi­nally able to strut her stuff on the Chan­nel 7 dance com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘I’ve wanted to do the show for so many years,’’ she says. ‘‘I love danc­ing — I just love it. ‘‘And I love to watch it too. ‘‘Dance in­spires me and I had heard from a lot of my friends who had al­ready done the show what an amaz­ing, life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence it was for them. I’ve had the call in the past but I had a job at the time so I couldn’t do it.

‘‘This year I could fi­nally say yes. I had no hes­i­ta­tions be­cause I knew that if I didn’t do it this time I would re­gret it.’’

Now that she’s com­mit­ted to the show, Pearen wants to go the dis­tance. And she has the right man to guide her through the gaunt­let of a re­al­ity dance com­pe­ti­tion with part­ner Henry Bya­likov.

Ball­room dancer Bya­likov was a con­tes­tant on the Chan­nel 10 hit se­ries So You Think You Can Dance Aus­tralia.

Pearen says un­der Bya­likov’s tute­lage she has al­ready seen a marked im­prove­ment in her dance steps and is hop­ing to make it through to the fi­nal round.

‘‘If I get to the fi­nals I would be ec­static,’’ she says. ‘‘There’s no point do­ing it if you don’t see your­self go­ing all the way.

‘‘But you can’t con­trol that. What­ever hap­pens will hap­pen. I’m just go­ing to try to en­joy it be­cause you don’t know how long it’ll last.’’

Pearen says she is now to­tally fo­cused on DWTS and has no work lined up once her time on the show has fin­ished.

Af­ter al­most four years host­ing Aus­tralia’s Fun­ni­est Home Videos, Pearen says she is en­joy­ing her new free­dom.

‘‘Do­ing Fun­ni­est Home Videos was what I needed in my life af­ter liv­ing in LA,’’ she says.

‘‘It doesn’t get much more chal­leng­ing than that (looking for work as an ac­tor in Los An­ge­les).

‘‘ Fun­ni­est Home Videos was the job I needed to an­chor me to my new life in Aus­tralia.’’

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