A Special Day With Tony, Maks and Val

Today’s guest post comes from Francesca Harvey, a student who came to NYC recently with Live! Starring…You!—a pop-culture media organization that trains teen reporters to cover people in the spotlight—for National Entrepreneurship Week.

Tony Dovolani and brothers Maksim and Val Chmerkovskiy have been famous in the ballroom world for a long time. It’s only in recent years that the trio—and several other ballroom champions—have become Hollywood celebrities.

That’s what appearing on “Dancing with the Stars” will do for you.

For Tony, Maks and Val, their “DWTS” fame has also drawn attention to their business. With three other business partners, they own four Dance With Me studios: one in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, and others in Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Now, they want to expand the studio across the country.

After all, there seems to be a need.

“One of the things we run into as we travel across the country is everybody is asking us for lessons,” Tony told me during a recent interview at the SoHo studio.

Francesca with Tony, Maks and Val. Not a bad place to be!

Francesca with Tony, Maks and Val. Not a bad place to be! (Photo by Tim O’Shei)

The guys have developed a teaching system that blends their individual approaches and styles. They instruct their own teachers in that system so all their students are learning the same way.

“Now, all of our teachers believe in the same system,” Tony said. “They’re taught by us. If you walk into our studio, you’re getting a combination of Tony, Maks and Val.”

Our interview also included a dance lesson with Val! We thought it was pretty cool that we got to dance with him one week before he was paired with “Shake It Up” star Zendaya Coleman for the next season of “DWTS.” (Tony is paired with Wynonna Judd, while Maks isn’t participating in the next season.)

Learning how to groove with Val!

Learning how to groove with Val! (Photo by Tim O’Shei)

If you want to find out how we fared, click here to read our story and watch the video on the Live! Starring … You! site.

But ask Tony, and he’ll tell you they can turn anyone into a dancer!

“We’ve developed a system where there’s not one person we can’t teach,” he said. “If you can walk, we can teach you how to dance.”

Francesca Harvey is the student editor of LiveStarringYou.com and a junior at Mount St. Mary Academy in Buffalo, NY.

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