Prishtina, Kosovo, native Tony Dovolani began dancing in his native Eastern Europe at the age of three, then, as an adolescent, immigrated to the United States with his family and enrolled at the prestigious Fred Astaire Dance Academy. Years of rigorous training qualified Dovolani as one of the world's preeminent ballroom dancers; he quickly netted the titles of undefeated U.S. Professional Rhythm Champion and undefeated World Professional Rhythm Champion, and received a pivotal call from ABC to perform as a professional dancing partner on their blockbuster competitive reality series Dancing with the Stars. Dovolani's celebrity partners on that program included Leeza Gibbons, Stacy Keibler, Sara Evans, and the legendary Jane Seymour.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Started Albanian folk dancing at the age of 3.
- Was inspired by Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly films as a child.
- Moved to the U.S. as a political refugee from his native Kosovo in 1989.
- Trained as a teen at a Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Connecticut.
- Coached Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere for the 2004 film Shall We Dance, in which he also had a small role.
- Among his titles: 2005 Ohio Star Ball American Rhythm Champion; 2005 and 2006 World Rhythm Champion; 2006 PBS American Ballroom Challenge Rhythm Champion; and 2006 Emerald Ball Open Professional American Rhythm Champion.
- Enjoys playing golf in his spare time.