Dancing duo reunites for a good cause
AFTER a decade on the judging panel of Dancing With The Stars, Todd McKenney is happy to be more hands-on in his latest TV projects.
The song and dance man swaps his scoring paddle for feathered fans in The All New Monty: Ladies Night and a pair of sunnies and a killer '80s soundtrack in The Real Dirty Dancing.
Both shows feature celebrities learning a dance routine for a good cause.
"I seem to have fallen into this career path where I know how to deal with celebrities who aren't dancers and make them dance," he tells The Guide.
"They'll never be career professionals but I enjoy working with them."
For Ladies Night, the first all-female version of Seven's successful Full Monty series, eight well-known Aussie women including Lisa Curry, Casey Donovan and Georgie Parker learn and perform a burlesque routine to raise awareness for breast cancer.
"It is a mixed bag of natural ability so, unlike Dancing With The Stars where my job was to critique, I had to be their biggest champion and supporter. I had to let them know straight away it was a safe place.
"But we had to be a little tough teaching them the routine. A lot hadn't been on stage in a theatre environment and the adrenaline is pumping so hard when that crowd fires up," McKenney says.
"Nerves are the biggest enemy to choreography, so we had to drill them so they could do that routine in the middle of Hurricane Katrina and not miss a thing."
McKenney also travelled to the US with another group of Aussie celebs in tow for The Real Dirty Dancing that will raise awareness for pancreatic cancer - the disease that took the life of film star Patrick Swayze.
"Growing up, Patrick Swayze was like a god to me," he says. "He showed me you didn't just have to be a dancer. You could also be a great actor and have an amazing career."
McKenney and fellow Dancing judge Kym Johnson-Herjavec were tasked with helping the celebrities re-create the iconic dance scenes from the 1987 movie, culminating in a live performance back in Sydney where one couple will be selected to pull off Baby and Johnny's triumphant lift.
"Re-creating bits of the movie shot for shot with these celebrities was just fun," he says.
"Everybody was there to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer, but to do it in an entertaining way.
"We had varying degrees of success, but that's part of the fun of the show.
"They were all completely weirded out about having to do the lift, so we had to go back to the beginning and dissect it and teach them how to do it so it was safe."
The All New Monty: Ladies Night airs Sunday at 7pm on Seven. The Real Dirty Dancing premieres Monday at 7.30pm, also on Seven.