Dancing With the Stars

Some behind-the-scenes snapshots from this morning's Good Morning America announcement of this season's cast of Dancing With The Stars (#DWTS).

My partner, I am thrilled to announce, is the stunningly beautiful dancer and extremely capable teacher, Australian 28-year-old Henry Byalikov. (Stylish, too, I might add)

The cast ranges from recent ice dancing gold medalists Charlie White and Meryl Davis to smart funny man Drew Carey. Drew said to me this morning: "Who wouldn't want to do this show?"

You're preaching to choir here, Drew. Since Day One, nine years ago, I've wanted to do DWTS. Dance is the expression of joy and freedom that the human race has enjoyed from the beginning of time.

I am thrilled to think Henry is going to have me moving at least somewhat fluidly, in some facsimile of magical dances, such as the Fox Trot, which by the way is our first assigned dance for the first competition on ABC March 17.

The other dance pros, men and women (Mark Ballas in bow tie here)are all available and helpful to each of us novices 24/7.

Henry and I are locked in a rehearsal studio four hours a day (we would put more time in but at least for these first two weeks, all of us have been sworn to do only four hours daily). Besides my own obvious background in swimming, I've covered and followed sports my entire life and I can tell you the rigors and complicated nuances of the Fox Trot are daunting, to understate it. Every muscle of the body is in flexion, while trying to glide and bend and hop, all in perfect unison with your partner.

I'm in this competition for the purity of the dance itself. Dancing has always been an integral part of my life and now I have a chance to immerse myself hours every day with a world-class partner. What joy... what a challenge.

Stay tuned... reports to come throughout the journey...