Tony Dovolani was born in Prishtina, Kosova and began folk dancing at age three. He was 15 years old when he and his family moved to the United States. At age 17, he began ballroom lessons at a Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Connecticut and knew he had found his passion. Six months later, he began working as a FADS Dance Instructor, and he has been a strong and successful competitor in the professional ballroom dancing world ever since.
In 2006, Tony joined ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for their second season, and quickly became a fan favorite with his stellar choreography, elegance and bright smile. He spent 21 consecutive seasons on the show; Tony and his dance partner Melissa Rycroft were the Season 15 “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” Mirror Ball Trophy Champions. Tony’s professional body of work is impressive. He has guest hosted and choreographed for the world-famous Chippendales at the Rio/Las Vegas, (Spring 2018); choreographed the Miss Nevada pageant (2012) and was a judge for the Miss America competition (2011). He, with fellow DWTS Pro Cheryl Burke, choreographed and performed a special Paso Doble for Pixar’s Toy Story 3. He’s guest-hosted segments on EXTRA, the Golf Channel’s The Morning Drive and on the ABC syndicated show On the Red Carpet. He has guest starred on television series including TV Land’s The Exes and CBS TV’s Kevin Can Wait, and played Latin bad-boy competitor, ‘Slick Willy’ in the hit film Shall We Dance. He has toured with Dance to the Movies and Dance to the Holidays and has been a frequent guest on Good Morning America.
Of his role as Co-National Dance Director for the Fred Astaire Dance Studios network, Tony offers, “My life has now come full circle. At age 17, I began my dance career as an Instructor with FADS, and now, to carry on the legacy of the iconic dancer and choreographer Fred Astaire, is truly an honor. My goals as Co-National Dance Director are not only to bring all the knowledge and skills I’ve gained to this position, but even more importantly – to work together with you to bring FADS – home of the best dancers in our industry – to the next level. When I was a brand new teacher, one of my mentors told me, “what you learn at FADS will help you be successful not only in your career, but in every aspect of your life”, and it’s been incredible how true that was. What I learned while working at that Fred Astaire Dance Studio has helped me with my family, my dancing, in movies and TV shows… in all the accomplishments I’ve ever had. But the truth is, I always wanted to come back – to be here, because THIS is where I belong, this is where I am proudest – to know when I walk out on a stage or anywhere, that I represent Fred Astaire Dance Studios – THAT is truly an honor.”
2006 Nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography / Dancing with the Stars episode #208 (Dance: Jive)
2o06 PBS America’s Ballroom Challenge Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
2006 Emerald Ball Open Professional American Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
2006 United States Open Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
2006 World Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
2005 Ohio Star Ball American Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
2005 United States Open Rhythm Champion with Inna Ivanenko
2005 World Rhythm Champion with Inna Ivanenko
Fred Astaire National Champion – International Latin (multiple years)
Fred Astaire National Champion – American Rhythm (multiple years)