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"Stars" Keeps *NSYNC'S Lance Bass Dancing

Of the Oakland Press

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Lance Bass did plenty of dancing the last time he was on the road — in 2001, with *NSYNC. But, he says, dancing with the pros as part of the fourth Dancing With the Stars: The Tour is an entirely different experience.

“It’s a lot more relaxing, for sure, just because everything’s not on my shoulders,” says Bass, 29, who, paired with pro dancer Lacey Schwimmer to finish third in the recently completed seventh season of the “Dancing With the Stars” TV show. “When I was on tour with *NSYNC, it was us; we were the bosses. We had to control everything. We were responsible for everything.

“With this, I don’t have any responsibility except to go out there and perform and do my stuff, and I get to really enjoy it because there’s a lot of free time for me since I’m not on stage the entire show. I do six numbers and that’s it. It’s a breeze for me.” But, the Mississippiborn Bass adds, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

“Oh, it’s very intense,” he says. “The dancing’s just incredible. I love sitting back and watching the pros do it ’cause they don’t get to be showcased too much on the (TV) show because they have to work with celebrities who don’t really know what they’re doing.

“But with this (tour) you get to see just incredible styles of dancing, and they’re done by the best of the best in the world. So it’s an incredible situation to see that live.”

The highly rated “Dancing With the Stars” TV series, a knock-off of the British TV competition “Strictly Come Dancing” and part of a worldwide BBC franchise, wrapped its seventh season on ABC last month. Actress/model Brooke Burke and dancer Derek Hough took first place.

Bass was satisfied with his own showing and particularly enjoyed the chance to talk a little smack with retired NFL star Warren Sapp, who finished second.

“We definitely had a fun little competition going there toward the end,” says Bass, “which was great ’cause I’m such a fan of his. I watched him play football with Tampa (Bay), so I was excited to be able to compete with him.

“We definitely had friendly competition. I definitely wasn’t intimidated by anyone on the show. Everyone was just so nice and everyone on my season got along, and we had some amazing friendships that were made. We’d all talk a lot of smack at each other, but it was all in fun.”

But Bass did find that *NSYNC’s extensive choreography did not necessarily prepare him for “Dancing With the Stars’” mix of more classic and traditional styles.

“It’s quite the opposite of what I did with hip-hop,” Bass explains, “which in the long run kind of hurt me ’cause I was trying to learn something completely different. But just the hours (*NSYNC) spent in choreography and knowing what it takes to focus and learn choreography, that really helped me with the show and the tour.”

Bass and fellow “stars” Toni Braxton, Marlee Matlin and Maurice Greene will roll with Dancing With the Stars: The Tour through Feb. 8.

After that the singer’s dance card is full with continuing film and TV productions (his company helmed the ABC Family Channel film “Lovewrecked”). Bass — whose autobiography, “Out of Sync,” made the New York Times Best Seller List in 2007 — also trained as a cosmonaut and still hopes to head into space at some point.

Meanwhile he’s planning to start work on a solo album this year, “just for fun, just to see what does work and what kind of sound I would have.”

And Bass, like legions of fans, is hoping that *NSYNC will get back together at some point soon.

“I mean, I hope so,” he says. “You never know what the other guys are going to be able to do or what they’re thinking, but I hope in the next few years we would definitely be able to do another tour and another album.

“It’s definitely been a very long hiatus. I don’t think we’ve broken up. We didn’t know where our different careers would take us, and we especially didn’t know that Justin (Timberlake)’s career was gonna take off like that. There’s no way we’d ever stand in his way, but ... we talk all the time and we all stay in touch and are always involved in each other’s careers.”

If you go

Dancing With the Stars: The Tour, featuring Lance Bass, Toni Braxton, Marlee Matlin and Maurice Greene, stops at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 11) at Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Drive, Detroit. Tickets are $52.50 to $225. Call (313) 471-6611 or visit www.olympia entertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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