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Interview with Show's Creator

Aida Moreno produced Championship Ballroom Dancing for over 20 years. Now in its second season, America's Ballroom Challenge takes competitive ballroom to the next level. We sat down with Ms. Moreno to talk about this year's program.

What's new this year on America's Ballroom Challenge?

The show was shot in High Definition, and the results are spectacular. We've captured the dancing in amazing detail. Also, we've expanded to five hours, giving us a wonderful opportunity to explore each of the four major dance categories in more depth.

How will you do that?

By dedicating a full hour to each dance style — American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Standard, and International Latin. Each week features the final round of professional competition, and each week a champion gets named. On the fifth week, those champions will compete across dance styles to see who will be named "America's Best."

What else can we expect?

Having more time means we're able to go behind the scenes. In addition to the competition, viewers will get a chance to see the bigger picture of the whole event.

How big is it?

Oh, it's huge. Thousands of dancers participate in this competition every year. We take you beyond the dance floor to meet some of the people who work alongside the dancers, like hair and make-up artists, folks who sell costumes and accessories, even music vendors. We also talk with the judges to get a sense of what they're looking for.

Will there be any exhibitions this year?

We've got a variety of dancers from cabaret and Pro-Am to youth and formation teams performing all sorts of exciting routines. I like to focus on kids whenever I can. The youth champions we feature this year will surely be competing in the professional finals in the future.

Both Marilu Henner and Tony Meredith, are back this year. How has working with them been?

Just terrific. Tony's a former champion and shares so much insight into what it is we're seeing in these dances. And Marilu's a dancer in her own right. She's been dancing since she was a kid and has starred on Broadway several times. As they work together, their chemistry and sense of fun continues to grow. They love coming to Ohio with us and being part of our crazy team for an intense 48 hours.

You shot this whole thing in two days? How?

By having the best production staff and crew in television. Since we're recording a live competition, its needs must supersede everything else. I've worked with most of this crew for over two decades. They know how to get in and get it done without interfering with the integrity of the competition.

Read more to learn how ballroom on PBS got started, how it has changed, and what keeps Aida Moreno going.

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When to Watch

America's Ballroom Challenge fourth season premieres on:
February 25, 2009
Check your local listings

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