Toni dances up a storm
Toni Pearen is finally doing what she loves best, writes Siobhan Duck
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.’’