Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) Season 8 premiered in the USA on March 9 2009 with 13 celebrity contestants taking part. Two of the original 13 contestants namely, Jewel and Nancy O' Dell had to sit it out due to injuries sustained during pre-show dance rehearsals. Holly Madison, former Playboy model and ex-girlfriend of Hugh Hefner, and who is now being seen on The Girls Next Door replaced singer Jewel who broke both her tibias (shin bones). Madison who admitted she did not really have any dance experience, performed the cha cha cha with her partner Dmitry Chaplin and scored 18 out of 30 points from the judges.
Melissa Rycroft, a former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader who has a background in ballet stood in for Nancy O' Dell who tore the meniscus in her knees. Rycroft's past dance experience helped her and partner Tony Dovolani earn 23 points for their waltz. Giles Marini who performed the cha cha cha with Cheryl Burke scored 24 points to become the top dancer in round 1. Steve Wozniak who did the same dance with Karina Smirnoff was at the bottom of the list with 13 points. Each week, the contestants had to perform one of two dances chosen for the show. For the first week, it was the cha cha cha or the waltz. For the second, it was the salsa or the quickstep.
Injury seems to have hit many contestants in this and previous seasons of Dancing With The Stars. For this season, Gilles Marini suffered tendonitis in the shoulders whilst Steve Wozniak sprained his foot during rehearsals. Both have however chosen to continue dancing in the competition. Steve-O is considering pulling out from the competition due to a back injury sustained while practising the salsa. How on earth did Jewel fracture both her shin bones? What dance figure was she practising when she was injured? Winning the DWTS crown may be prestigious, but do the contestants really have to go for broke? (Pardon the pun!)
Those social dancers out there or those who are contemplating taking up dancing as a pastime are well advised to know their own fitness level. If you intend to take up "strenuous" dances like pole dance or breakdance and if you have not been exercising for quite some time, it is advisable to do a medical check up before signing up at a dance studio. Forget about the Quickstep Scatter Chasses or the Vienesse Waltz Fleckerls if you find yourself breathless or feeling dizzy. These figures are not for the beginners or the not-so-fit. Dance some of the basic or simple figures instead. Or maybe take up line dancing. Happy Dancing!
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