Who’s That Guy? Meet Pro Fabian Sanchez
03/18/2008 AT 12:00 AM EDT
There's a new kid in the ballroom tonight and his name is Fabian Sanchez, a Colombian-born mambo champ.
Fans (and former partner Mel B.) groused over the news that Dancing with the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy would sit out this season. Sanchez, who's paired with Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, says he will do his part to bring sexy back to the dancefloor.
"I taught (Maks) how to be Latin. I gave him some Latin soul," Sanchez kids, noting that it's because of his friendships with Chmerkovskiy and pro dancer Tony Dovolani that he was "given this amazing opportunity."
When it comes to teaching Matlin, who is deaf, he says his method "is no different than how I teach any other student." The exception, says Sanchez, who owns and operates a Fred Astaire dance studio in Birmingham, Ala., with his wife, is that he tends to "do a lot of stomping, placing my feet a lot stronger on the floor so she can feel the beat. I put the speakers on the floor so she can feel the bass."
And things are going well, he says. "As a dancer she is kicking some butt. She's going to shock everyone. She must have an amazing teacher," Sanchez jokes. "She's accelerating at such a quick rate."
And when Matlin doesn't immediately catch on, "she gets angry. She has a potty mouth. We both do. There's going to be a lot of bleeping from our rehearsal videos! They'll have about five minutes of clean material!" -- Monica RizzoBob D'amico/ABC