'Dancing With the Stars': Carole Baskin Reveals What It's Like Behind the Scenes During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Earlier this year, Netflix released the Tiger King docuseries that made Carole Baskin a household name. Now, she’s competing in season 29 of Dancing With the Stars. Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with Baskin over the phone about what it’s been like practicing for the dance competition amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Carole Baskin is competing on ‘DWTS’ to end the abuse of big cats

Like every other competitor, Baskin has a particular reason she is competing for the Mirrorball Trophy. Her goal is to educate viewers about the abuse of big cats and how they can help stop it. Baskin wants to encourage DWTS viewers to contact local representatives and ask for their support of the Big Cat Act. 

“The one thing that we just aren’t anywhere close to ending is keeping big cats in zoos,” Baskin told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “What I’m most hoping [my participation on] Dancing with the Stars will do is give me a platform for sending people to our website where people can contact Congress.” 

Baskin encourages everyone to visit BigCatAct.com for more information. 

Bonding with the season 29 cast of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ has been difficult

Dancing With the Stars is a competition, but that doesn’t mean the cast can’t be friends! Under normal circumstances, the competitors and their pro dancer partners have a lot of fun behind the scenes. But because of the pandemic, showrunners are taking every precaution to keep their cast and crews safe. 

“Because of COVID-19, we see each other at a distance and we all have masks on,” Baskin explained of her time with the DWTS cast. “It’s really hard to have a conversation because we’re staying eight feet away, not six.” 

Regardless, Baskin says there’s very little downtime to bond with the other contestants.

“We’re all running like crazy because [we have] to learn these new dance routines,” she added. “A lot of people don’t have much dance experience. Nobody has none, like me. But there’s just so much work to be done. We haven’t had time to really spend time together.” 

Here’s how long celebrities practice for ‘Dancing With the Stars’ 

Baskin said she is practicing three to four hours daily with her pro partner, Pasha Kovalev. 

“We have practice every day,” Baskin elaborated. “Then at the end of each one of those sessions is I will have Pasha tape himself doing the dance the way it really should be. I’ll bring [that home] to my apartment, and I’ll spend the rest of the day trying to emulate those steps so that I’m better prepared for the next day coaching.” 

Baskin loves working with Kovalev. “[Pasha] is amazing,” she added. “He’s the most patient person. I can’t even begin to say how lucky I feel that he ended up being my instructor.” 

Last week, Baskin scored 11 out of 30 for her Paso Doble — one of the most challenging ballroom dances to master. “I am so glad to have that out of the way during a time when I couldn’t be eliminated,” she laughed. DWTS fans are eager to see what Baskin will dance tonight. 

Dancing with the Stars Season 29 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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