By Caroline Fontein
Fans of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” have a friend in Vegas. For a limited time the Entertainment Capital of the World is home to a live version of the show. Featuring dances from past seasons, new routines and DWTS alumni from previous shows, “Dancing with the Stars: Live in Las Vegas” at the Tropicana is everything fans love about the show presented with a whole lot of Vegas glitz.
“When you think of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ it needs to be in Las Vegas. The glittery costumes, the glamour, the fun, the family it brings a completely different show to Las Vegas,” said Kyle Massey, 20, who finished second along with his partner Lacey Schwimmer on the hit ABC TV show. Both of them are now part of the Vegas cast.
From the days of Donn Arden’s showgirls and boys who started performing at Wilbur Clark’s Desert Inn in 1950 to modern acts like the Jabbawockeez who currently headline on the Las Vegas Strip, the city has always been home to shows with performers who know how to move.
Over the years dance hasn’t always been at the heart of every production on the Strip, but these days there’s a renewed emphasis on shows with fancy footwork.
Part of that change is due to the success of TV shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” Now things have come full circle, with “Dancing with the Stars” having its own production in Vegas. With glamorous costumes, themed sets and other exciting production elements, the 80-minute revue is a return to the type of shows that made Vegas what is it today, the Entertainment Capital of the World.
In addition to Massey and Schwimmer, Joey Fatone, Sabrina Bryan, Tia Carrere and Dmitry Chaplin are among the stars and professionals from past seasons now showing off their moves in the Vegas production. The show also features a troupe of male and female professional dancers.
To top it off, fashion star and former contestant Carson Kressley hosts the show. His sassy personality and humorous methods for entering the stage add comic relief to the high-energy revue. At one point in the show he enters suspended from the ceiling by a harness. Holding a piece of white, wispy fabric, Kressley performs what he refers to as his “Cirque du so-gay” routine. There’s just no telling what hilarious thing he’ll do next.
But this is Vegas, the show has plenty of other surprises. The routines in the live show feature different styles of dance just like what people are used to seeing on TV. However, in Vegas the performers aren’t being judged. They don’t need to adhere to the same guidelines they had for TV, meaning more outrageous moves, lifts and riveting routines. Their only priority is cutting loose and having a good time dancing for the crowd.
“You can get a gist of what it’s going to be from what we did on the TV show, but what it is now is completely different. It’s in your face, it’s live, it’s hip, it’s fun, it’s cool and it never stops. Like, literally it doesn’t stop for 80 minutes,” said Massey.
Massey started his career in the entertainment industry when he was just 8 years old as a character on the Disney Channel sitcom “That’s So Raven.” Afterwards, he starred in a spin-off of the show called “Cory in the House.” He currently acts as the voice of Milo in the Disney animated series “Fish Hooks.” He and his brother also have a record label where they’re working with artists and creating music of their own. Massey decided to do “Dancing with the Stars” because it was one aspect of entertainment he’d never done before.
“When the show came on, I kind of just laughed at the thought of me even being a part of it, but now that I’m on it, it’s different,” said Massey.
Training for the TV show consisted of about five to six hours of rehearsals a day, seven days a week, for 15 weeks, but the hard work paid off. Massey came in second on the show and earned a spot as part of the Vegas cast, an opportunity he’s honored to have.
“I can’t even believe that they even thought about me. So I was extremely ecstatic. I’ve always wanted to do a show in Vegas and perform in Vegas so I can check this off my bucket list,” said Massey.
The budding star isn’t even old enough to drink yet, and he’s already checking things off his bucket list. He’ll be 21 in August. For him, performing in Vegas isn’t just a chance to have fun and put on a good show for fans. He also sees this as an opportunity to add to the city’s tradition of offering incredible entertainment. ”Dancing with the Stars: Live in Vegas” isn’t just another TV show turned stage show gimmick. It’s a return to the type of productions that put Vegas entertainment on the map.
“I feel like we’re writing history right now,” said Massey. “We walk downstairs in our dressing rooms and we see Gladys Knight’s picture and Wayne Newton’s photo and Joan Rivers and everyone that’s performed on our stage, Frank Sinatra. So it’s kind of like, we’re like that, with this era.”