Teri Polo has previously been invited to participate in the ABC reality TV competition series “Dancing with the Stars”. After explaining to the producers that they would have to change the name to “Dancing with the Star” because she would win, Polo opted out of the program.
There is some merit in Polo’s claim that she would be an easy winner. She started taking ballet lessons at age 5, and at age 13, the Delaware native began attending the New York School of Ballet. After studying ballet for 13 years, she signed a modeling contract at the age of 17, which landed her a role in the daytime drama “Loving”.
Polo is making a slight comeback in the dance world with her latest acting work, the FOX series “The Big Leap”. The comedy / drama is a fictional take on a reality dance competition show where contestants perform “Swan Lake” in the final. It will launch at 9 p.m. on September 20 on FOX.
Polo’s character Julia Perkins is a wife and mother who was a dancer in her youth and sees the show as a way to rediscover her own identity. She gets an extra boost when she finds out that her husband spends more time online watching porn than he does at work.
The contestants are an eclectic mix, with Polo’s character being one of the oldest. She knows that her character is a very important part of the mix of participants.
“I feel very honored to represent a certain group of people at a point in their lives that I can relate to,” says Polo, 52. ” And it’s good. It’s really difficult. It’s very difficult to be vulnerable. But they realize that I am old and that I am in a midlife crisis.
“I’m pretty sure that’s why I was chosen.”
Series creator and executive producer Liz Heldens immediately adds that Polo being a certain age was not the reason she was chosen. What surprised them were Polo’s dancing skills. The idea that they could launch someone with Polo’s long acting career who can dance was a major bonus.
Polo – whose previous credits include “Meet the Parents”, “The Fosters” and “Good Trouble” – was thrilled to be a part of “The Big Leap” because it is an opportunity to play and dance. She saw the show come together like a perfectly choreographed dance number.
“Bringing it together has been an amazing collaboration. And I have to tell you that everyone – whether they’re afraid to dance or not – has broken their bumps to really look like dancers, ”said Polo. “Hats off to everyone for dedicating the hours they have.
“Long, long hours on the set, to play, to move and to put all their heart. And then back to the studio. Or even in the studio, sweat, sweat, sweat, then show up on set and pat yourself. “
Other contestants include Gabby Lewis – played by newcomer Simone Recasner – who once dreamed of becoming a professional dancer, but her dreams were sidelined when she got pregnant right out of high school. The show could be a second chance but it will be a battle.
Recasner has been a stage actress for years, but this is her first role on television. She can understand Gabby’s insecurities because Recasner could never imagine herself in a TV series as she has seen very few full-fledged actresses in this world.
“We meet her (Gabby) at a time when she decides to do the exact opposite of how the world, her brain and everyone else have told her to act all her life,” Recasner said. “When that story happened and they were real to have a big curvy, bigger body dance, whatever you want to call it, it’s a dream. Beyond a dream.
Alongside Gabby, Justin Calgrove (Raymond Cham Jr.), Gabby’s former dance partner and high school boyfriend until he came out of the closet, auditions. Also in competition: professional footballer Reggie Sadler (Ser’Darius Blain); Brittney Lovewell (Anna Grace Barlow), a hyper-competitive ballroom dancer; unemployed auto worker Mike Devries (Jon Rudnitsky); and Paula Clark (Piper Perabo), a top business executive ;.
Scott Foley plays Nick Blackburn, the producer who agrees to end the dance after the failure of his last show and his divorce. All the problems he has had in his life are on his own initiative, but Foley doesn’t see him as having an evil heart.
“I had an account the other day where I kind of realized, at least in my mind, that Nick is kind of like Darth Vader in making this show,” Foley said. “He’s still not the bad guy, but his intentions aren’t necessarily the best. Although Vader, of course, was the bad guy, we know that.
“He’s the person who makes sure the show is what people want to watch, regardless of the ethics. And I think for me he’s such an interesting character to play.