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Costa Mesa dancer performs with the stars

Tara Gusman was one of the performers chosen for the 'Macy's Stars of Dance' segment of 'Dancing with the Stars.'

October 18, 2012|By Heather Youmans

Hot off the heals of dancing featured roles in "Step Up" and Florence and the Machine's music video "Spectrum," Costa Mesa ballerina Tara Gusman took her dance career to the primetime TV screen this month on "Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars."

According to Nielsen Media Research, 12 million viewers watched Gusman, 24, in the season's first "Macy's Stars of Dance" performance, which opened the live results show Oct. 2 on ABC.

"The 'Macy's Stars of Dance' is a really big honor for the choreographer," Tara Gusman said in a phone interview. "And, if you're a dancer in it, you are considered one of the 'Stars of Dance.' So for me, doing 'Macy's Stars of Dance' is huge, because only the best dancers get picked for that."

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The segment airs two to three times per season and has featured the likes of Travis Wong and Tiler Peck from New York City Ballet, Gusman said.

During the Oct. 2 segment, choreographer Shannon Mather transformed the "Dancing With the Stars" stage into a "Hunger Games"-themed battle zone equipped with smoke, fire, special effects and epic battle scene music.

The futuristic standoff featured the industry's best talents, including nine dancers from "So You Think You Can Dance" — all battling for dance floor supremacy.

Decked out in Capitol-style make up and avant garde costuming, Gusman was one of 19 dancers — and one of three on pointe — representing three "districts" of dance: contemporary, hip hop and ballet.

"I was excited to dance with a different group of people and just all professionals and people who work in the industry and [to] do something different than I do was really exciting for me, because I have an appreciation for all forms of dance," she said.

"I was really interested to see what the hip hop dancers and contemporary dancers were going to be like with ballet dancers in the piece they were in because that's not something you do every day," she continued. "Usually, you do a hip-hop dance, or you do contemporary. It's very rare that we all dance together."

At her side was a familiar face — dance partner Jason Glover, a Top 8 contestant from "So You Think You Can Dance." Glover, 24, and Gusman both dance together at Festival Ballet Theatre ballet company in Fountain Valley.

"If I had to partner with somebody else, I might have freaked out," she said. "In such a hectic environment, I felt very comfortable that I had somebody I trusted holding me and partnering me who is a good friend of mine."

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