Technically, we are rooting for Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett on this season of Dancing With the Stars, what with her being our E! pal and colleague and all, but we just chatted up supermodel, philanthropist and tsunami survivor Petra Nemcova and her new partner Dmitry Chaplin, and we kinda fell in love. The Czech-born model and Russian-American pro dancer are an adorable, giggly pair and you can't help but adore their wholesome enthusiasm for rehearsal and refining Petra's technique. As it happens, being a model comes with some benefits (being beautiful and skinny, etc.) but Petra also revealed that her body is seriously struggling with the shift from the catwalk to the dancefloor:
Petra says, "As a model, you put your shoulder back and you go with your legs forward, and with dancing you have to go shoulders forward…I'm always arched so I have to really really think about putting my tailbone under and being straight." Dmitry, who is giving Petra a three-week crash course in all things dance said he saw a lot of problems with Petra's posture as soon as they met: "[I said] I'm just going to teach you how to walk…Just give me the hand: This is how we walk…She's back-weighted when she walks…the heel goes first and then the toe, and the hips are very loose, and that's how they walk on the [catwalk] but ballroom dancing is everything is forward, so [she's] kind of back to front."
In addition to posture and simple walking, Dmitry is also honing in on the little details that make a dancer great, telling us: "She never had dance experience before, so we had to start with things like 'how do you hold your pinkie?' "
The twosome also shared some of their strategy for optimizing their dances for the best scores from the judges. Dmitry says, "[A] definite strength is her height. Well, it plays both ways, it can be advantage or disadvantage…[Girls can] be afraid to be stretching and be taller…but like for example for ballroom dancing, when you're in closed hold especially, we can generate a lot of power from moving, and we can cover the floor in two steps, that's amazing. [It's] good for [impressing judge] Len [Goodman] actually, because he's English, and he likes the technical aspects so if we do a nice simple walk, a nicely flowing walk, he'll be like 'great score.' "
We also asked about what their costume plans are for the first two dances, and Petra told us, "For the first dance because it's a foxtrot, I think it will be something more elegant but connected to the modern days…well, for the second dance, there will be a little bit more of a reveal, since it's one of the Latin dances…Second dance, there will be more skin, let's say that."
So how does Stars veteran Dmitry rate Petra's chances? Says the So You Think You Can Dance season-two contestant, "I always say that shows like Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance are not dance contests. Dancing is the language we speak, we communicate with dancing, but it's about showing the people who you are and if they appreciate it, they going to support you and support you all the way…And of course dancing part has to be there—you can't just rely on people's vote, but I think when people are going to get to know Petra they're going to fall in love with her. She's so sweet, so humble."
We agree! Check out the clips above and see for yourself, and then tell us in the comments which of this season's DWTS dance teams is your fave!