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Paying attention is the key to ‘Dancing’

Blog Maverick: Selections from Cuban's blog on "Dancing With The Stars"

Oct. 17 | 11:16 p.m.

Once again the support of the voters pulled Kym and I through.

It's hard to describe the feelings of hearing our names called as being "saved." My reaction was so spontaneous, it caught even me off guard. The strongest feelings came from the realization that your support was responsible for our success.

I never make predictions and I have no idea whether next week is our last week, or the first of more, but I do know that part of being successful on the show is paying attention.

I pay attention to what the judges say. I think a lot of people expected me to not take criticism by the judges very well. Those people don't know me very well. I know what I know and know what I don't know. I don't know ballroom dancing. I do know I have a lot of room to improve and the only way that is going to happen is if I listen and take the judges' feedback to heart. Even if it means being picked on like the last kid chosen for kickball every now and then.

I also learned from people who have worked on DWTS for a long time that the judges' votes are AT MOST 50 percent of value assigned to each contestant's scores. Which of course means that to be successful, it's just as important, if not more important, to work just as hard at communicating with the voters as it is to get good scores from the judges.

I recognize that the judges' scores can influence how many voters choose to cast their votes. So if I'm going to be successful and earn your votes, I have to work just as hard at communicating with each of you, which is exactly why I read each and every blog post. I read each and every email. I do Icerocket blog searches and read what bloggers post. I encourage people to e-mail and ask friends and co-workers to vote. Not recognizing the value of each of your votes is not paying attention. I try to always pay attention to the rules of the game.

But let's get back to ‘Dancing.’ This week we have the samba. I loved the waltz. It was fun, smooth and far easier on my body. The samba is more like the jive. It doesn't have the jumping, but the up and down and hip action means that I have a hard time going to my left. I can't turn my left foot out. Can't thrust my left hip out. I just didn't have the muscles or flexibility in my left leg because of my hip replacement. So when you watch our samba, you may get a little chuckle watching our entire routine go right.

Speaking of laughs, the waltz was serious. The samba is fun. I can't tell you what song we will be dancing to, but I can tell you that its from the '60s and our routine is going to be a tribute to the dances of the '60s and a quick pogo pogo tribute to the movie "Strictly Ballroom." We are going for fun. Lots of fun.

Finally, one last thing. I have gotten a bunch of e-mails asking to find out more about me. Boring, but if you are interested, here are some old blog posts that will provide you some history.

Thank you again, and let's do it again next week!

Oct. 14 | midnight

First things first. Thank you to everyone who voted for Kym and I and kept us alive this past week. I knew the jive would be tough on me and it was. It was the first dance where I botched a step and it showed. One portion of it I was supposed to hesitate a beat and I didn't, throwing us off as we circled. We were able to come back together and get back on beat, but the judges definitely noticed it and docked me points. That's the challenge of live TV. It's also going to motivate me to work even harder on my waltz this week.

The waltz is all about posture. This week we have a great song. Even better, it's a song that isn't one I would normally sing along to. So it should be much easier to just put on my “dance face” and find “my inner dancer” ... Hopefully :)

Practice has been going well this week. We head back to L.A. on Sunday after practicing six hours a day this week.

Learning a new dance is an emotional rollercoaster. Yes, practicing all that time can be tiring. My legs hurt and if the schedule creates a situation where we practice till past midnight and then start again at 9 a.m. the next morning, to say my legs get sore, wouldn't quite do it justice.

I didn't know what the Viennese Waltz was. Heck, I didn't know there were different types of waltzes. So trying to pick up the steps, the turns, the posture was the first step. Next came actually learning the routine Kym put together for us. As with the jive, when I first start learning the routine, there is always something that seems impossible for me to learn. Kym will show me the step. I will try it. Then we do it over and over and over again. Some steps come easily. Others, not so much.

This week there was a promenade travel. It required about 24 steps in combination at full speed. Literally I felt like I was running to cover the distance we needed to cover and to make the beats work. I'm a tech guy, so I tend to look at the steps as a sequence of instructions, which I write down and try to learn by looking and doing. It's not unusual for me to have a piece of paper in my hand with the steps and directions on them as I learn a step. My approach wasn't working. It was just too fast for me to process and translate to my feet.

Because I wasn't making any progress on these, Kym decided we needed to move on to work on a different part of the routine. Something called “Naturals.” Much easier for me. More like a three-count waltz step. We practiced over and over and then as we tried to improve on it, it dawned on me that these “Naturals” steps were similar to the Promenades. The steps were the same, but the changes of directions were more extreme and the pace and distance was faster and longer. Of course I thought I had just found the solution to all my problems and told Kym about my breakthrough. At which point all she could do was laugh at me and tell me that she had been trying to tell me that the Promenade and the Naturals were very similar and I just had to learn one to get the other.Who knew?

It's the breakthrough like this one that all of the sudden re-energizes our practices and pumps up my confidence. One day I feel like I'm never going to learn this thing and the next, I'm looking back at the “impossible,” thinking it's easy.

That's the first hill of the Dancing With the Stars rollercoaster. The second is actually doing it live, and the third of course is waiting on Tuesday to find out if all of you have voted for me.

I promise that I am working hard for you. Thank you to all of you who have voted by phone, by e-mail and bigger thanks to all of you who have sent e-mails, forwarded e-mails and called friends, family and co-workers asking them to vote by phone and e-mail. The stories and feedback I have gotten are amazing!

Whatever success I have on the show is all thanks to each of you!