Jane Seymour Joins Dancing with the Stars

Renowned actress, producer, designer, and philanthropist Jane Seymour will take to a stage of a different sort next week when she debuts Monday night (9/24) as a competitor on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars."  She’s very excited about it, for a lot of reasons. 

Jane Seymour is excited about costumes for her Dancing with the Stars appearances

'Dancing with the Stars' has always been our favorite TV show," Seymour told me in a telephone interview, "but television has always been a sort of ‘guilty pleasure’ for us at home."  She explained that when all homework and music practice, etc., was completed, she, her husband (producer James Keach), and the boys would sit down together as a family to watch “Dancing.”

When the offer came to compete for and appear on the show, it came unexpectedly, and Seymour was a bit taken aback.  She hesitated because she was in the midst of handling a family health crisis:  her mother, in England, had just suffered a very severe stroke resulting in loss of speech.  She also vacillated due to her age.

“I am by far the oldest female on the show of all time,” Seymour wisecracked.  “And some of the competitors are professional dancers- and most of them are one-third my age, too!” 

This season's Dancing with the Star's competitors

While being 56 might earn her that "oldest" distinction at face, what she might be imagined to lack in supposed “youth” she more than makes up for in motivation and drive.  Although she was a student of ballet as a child, Seymour’s passion for dancing was never permitted to come to fruition due to constant injuries.  It occurred to her that perhaps it was time to “dream the dream” again.

“I’ve danced in the chorus of Nutcracker and things like that," Seymour shared.  "At age sixteen, though, I spent more time in the hospital than I care to mention.  It was always my dream (to dance) but I was never able to do it.”

Seymour's husband's encouragement of the adventure buoyed her, but it became crystal clear when she received the "nod" from her mother.

'Dancing with the Stars' is also my mother’s favorite show,” she told me.  “When my sister phoned and told me that my mother attempted to talk very animatedly- and managed to say one word, “yes!”- when told I’d been asked to do the show, then I knew I should do it.”

Jane Seymour with Dancing with the Stars dance partner, Tony Dovolani

Training for Dancing with the Stars is no small thing- for a contestant of any age and with any "basic" life challenge.  Seymour, however, always considerably active and fit- at every age- also had sports injuries- knees and spine- to contend with, including recent spinal disc surgery.  She did, however, rise to the challenge with her usual grace and aplomb and, thanks to support from her partner contestant, dance champion Tony Dovolani, she’s made great strides in her personal fitness while also gaining a strong position as a dance competitor. 

“(Tony’s) an incredible teacher and a great choreographer,” Seymour told me. “I think he’s the toughest of all coaches.  He really cares, and he makes me want to work hard.  Without trying to, I’ve lost 14 pounds, and I’m in better shape than I was when I was 16.  I totally credit Tony with that.”

Even with all that training and great support, super star Jane Seymour remains human. 

 “I’m terrified about the whole thing!  I’m at a ‘certain age’ where one doesn’t remember if one’s brushed one’s teeth,” she joked.  “Some days I just look at Tony and say ‘everything you just told me went in one ear and out the other, and I’m in a fog!”

She does, however, remain the optimist.  “If I do well,” she said, “that’s great!  If I just do my best, that’s also great.”

Jane Seymour's favorite dance?  The fox trot- that will be the first dance number aired.  "It’s so Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire,” she said.  “We’ve only worked on two dances, so far,” she added.  “I can’t wait for the show to air, and I hope to get voted to stay on so I can learn the next dances.”

Jane Semour's greatest "Dancing with the Stars" challenge?  “Getting my hips to move,” she laughed.  “They’re just so ‘British.’  And I also have troubles with shaking my upper body.  Everybody else in the household can do it, but when I try to do it my whole body just moves.”

Jane Seymour kicks up her heels with Dancing with the Stars dance partner, Tony Dovolani

Per her usual style of embracing experiences fully- and perhaps, to attempt to replicate what she called “Tony’s wiggly hips,” Seymour took it upon herself to augment Tony’s training with her own rigorous conditioning workouts.  “The rules of the competition include not being allowed to take any special (outside) dance training,” she said.  “But I took Pilates and gyrotonics to strengthen my core.”  She worked hard at stabilizing her back- she had to, she said, or “else.” 

“There are parts of my back that, if I weren’t careful, would not be very happy,” she added.  “But in three weeks, I’ve been able to stabilize muscles in my back that I haven’t been able to before.” 

Known for her unique and classic style on the red carpet, Seymour is thrilled about the costumes for the dance numbers on the upcoming show.  “As a designer, I love the fact that I’m able to have input with the (wardrobe designers),” she told me.  “I’m looking forward to some really classy, special gowns!” 

The beautiful charmer is more than glad she said “yes” to “Dancing with the Stars”- and to dance- and she extols the benefits of dance to everyone.

“I’m so glad I got the opportunity to let the ‘little girl’ inside of me dance,” she said enthusiastically.   “Dancing is so great spiritually, mentally, and physically.  I hope that my joy will rub off on the American public!”

Cheer Jane on next Monday night, September 24, at 8:00 p.m. when Dancing with the Stars starts its new season on ABC (Channel 7).

Show judges agreeing (uncharacteristically) with a very positive vote- a portent for Jane Seymour?

Text copyright M. D. Caprario

Photos courtesy of ABC/Dancing with the Stars and used with permission and thanks



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