Tangos, tiaras and tears: Dance stars ready to do battle
Take these broken wings, and learn to fly again...
THE search for dancing stardom is proving a painful experience for the contestants on the reborn Dancing with the Stars.
A visit to the set has revealed that a show billed as glitz, glam, twirls and sequins has already received its fair share of splats, tears and rolled ankles even before tonight’s launch.
Suzy Cato says the long hours have taken their toll.
‘‘It has been hard. And, I sleep. Man, I hit the pillow and bam! I’m out,’’ she says.
But the toughest part has been missing her husband. ‘‘I’ve been with my husband for 30-odd years and then suddenly, ‘ooh, there’s another man in my arms’. It’s been not so much confrontational, but it is something to get used to.’’
Writer Gilda Kirkpatrick, of Real Housewives of Auckland fame, is also feeling the heat. With two children under five at home and a job as well, she hasn’t much time for sleep – or this, dancing thing. Her days start pre-dawn, when her youngest decides it’s time to wake up, and they end well after 8pm when she finally heads home after a day filled with work and training.
‘‘It’s hard, I’m not competitive but I don’t like losing. Imagine that, ‘you suck go home’. Oh, that would be so embarrassing. My poor kids, thinking ‘my mum’s a loser!’ she says.
‘‘I’ll probably burn my dancing shoes after this. But, I’ve made a commitment so I’m going to do my best to deliver.’’
The Bachelor star and fitness model Naz Khanjani is apparently racking up the studio time and is a frontrunner in this dancepopularity contest.
Although former Shortland Street star Ruakere points out with glee that this show is ‘‘not like Survivor’’, it does require that one star leave with their partner each week. Perhaps harsher, though, is that the public are the judge and jury. It’s a popularity contest, meets a borderline amateur dance event. And so, each contestant must get up to speed, fast, to be able to swing themselves to a different beat each week in order to keep relevant.
Their fast work preshow has already lead to some injuries, as Ruakere notes: ‘‘I’ve had two visits to the osteo, because I’ve done something to my left foot and got a niggling right knee.’’
Other, male contestants, have reportedly suffered severe and sensitive knocks.
Kirkpatrick claims she developed something akin to ‘‘elephantiasis’’.
It’s a brutal game. In the days prior to their debut, Ruakere had a busy schedule of radio interviews, rehearsals and dress fittings.
And it’s clear that the game – the search for votes – has already begun.
Which makes you wonder, how well will politicians Marama Fox and David Seymour do? Seymour, for one, has only been spotted a few times actually practising, but the two of them know at least a few things about votes.
Perhaps, Ruakere says, ‘‘Dark horse Dave’’ will storm to victory. IT is the most delicate of operations, a surgery in miniature.
Linda Archer’s patient is a monarch butterfly and it needs a wing transplant. Without the procedure it won’t fly and that means it will perish.
The tools of the trade are tweezers, glue, talcum powder and a very steady hand. The operation is carried out on the dining table of her Levin home.
‘‘To many people it’s just a butterfly, but to me it’s worth trying to save. There’s nothing to lose,’’ said Archer, who learned the transplant technique off the internet.
A butterfly’s wings are like human fingernails: there is no pain when they are cut, she said.
Sometimes part of a donor wing can be used to patch a hole or tear, but today this wing has to come off. Donor wings came from a dead male butterfly found the day before. The butterfly being operated on is a female – a telltale dot on the wings tells you the gender – but as long as Archer can line up the wing-veins, it should work.
Before surgery, Archer feeds the insect honey and water to give it energy. She uses a toothpick to unfurl its proboscis and dips it in the mixture.
‘‘I’m a bit of a sook really, I just think you should help animals where you can.’’
Held in place by a fork-like tool, the butterfly’s damaged wing is cut off, leaving a tiny flap on which to glue the new wing. It’s stressful work; if the glue sticks to a leg or antenna, it’s a sticky ending for the insect.
‘‘Sometimes I do forget to breathe, it’s very delicate.’’
Talcum powder is applied to the wing to cover the glue and,
Suzy Cato and Naz Khanjani are already putting in long hours of practice ahead of tonight’s start of Dancing with the Stars.