Anyone who watches ABC’s "Dancing With the Stars” learns two things: Ballroom dancing can leave you injured and in pain, but it also can leave you thinner and more fit.
Marissa Jaret Winokur, star of Broadway’s "Hairspray” and Season 6 of "Dancing,” has taken that idea to the next reality show level as host of "Dance Your A-- Off,” premiering at 9 tonight on Oxygen (Cox channel 166). The show combines dancing and diet to help plus-size contestants slim down and shape up. "You have 12 contestants who are overweight, want to lose weight,” Winokur says. "You know what’s great about them all — kind of how I was on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ — they all want to be there. They all love it. They all feel good. "They want to lose weight, but they definitely love themselves. And they get to know themselves more during the show, and they embrace more of their inner beauty.” The male and female contestants are paired with professional dance partners who train them for their weekly performances. And it’s not just ballroom; the dance styles also include hip-hop and pole dancing. Then they perform in front of a live studio audience and a panel of expert judges: choreographer Danny Teeson, dancer/choreographer Mayte Garcia and dancer/actress Lisa Ann Walter. The judges score the dance, and contestants weigh in to reveal their weight-loss progress for the week.