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Maureen McCormick talks Dancing with the Stars'

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Maureen McCormick talks Dancing with the Stars' (Photo courtesy of ABC/Eric McCandless)

Prior to joining ABC's 'Dancing with the Stars' in its 23rd season, actress Maureen McCormick felt like the 'worst dancer in the world,' but facing one of her biggest fears in pursuit of the coveted mirror-ball has been a thrilling but emotional ride. The program airs live on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 8:00 p.m.

Here, during a phone interview conducted last Friday, McCormick, best known to generations of viewers as Marcia Brady on 'The Brady Bunch,' reveals that her appearance on the show has been physically and emotionally exhausting but that she is determined to go all the way.

On 'Dancing with the Stars,' McCormick is paired with Russian-American professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev.

TME: Were you a fan of 'Dancing with the Stars' before you joined the show this season?

McCormick: A huge fan. One of the biggest. I've always loved the spirit of the show and the stories that are told and just seeing people grow. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be part of it.

TME: Now that you've been on the show for five weeks, how different is the reality compared with your expectations?

McCormick: Whoa. Totally different. I knew it would be hard. I knew I would be facing one of my biggest fears in something I've always felt I was awful at. I had no idea how intense it would be. The whole process has been amazing so far and I'm absolutely loving it.

TME: Last week, you tore two discs around your spine during rehearsals. That must have been excruciatingly painful. How are you able to keep going?

McCormick: Injuries happen on this show all the time. They happen in life. You know it? I am in this to go all the way. You just push through it. You ignore it and you fight forward.

TME: On the show, you and Artem appear to have a great chemistry but there have been some challenges that we've seen during rehearsals. Behind the scenes, has he been tough on you?

McCormick: (long pause) I guess, behind the scenes, Artem wants to push me as far as I can go which I adore. He's pushing me to new heights. He has his heart and soul in this and he wants me to be the best I can be. How grateful I am for him.

TME: Part of the appeal of 'Dancing with the Stars' is the fact that the show airs live. With live TV, there is that element of anything can happen. Does that fact add stress when you're out there or do you try not to think about it?

McCormick: You have to try not to think about it but it ups everything a million percent. It's so exciting to because you don't know what's going to happen moment to moment. The only difference here is that it's being seen by millions of people.

TME: The tango that you did on the Cirque du Soleil episode; you and Artem are nailing it, just totally rocking that dance, when suddenly this red-velvet clad acrobat is somersaulting around youwas that distracting?

McCormick: No. Those people in the Cirque du Soleil show they're so talented. It made me want to fight to be better. I wanted to honor them. I wanted to honor Artem and I wanted to honor myself.

TME: On the second show, you and Artem did a quick-step dance which was kind of a tribute to 'The Brady Bunch' which used the theme song. The segment was introduced by Florence Henderson. When they told you that they wanted to do a Brady theme, what was your reaction?

McCormick: I loved it. I couldn't wait to see how Artem was going to choreograph it, how they would change the music and to be with Florence and the pro dancers who were the other Bradys. It was so much fun.

TME: That's quite a band they have on the show.

McCormick: That band makes me smile so much when I'm in rehearsal with them. They're such a great group of people.

TME: I know nothing about dance and I'm hoping you can set the record straight on something. I was speaking with a radio colleague today about how great you are on this show and I showed him a video. This is someone who had participated in a local version of 'Dancing with the Stars' and when I said 'Look at Maureen on this show. She's never danced before and suddenly, she's doing this,' his reaction was 'Well, it's easier for the woman because she's not leading.' Is that a sexist statement or is there any truth to it?

McCormick: (very long pause) I think it's a totally sexist statement. I think it's difficult. Soyeah.

TME: It must be difficult. Take the tango episode for example. How long did you and Artem spend working on that dance?

McCormick: Two days.

TME: Since 'The Brady Bunch' first aired, has there ever been a day when you are not reminded in some way about the show?

McCormick: Yeah. Of course. But not many.

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