‘DWTS’: Carole Baskin Learned an Important Lesson From Her Pro Partner Pasha Kovalev in Season 29

Dancing With the Stars is back with another season of ballroom dancing! Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with Carole Baskin over the phone about joining Dancing With the Stars cast and what she has learned from working with her professional dance partner, Pasha Kovalev. 

Carole Baskin and Pasha Pashkov
Carole Baskin and Pasha Pashkov | Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images

Carole Baskin has no dance experience whatsoever — she didn’t even dance at her wedding 

On Monday, Sept. 14, Baskin performed a Paso Doble to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” 

As a child, Baskin was raised in a Christian family. “Dancing was a sin, so I was never allowed to dance,” she told USA Today. “When my husband and I got married on the beach, we played Rod Stewart’s, ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.’ But we didn’t dance to it, because we don’t dance.”

Now, Dancing With the Stars has changed Baskin’s ways.

“I was so excited at the end of the first dance because we absolutely nailed it,” Baskin told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “It was the best of all of the practices and rehearsals that we had done. Both Pasha and I were really, really pleased with the results.”

Carole Baskin hopes ‘Dancing With the Stars’ helps her achieve her goal of ending the abuse of big cats 

The Tiger King docuseries started a conversation about big cat breeding and cub petting. But Baskin knows her work isn’t done.

Baskin views Dancing With the Stars as a platform to educate viewers about the abuse of big cats in the United States. Each week she’s in the DWTS competition, Baskin plans to urge viewers to contact Congress about the Big Cat Act. 

“The one thing that we just aren’t anywhere close to ending is keeping big cats in zoos,” Baskin explained. “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 wants viewers to visit BigCatAct.com and connect with their local representatives to request their support of the Big Cat Public Safety Act. 

‘DWTS’ pro Pasha Kovalev has taught Carole Baskin a whole new level of patience 

When Showbiz Cheat Sheet asked Baskin what she thought of her pro partner, she couldn’t speak highly enough. “[Pasha] is amazing,” she said. “He’s the most patient person. I can’t even begin to say how lucky I feel that he ended up being my instructor.” 

As someone with no dance experience, Baskin’s coach has been taking things slow so that she can master the moves.

RELATED: ‘Tiger King’: Why Carole Baskin Spoke Freely About Her Missing Husband, Don Lewis

“I think the thing that I’ve learned most from him is that, when you’re trying to teach somebody to do something, it can be really hard if you know how to do it well because it just comes naturally,” Baskin explained. “[It’s important] to break it down into really basic steps.”

Pasha Kovalev has been teaching Carole Baskin her dances step by step — literally 

Baskin practices every day with Kovalev. She explained his approach to teaching her complicated dances, like the Paso Doble.

“Once [I] master the way [a move] feels in [my] feet, then we’ll kind of move up [the] body to how that feels in [my] hands, and then how that feels in [my] face,” she said. “So if [Pasha] sees that I’m able to grasp different levels of that, then adds on more of the finesse — the finer points of it. He’s been just amazing at that.” 

Baskin scored 11 out of 30 last Monday for her Paso — 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 chuckled. 

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