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'Dancing with the Stars' Louis van Amstel offers #ProjectAdam dance tips

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  January 30, 2013 03:36 PM

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Since you all know my motto is "go big or go home," I decided for this week's #ProjectAdam task (make the boys dance!) I should seek expert advice.

Louis178.jpgEnter Louis van Amstel. That's right, folks. I hauled in the big guns to consult for this round of #ProjectAdam training. Van Amstel, a dancer and choreographer and ballroom dance champion, is best known for his nine bouts with the ABC dance competition show “Dancing with the Stars.” He also just recently launched a series of dance fitness DVDs called “LaBlast," making him the perfect person to consult with on my attempts to make the Adams more graceful. He's also in Belmont this weekend giving a LaBlast master class (more details on that below).

I spoke with van Amstel by phone earlier this week. Here's my Q&A with him:
Q: On "Dancing with the Stars," we've watched you transform people who know nothing about dance season after season. Any advice for me on how can I whip these boys into shape?
A. The biggest thing they need to do is cardio. They need to do it at least four times a week. The best thing, and quickest thing for getting in shape is to have a plan, if you have a plan then you've got half the job done already. If you go day by day it's not going to work, so you have to push them to start with that at least. Next, you have to figure out what are you going to fill the plan in with? Do they like to dance? If they do, do that. If they like the treadmill or rowing, do that. Another key is interval training, because with intervals you are still burning calories long after your workout. What happens with intervals is that your heart rate is adjusting every few minutes because you are constantly changing it up and throwing everything off -- almost like you're drunk. Because of that it takes a long time for your heart rate to "sober up" afterwards. So always have them change it up.

Q. What’s the easiest dance for a beginner to learn? What's the hardest?

In my LaBlast program I think it's disco, because if you look at it as a dance, it’s about having fun, it feels almost goofy, and I feel less serious teaching it. Then Salsa. Salsa is pretty easy because of simple rhythm, but I really think that any dance is as easy or hard as you want it to be. In term of hardest dances, weil, I would say jive, but what happens with my classes is that in the end, students have no time to think about the steps they are doing and just give up and don't over-think it and find it's much easier to do than they thought. It's very interesting how the mind works that way.

Q. What is one of the most important things I should help the boys with when it comes to learning a new, unfamiliar skill, such as dancing?
A. I don’t believe in klutzy, clumsy, and uncoordinated. If you think that of yourself, it's my job to get you out of your head. So, I should not make it too hard, or give you too much information to start. I always just tell people to move around, and I am very careful to tell people to just trust their body -- let your body do the work, your body is the new tool: Not your mind. After a while they slowly start moving their bodies, and realize they aren’t thinking too much. The body has it’s own intellect. The brain is storage place, yes, the intellect is stored in there, but if you just listen to your body, let your body move and often times the people who do are the ones who will improve their body condition. It happened with Kelly (Osborne). We didn’t diet or stop eating, but instead became aware of the food you are taking in. Kelly, three years later, has kept it up and listens to her body and is an independent, amazing woman.

Van Amstel will be teaching his LaBlast Master Class this Saturday, Feb. 2, at Avalon Dance & Fitness (345 Trapelo Road, Belmont, Mass.) from 5:30pm-6:30 p.m. The class is $20.00 per person. To sign up for the class, call or email Avalon Dance & Fitness (, (617) 484-3900.


During the past few weeks, it seems *somebody* (I'm looking at you, Adam12) has been slacking a bit on the training front.

I, of course, encouraged Adam12 to attend the class, especially when I found out that he -- in an effort to be more active & step up his #ProjectAdam training -- is taking part in "Dancing with the Celebrities," a fundraiser for Autism Housing Pathways , an organization that helps Massachusetts families create self-directed housing for their adult children with autism.

Adam12 is one of six celebrities that has been paired with a dance instructor to learn a routine, "Dancing with the Stars"-style. Adam12 & his partner Jillian Smith from A Waltz To Remember are learning a cha-cha. There are rumors they'll be performing their cha-cha to "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer and that he will don MC Hammer pants for the routine.

Of course, you can find out if the rumors are true by attending the fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the St. Mary's Church Parish Hall in Winchester. Get tickets and info here.

What should I make the Adams try next week? Aren't they graceful?

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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