For more than 10 years and a whopping 25 seasons, a seemingly endless parade of famous (and not-so-famous) faces have tangoed their way across ABC's “Dancing with the Stars” stage.
And for the last 12 seasons, professional dancer and coach Peta Murgatroyd has danced right along with them, winning two seasons of the reality competition with celebrity partners Donald Driver, former Green Bay Packer, and Nyle DiMarco, a model who was the first deaf winner of "America's Next Top Model."
Murgatroyd is a new mom; she had a son, Shai, last year with husband and “Dancing with the Stars” co-star Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Together they're hitting the road for “Maks, Val and Peta: Live on Tour: Confidential,” with Chmerkovskiy's brother, Val, who also is a professional dancer on "Dancing With the Stars." The show comes to the Durham Performing Arts Center March 22.
We recently caught up with Murgatroyd to talk dancing, motherhood and celebrities.
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Q: What’s it like taking this show on the road with your family?
A: This is going to be a little different with a 14-month-old, because we have to keep him to his schedule. I’s not just about us anymore. But it’s going to be amazing with my husband and brother-in-law. We just love working together — we’re a good team and we complement each other.
Q: How has becoming a mom changed you as a dancer?
A: It has added another level of emotion, another level of empathy, another level of love I can share when I dance with someone. I think it definitely has made me a better dancer and a better teacher — I’m more empathetic.
Q: Why do you think “Dancing with the Stars” is such an enduring show?
A: I think it’s because dancing, number one, just makes people happy. And when people watch “Dancing with the Stars,” they love the journey the celebrity goes through — the trials and tribulations. Many of these celebrities feel like they get their mojo back, and I think audiences love to see a comeback story and love to see people thrive and regain their confidence.
Q: Which star was your favorite to watch learn and grow?
A: There have been a few controversial stars we’ve had, like Chaz Bono. To see him come out of his shell, and to have the first trans person come on the show — it was a great thing to have people have their eyes opened.
Q: You personally danced — and won — with actor Nyle DiMarco, who is deaf. What did that experience teach you?
A: It was such a challenge for me having someone who was 100 percent deaf. It changed me as a teacher, and it made me a better person to let him show and tell his story to prove that deaf people can dance.
Q: You’ve won the show twice. What does it mean to you to earn first place?
A: I don’t think people know what it really takes to prepare for our performances because they get a glimpse of what happens throughout our week. They get a minute-and-30-second package of the eight hours a day, every day, of training we go through in the week.
The show absolutely consumes our lives when we’re on it because we’re thinking about choreography and set design, and on top of that, we’re with our partners making sure they’re OK, being their best friend. So when you do win, it’s an incredible feeling. It’s blood, sweat and tears when you hold that trophy.
Q: Who would be your dream celebrity partner?
A: John Stamos. I met him recently, and he’s a really nice guy, and he’s obviously a performer and looks like he’s in shape. I mean, he’s Uncle Jesse (from "Full House.") I think people would fall in love with him.
What: Maks, Val and Peta: Live on Tour: Confidential
When: 7:30 p.m. March 22
Where: Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham
Info: dpacnc.com, ticketmaster.com