You might say Alfonso Ribeiro took a very long path to the mirrorball trophy on “Dancing with the Stars.” While some of the contestants had a great deal of prior dance experience, Ribeiro’s experience started and ended as the 12-year-old star of “The Tap Dance Kid” on Broadway and he’s quick to point out how long ago that was. According to him, the hard work you saw him do on the show was really the first time he’d focused on dance in years.
“When I learned how to do ‘Tap Dance Kid,’ at the end of the day, they taught me to tap dance to do the show, which was not a long period of time that they taught me,” he says.
Though he admits he continued to work on tap a bit throughout the years, the dances he learned for the show were “pretty foreign,” which was part of the appeal.
“Just learning how to do it was pretty cool,” says Ribeiro.
If you thought Ribeiro looked unusually confident out there for someone who wasn’t a trained dancer, that’s no accident. “At 43, you’ve gone on stage many times,” he points out. “I’ve always said, ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ And the worst that can happen is you mess up, right? So, all right, I’ve messed up in my life before, not afraid of doing it again, so all I gotta do is go out and do the best I can, and whatever would happen, would happen.”
Asked if any of this was making him yearn to hit the stage again after years of TV work, he says, “That’s why I’m doing the tour. See what it’s like actually out on that stage, night in, night out, having fun, hosting, talking with the audience. I plan on making sure it’s going to be a fun time. We’ll see where the road takes me.”
Ribeiro and partner Witney Carson were both announced as participants in the “Dancing with the Stars Live!” tour, so he’s been hard at work rehearsing his dances and his stage patter.
If you’re wondering what to expect on the tour, Ribeiro assures us there will be plenty of things that fans will appreciate: “We’re going to do the ones that people already love.”
Sadly, this won’t include his ziplining turn, since that might be hard to coordinate at each new venue, but it will include some hosting responsibilities for him. “I’m working on what I want to go out there and say,” he says.
And if you thought he might have pumped pal Joey Fatone for advice for the big competition, he says that can be tough: “The hard part is you never really see what everyone’s going through. You just see the performance.”
That said, he did take a little something from Fatone’s experience. “I loved Joey and loved the way he performed every week and had so much fun on the show. If anything, I modeled just having fun and just really enjoying each dance, each week.”
Seems like it worked.
This isn’t Ribeiro’s first brush with reality show victory. A few years ago, he won a singing competition called “Celebrity Duets,” but he says the win means more for this show. “Singing’s just not as difficult on your body and your mind. You don’t have to physically get over anything. You just have to go up there and learn a song and sing it the best you can. So it was pretty cool to win that one, but this one feels like it was a much harder road.” But where do you keep a mirrorball trophy once you win it? “It’s on a mantle at the house. Kind of with a light shining right on it. It looks really cool,” Ribeiro promises. “It’s right in the main section, so if anybody comes over, they can’t help but see it.”
To see Ribeiro and Carson on tour, head to livenation.com to see if they’re coming to a city near you.