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September 17, 2014

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Dancing With the Stars’ pro dancer Lacey Schwimmer pursues music career

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Lacey Schwimmer.

Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe

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Lacey Schwimmer.

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Lacey Schwimmer and Kyle Massey on Dancing With the Stars on Nov. 1, 2010.

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Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris interview Lacey Schwimmer and Mark Dacascos on Dancing With the Stars.

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Dancers D.J. Guthrie and Lacey Schwimmer at Spring Bling in the Palazzo.

With all the success that Lacey Schwimmer has achieved on television with her appearances on Dancing With the Stars as a professional dancer and So You Think You Can Dance as a contestant, you’d think that dancing was her dream career.

But Lacey says her parents more or less forced her into becoming a dancer, and she had an altogether different dream and passion. Now she’s finally realizing that goal, and Las Vegas will get to see her fulfilling it this weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel.

She’s just dropped her single “Love Soundz,” and she’ll debut her singing skills not once but twice. She performs poolside Saturday at Revel at the Hard Rock’s Beach Club. Once the sun goes down, the party moves inside as Lacey hosts a bash at Vanity and performs again.

The bubbly bombshell had little say in her dancing career: She was born into a California family of championship dancers -- Laurie Kauffman and noted West Coast swing dancer Buddy Schwimmer. She is the younger sister of Benji Schwimmer, winner of SYTYCD’s Season 2, and David Schwimmer of Friends fame is their cousin.

Lacey began dancing at age 6 and in 2006 won first place at the U.S. National Youth Latin Championships and the Emerald Ball Youth Latin Championship. In 2007, she was chosen as one of the Top 20 contestants for Season 3 of Fox’s SYTYCD and finished in fourth place (she was runner-up on DWTS two seasons ago with Kyle Massey. Lacey also finished at the top of the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships seven times and at the World Swing Dance Championships.

She appeared in the video for Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman” and with Adam Sandler at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards -- she appeared in his film Bedtime Stories. Despite the spotlight and growing fame, her real passion was bubbling under the surface, and she’s using the TV stardom to jumpstart her music.

Lacey told me: “I did the singing thing at school and at church, and I secretly dreamed of becoming a rock star. But in my family, it was all about dance, so I really didn’t have a choice. It stayed in the back of my head. So it wasn’t new to me -- it’s only become new to me now. With the recognition from the TV shows, I thought why not jump on it and see if I could make it happen. Life’s too short not to live your dreams, so do it now.

“Is it fair to say I was stopped by my parents from becoming a rock star and had to be a dancer? I didn’t have a choice! But I love dancing, and I will never ever stop. This has become another way for me to dance and show it with my music this time. It’s cool to put the two together … a dancer who can sing. Dancers make really good performers.

“I didn’t want my first single to be about dancing. I wanted something more understated. I did a song that’s provocative, upbeat, happy and very danceable. It certainly lets me dance to it. It’s a bit sexy -- nothing too crazy. Dancing is based upon the lyrics. When it says shake it, I certainly shake it. People will easily be able to copy it and join in. Mom and Dad are now very proud of it and support me with it. You’ll certainly see me shaking my booty at Hard Rock this weekend as I sing!

“When we released it last month, I wanted to keep it very low-key, but everybody discovered it and loves it. People are supporting me nicely and loving what’s really a cool dance song. I didn’t expect such a great reaction. The first time I performed it, the crowd was jumping and cheering. … That was such a cool feeling -- unbelievable because although I hoped, I hadn’t ever expected that reaction from my vocals.

“My future now is torn in two -- the new season of Dancing With the Stars starts in a month’s time with pre-production, and I’ve got to make up my mind about continuing with it. If I’m going to do that, I’ll juggle a crazy schedule doing both; otherwise, I’ll go out on the road touring. It’s going to be a wild ride. I’m so excited about it!

“Julianne Hough first, then Mark Ballas, and now me. Most of us dancers have performance in our DNA. In the old days, stars did it all -- sang, danced and acted -- look at Frank Sinatra, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire. That went away for a while. Dancing was classified as cheesy. But it kept its old Hollywood vibe, and it became time again for people to show they could be a star and a dancer.

“It’s cool to see dancers being respected as stars. Dance is here to stay -- there’s so much great young talent out there. Dancing With the Stars has been a wonderful way for all of us to showcase our talents. It’s been amazing. It became a TV ratings blockbuster. Its success has really surprised us all. Nobody ever expected that kind of success and that dance would become the No. 1 show on television -- and, better still, it’s still growing.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

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