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Dancing: Evan Lysacek Is Ready to (Sci-Fi) Rumba

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Craig Sjodin/ABC

Hello everyone! It’s been another busy week for all eight couples left in the competition. I’ve heard that it’s at about this point in season — we’re almost halfway! — that contestants have trouble keeping up their energy. You’d think with the traveling that Anna and I have done the past several weeks for Stars on Ice that we’d feel run down. But It’s actually been the opposite for me because I’m so busy. When I dance in the morning it energizes me and I’m able to sustain that energy level through the skating show at night. I’m so excited to perform every on the ice, and that in turn gives me the energy to go back and start dancing the next day.

This week’s theme is the movies. We’re not required to tell a story from a movie or relate our routine from a movie, we’re just supposed to dance our hearts out to a song from a movie. That’s where things get interesting. Anna and I are doing the rumba this week to a song from a sci-fi action movie. I don’t want to give too many details away, so I’m just going to leave it at that.

The rumba can be a tricky little number to master. It’s requires loose hips and sensual moves. It’s the dance of love, so it can look really cheesy, especially if there’s not a natural connection between the dancers. Anna and I wanted to do something classy and romantic with our rumba. We liked what Pamela and Damian did last week. Their rumba wasn’t sexual — it was tasteful, so we took a note from them when we rehearsed our routine.

This has been the most challenging dance for me so far because the hip action in the rumba is so opposite from what I do on the ice. I love a challenge and I love working hard, so I’ve jumped right in to overcome the obstacle of trying to loosen my hips up. But when Anna and I rehearse on the road, we’re often in hotel ballrooms and banquet meeting rooms. So a lot of times we guess the size of the ballroom on the show and try to choreograph accordingly. We also lack a key training tool when we travel — mirrors. The mirrors in dance studios are there so you can see how your moves look and practice your technique. When Anna and I rehearse she is focusing her attention on not only teaching me the routine, but she is constantly refining my movements, my lines, my form. The woman is amazing.

It’s always interesting coming back to L.A. on Sundays to sort of measure and adjust and see where we stand amongst the group. I hate having to leave town and go on the road, but everyone this season has been great about keeping in touch via Twitter, texting, emails. Back in L.A., we all eat together and get ready for the Monday and Tuesday shows. The time we spend together is so much fun. I know I have said this before, but we all have become very close. I didn’t know that other seasons haven’t been like this until one of the producers said how cool it’s been to have a cast with so much chemistry on and off the show.

Some have asked me if the video packages from rehearsal are accurate. Some of the packages have shown a few of the couples arguing with each other. And yes, that’s all true. The production team is very honest about editing the footage to reflect what really happens in rehearsals. It’s understandable there’s some frustration and tension when you’re trying to learn something brand new within a matter of days, so that you can perform it live on national television in front of, oh, 20 to 25 million viewers. There’s pressure and anxiety and short fuses every now and again. But just like you might fight with your brother or sister, at the end of the day it all gets resolved. It really is like a family dynamic in that respect. And I assure you, when we’re all together we’re all getting along. Each week we cheer each other on because we genuinely do want everyone to do well. And I think our camaraderie has been reflected in the ratings this season.

I hope you’ll fill up a bowl with popcorn and enjoy movie night at the ballroom tonight. But don’t get too comfortable in your easy chair — you need to remember to vote for your favorites after you watch the show! Happy viewing! –Evan LysacekCraig Sjodin/ABC