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Anna Trebunskaya is excited to be working with her husband again.
Anna and Jonathan Roberts, who competed together for five years and then went on to star on ABC’s hit TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” are ready to partner up once again in “Champions of the Dance” at the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia tonight through Sunday.
But, Trebunskaya stressed, even though they are in it, this show is about so much more than Jonathan and Anna.
“This show features several other world-class professional ballroom dancers,” Trebunskaya said in a phone interview. “Most of them are currently competing. It’s a great cast and everybody is so excited to do this show.”
After finishing her latest round on “Dancing with the Stars,” where she was paired with celebrity stylist Carson Kressley, Trebunskaya was contacted by the show’s director, Tarliat Tarsinov, to perform in this live show, something she was immediately excited about.
“He was my choreographer for years before I came on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” she said. “He approached Jonathan and me to be in it, and of course we said, ‘yes.’”
“Champions of Dance” opens with an ensemble number and goes on to showcase the talents of professional dance couples who will perform classic ballroom numbers such as tangos, sambas, waltzes, foxtrots, rumbas and jives.
Beautiful costumes and athleticism make this show stand out, Trebunskaya said.
“The dancers get to be free and creative. It’s great. There’s no added pressure here,” she said.
Trebunskaya is originally from Russia. She moved to the U.S. when she was 17 years old as a competitive ballroom dancer. Her first U.S. title was the 1997 Amateur Standard Youth Championship. She went on to become the 2004 USA Rising Star Latin Champion and was ranked sixth in the country and 24th in the world.
She has danced on “Dancing with the Stars” for eight seasons, partnering with football star Jerry Rice, model Albert Reed, actor Steve Guttenberg, football quarterback Kurt Warner, boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard and most recently, Kressley.
“He was amazing, just fabulous,” she said of working with Kressley. “I really had the best time of my life. Dancing didn’t come as easily to him as he would’ve liked but he was an excellent student.”
And working with her husband again — Roberts no longer appears on “Dancing with the Stars” — will be a great experience.
But what’s it like working so closely with your spouse?
“It’s different. It adds a certain amount of stress to your life, but at the same time you know what’s going on in your spouse’s life and Jonathan knows what I’m talking about. He can certainly understand and relate to what I’m going through,” Trebunskaya said.
On the phone, Trebunskaya’s Russian accent is barely noticeable. She credits this to her high school English teacher.
“It’s funny. She kind of messed me up a bit, because she had this beautiful English accent. I can do a great British accent,” Trebunskaya said with a laugh.
Today, this ballroom dancer with the slight British accent, lives in Los Angeles. She hopes to again team up with a celebrity on the next “Dancing with the Stars” but said it really depends on how many professional dancers are needed.
For the show in Philadelphia, Trebunskaya and Roberts will be performing very traditional ballroom dances, she said.
But hopefully, tons of daredevil lifts and some fancy footwork will surprise audience members.
“We are free to do whatever our hearts desire. I’m personally excited to be in this show and to see what everyone else will be doing,” she said.
If you go: “Champions of the Dance” will be at The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St., Philadelphia tonight through Sunday. Performances are tonight at 8; Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at annenbergcenter.org or call 215-898-3900 or in person at the box office.