Editor’s note: Tennis legend Martina Navratilova’s run on Dancing With the Stars lasted two brief weeks but, as she emphasized to AARP.org in a series of exclusive print and video interviews, her participation in the show was largely about stepping out of her comfort zone, defying limits and confronting fears. She is expected to return to the show’s finale in May, along with all the eliminated dancers.
AARP Fitness Expert Martina Navratilova returned to the spotlight, in March, for her debut on the ABC television show Dancing With the Stars. This was our second Q&A with Martina about her joining the show (read the first one).
AARP: I saw in your March 7 tweet that you had “finally nailed” your opening routine. Has the practice been harder, easier, or roughly what you expected?
Martina: I expected I would be a little more sore after practices, but I haven’t been. A couple of tweaky muscles, but nothing too weird, and my joints have been great. One hard part has been all the concentration on the moves. Early in the practice, my mind would get scrambled because there’s so much to concentrate on. But when the mind and body start working together it’s an amazing thing.
AARP: Have you altered your diet in any way to prepare for your appearance on DWTS?
Martina: No, not at all. It’s an athletic event, so I eat my fruit and a couple eggs in the morning. I eat a lot of sushi, plus the usual vegetables. I went gluten-free a couple of years ago. My homeopathic nutritionist did some tests and, it turns out, I’m gluten-intolerant. Not in a major way, but within two days of switching I dropped a size from my waist.
There’s a fabulous organic store near here called Erewhon with a juice bar and an amazing raw food selection. I saw [Aerosmith front man] Steven Tyler at the juice bar yesterday. I had a gluten-free beer last night and some [other] stuff I hadn’t tried before. It’s great to have this store so close. I went a little crazy shopping in there yesterday!
AARP: What surprises you most about working with Tony Dovolani?
Martina: What a great teacher he is. He’s incredibly patient and has so many different ways of teaching the same thing. He really breaks it down if I’m trying to do a step and I’m flummoxed. You know, I’m not a good enough dancer to get upset with myself. But I still manage to do that! And then he talks me down and explains [the move] in a way that makes sense.