Dance keeps him in top form

SINGAPORE - He started dancing at the age of seven and he still has not had enough.

For the last 10 years, Mr Whiddon has been a cast member of Burn The Floor, a supercharged Latin and ballroom dance spectacular that has thrilled millions of people in more than 30 countries.

The show has taken this Australian from Broadway in New York City to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida in the United States, where he was also company manager.

The 28-year-old choreographed season three of Australia's So You Think You Can Dance and was a professional on Dancing With The Stars Australia.

His wife, Ms Gordana Grandosek, 33, is Slovenian and has been dancing for 21 years. They married in June and have been based in Maribor, a city in Slovenia, for the last five years.

They are dancing in Burn The Floor at Marina Bay Sands till this Sunday, performing a wide array of dances.

What do you do to keep fit?

I dance a lot. I also go to the gym, although I am not a gym junkie, to help keep some weight on as I lose a lot when I am on tour.

Going to the gym keeps my body strong to help me avoid injuries. I also like to go out on my bike. During a tour, we dance six days a week, up to eight two-hour shows a week.

Plus, we do a minimum of two hours of rehearsal and warming up before each show.

When we rehearse before a tour begins, we normally train six days a week for eight to 12 hours a day. Otherwise, we would be in a studio five days a week for at least three hours a day.

I try to go to the gym at least four to five days a week. I get into it for a while but soon I get a bit bored of it.

I have mixed my exercise regimen with Power 90 Extreme, a great full-body strengthening workout, and got some results. I also like to do some yoga and Pilates.

I have to keep mixing it up to keep interested.

What is your secret to looking fabulous?

My wife and dance partner, Ms Gordana Grandosek, is definitely my secret.

She's from Slovenia and is awesome in the kitchen so I get fed really well. What you put in is what you get out.

Has there been a time when you were not fit and fabulous?

Yes. I used to be pretty chubby when I was around eight to 12 years old.

When I was seven, my first dance teacher thought I should lose a little weight.

My dad kept telling my dance teacher not to worry about it because he knew from my older brothers that when I hit 12 or 13 years old, I would get a little taller and stretch out, which I did.

What is your diet like?

My wife and I love to eat so we never deprive ourselves of anything.

But we are lucky that we like fresh, healthy food so we don't eat junk food too often.

Gordana's dad is a farmer so when we are at home in Slovenia, all our fruits and vegetables are home-grown.

I've never tasted tomatoes like the ones he grows. They have so much flavour and are so juicy.

It makes me feel sorry for people who do not know what a real tomato tastes like.

We love cuisines from all cultures, so we are always doing something different.

Gordana cooks a chicken with mushroom sauce and mash potato, which I love. And a really quick one that's always good is a tuna pasta, made just with cream, garlic and a little salt.

What are your indulgences?

Pizza's a pretty regular one. There is an awesome authentic wood-fire pizza place that delivers in our hometown Maribor in Slovenia.

I think we should get a VIP discount for being one of their best customers.

What do you do to relax and how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

We have a dog named Buddy, a Staffordshire bull terrier. We found it almost five years ago. It was just a puppy, around three months old, and was wondering the streets in the freezing winter.

We took it in for the night. Nobody claimed it and after a couple of days when somebody called to say they would take it, we couldn't give it up.

Buddy is one of the best things that ever happened to us. It gives us so much love and happiness. It has heaps of energy and is a super friendly dog. We take Buddy everywhere.

Staffies and pit bulls have a pretty bad reputation as being aggressive dogs, but they are beautiful dogs. Just like any dog, it's the way you raise them that makes them who they are.

Buddy has travelled to the United States with us five times when we have had long contracts with Burn The Floor.

When we are not working, we are normally out playing with it. We spend a lot of time during the summer on the Croatian coast. The island Hvar is our favourite place and it is where we got married.

What are the three most important things in your life?

Love (my wife and my dog), my family and dance. Would you go for plastic surgery and why? No, I don't think how I look is what is special about me. Do you think you're sexy?

Yeah, I can be if I want to.

wanching@sph.com.sg 


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