Dancing With The Stars pro, Toni Dovolani, who is of Albanian descent, opened up about his fascination with dancing, which began when he was merely four years old. He talked about his family, professional influences, and growing up in Kosovo.
Toni said to realitytvmagazine.sheknows.com: “My dad found these Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movies and Danny Kaye, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor. Every Sunday we had movie night. And we watched musicals. It was so amazing because I was addicted to it as a kid. I couldn’t wait to come to America to see some of this live.”
He continues to say, “When I was 3 years old my dad tells me I showed interest in music and dance, so he took me to classes where I learned how to learn instruments and a dance class. In Kosovo, it’s very big to do folkloric dancing, ballet but also folkloric dancing. I quickly realized I didn’t want to be behind an instrument while everybody else was dancing. So I quit taking music lessons and just wanted to do dance lessons. I was 4 years old. I remember telling my dad about it.”
Toni moved to the U.S. in 1989, where he had to start scratch. “I was 15. I started working as a dishwasher because they didn’t accept our diplomas here, and I was already in my second year in college back home. I was one of the brainiacs. My dad majored in math. And I wanted to be like my dad.”
Dancing With The Stars starts on Monday, September 21 at 8 p.m. on ABC.