Jenna Dewan Explains How She's Bringing Back 'Old-School Romance' on 'Flirty Dancing' (Exclusive)
By Desiree Murphy
David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Jenna Dewan can't wait for fans to witness how naturally strangers can fall in love when they connect through the art of dance!
That's the premise of Flirty Dancing, the all-new reality dating show the 39-year-old dancer is hosting on Fox. Based on the U.K. show of the same name, the series will follow a group of complete strangers who will each individually be taught half of a dance routine. Then they'll meet for the first time on a blind date where they will dance together without exchanging a word.
ET recently caught up with Dewan in Santa Monica, California, where she teased what fans can expect from the series and what makes her show stand out from all the rest.
"It's absolutely amazing! It's such a fun and fresh show that I'm filming and I'm having the best time doing it," she raved to ET's Lauren Zima. "I watched the U.K. version and fell in love. I was literally crying in the first episode I saw."
"I thought, 'What more fun could this be?' To sort of bring this old-school romance back to modern-day dating through dance, where they're not allowed to speak and can only use movement and eye contact and really go off chemistry," she continued. "You gotta drop all your walls immediately and just connect. Obviously, I've danced with people before. You know when there's chemistry, and you know when there's not."
Dewan admitted that the concept of dancing with a complete stranger is new to her, too, even though she's been dancing her entire life.
"I think I've done it all, but I've never danced with someone I've never rehearsed with," she said. "But I have had that initial meeting of somebody and dancing with them and you just feel something. Because there's something about when you let go and you don't use your words and you're moving with each other’s bodies; there's just a different kind of connection that can be made."
"What's so beautiful about the show is we bring it down back to the basics, because what do we all want and need in life? That's connection and that's love," she continued. "These people here on the show ... they want love and I feel how much they want that. And then I see the sparks fly in the dances and I just get super emotional."
ET also spoke with the show's choreographer, Kat Burns (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Key & Peele, Stuck In the Middle), who also tried to describe the feeling of dancing with someone you've never met.
"I think it's exhilarating, nerve-racking," she said. "I think blind dates already are a little fun, and [these people] get to be swept off their feet versus, like, swiping, which is so fun."
"They can't speak [to each other], so what does that look like? I was able to see video of them dancing before I choreographed [the routine], so I was able to cater the dance to how they authentically move, and tried to find moments that make their personality shine," she recalled. "To kind of test the chemistry and be like, 'This is what she has to offer, this is what he has to offer, what's their vibe?'"
"Like any good relationship, there's moments where you're trusting and supporting, there's moments where you're leading or following and then there's other moments where you're just kind of taking in the beauty of the moment," she added.
Burns also confirmed that no one looking for love on the show "is a professional dancer" -- she described them as "dance enthusiasts" with a "willingness to play and have fun."
"I think physicalities of the show really range," she explained. "Some people dance, some people work out all the time, but I don't think anyone's used to, like, doing a choreographed dance on the regular, especially as adults."
"My hope is that they just have a genuine chemistry and have fun," she continued. "Then every year, on their anniversary, they have to learn another choreographed dance. So by the time they have, like, 50 years of dating, they have an arsenal of dances."
Flirty Dancing premieres Sunday, Dec. 29 on Fox, and will make its regular time period premiere Wednesday, Jan. 1. In the meantime, hear more from ET's interview with Dewan in the video below.