Corbin Bleu is the newly-minted winner of Fox's The Real Dirty Dancing, and Shadow and Act's Managing Editor Trey Mangum was able to catch up with him after his win for this week's episode of the Opening Act podcast.
Bleu, who was partnered with chef Cat Cora, said he loved participating in the series because of how much he loved watching Dirty Dancing as a child who loved to dance.
"It's such an iconic movie. I grew up watching Dirty Dancing and rewatching it again," he said. "I know there are parts that possibly make it not the best movie, but there are so many iconic moments. Just the lift alone, everybody knows that incredible, iconic image. [There are] so many of those moments due to the cast, due to Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey and so many lines that we know from the movie."
He said it was amazing to be "able to step into a movie that everybody's able to recognize" moments from the film and to reenact those moments on screen.
"Growing up as a dancer, any opportunity you get to learn something with that much weight to it and is so known like this project, it's such a wonderful opportunity," he said. "But to top it off, we actually went to Kellerman's. We went to the mountain lodge in Virginia [where the film takes place] where not only are we learning these iconic dance routines and scenes and get a chance to reenact them, but we're doing them in the places where the original cast actually did them. So you can feel the energy, the ghosts of the past that are there and they [the lodge staff] are so proud that this movie had the impact that it had there."
Bleu said that he was excited to be partnered with Cora, someone he was a fan of since childhood.
"I grew up watching Cat Cora and I've always been an Iron Chef fan, and I was hoping…that we'd be partnered and it was such a perfect pairing, I couldn't be happier," he said, adding that they are now good friends after the show. But, he said, that working with Cora, someone who wasn't a trained dancer, gave him a challenge of leadership, something that he said was "eye-opening for him." Because of the extra challenge, he said the competition had a level of fear even greater than his time on Dancing with the Stars.
It's scarier than Dancing with the Stars, I find…In Dancing with the Stars, we're partnered with pro dancers, so there's always that eye," he said. "If something goes wrong, you know that that other person is there. They choreographed it, they know exactly what they're doing, but in this aspect, when it came to this scenario, Cat didn't grow up as a dancer. So if something goes wrong, I need to be [the professional]."
He said the challenge taught him that he can be a leader, a lesson he's grateful to learn. He also said he was happy that the cast of celebrities, including Howie Dorough, Tyler Cameron, Brie Bella, Antonio Gates, Anjela Johnson-Reyes and Loni Love, are now friends in real life.
"You develop relationships, friendships, connections…I'm still on a text chain with this group and that doesn't happen, I'll say, on all projects," he said. "You might end up in some sort of a group chat or something and by the end of the project it fizzles, but it's still going strong, a group chat with all of these people and we still want to try to get together and have dinner…it's been a great bonding experience. I've definitely formed new friends for life."
You can listen to Bleu's full interview below: