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"It's a minimum because you actually need that," she says.
"Some people go even longer."It's easy to assume celebrities learn a quick routine and spend the rest of the time getting the red-carpet treatment.
Dancers like Julianne Hough, Derek Hough, and Cheryl Burke have become household names partnering with actors, singers, athletes, and reality TV stars.
Contestants have included everyone from Kim Kardashian and Candace Cameron Bure to now-Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Last year, for more than a month straight, Vanessa spent her mornings waking up early, going to a rehearsal space, and strapping on her dancing shoes, determined to win the Mirror Ball trophy with her dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
When he's not dodging rumors, Ballas is tasked with coming up with the memorable routines and concepts, which are often out-of-the-box fan favorites, but he admits he can't aways take all the credit.
The pro says he sometimes enlists outside help to choreograph routines — a loophole that is not entirely breaking the laws of the ballroom rulebook."For the most part, we kind of do it ourselves.
"Baby's napping, so mommy can dance," Vanessa remembers, with a big smile.
Thanks to a combination of coffee and practice, the 37-year-old made it to the seventh week of competition, even besting her husband, Nick Lachey, who was partnered with Peta Murgatroyd. "I think, for us, it was an interesting challenge, because, for the first time, both of us really had to juggle our work schedules so that one of us is more present in the home life when one of us is working." According to Vanessa, celebrities on the show are encouraged to practice with their professional dance partners at least three to four hours a day, and sometimes practices can happen to six days per week.