Courtney Lopez, Host of NUVOtv’s "Love & Salsa." (NUVOtv)
If Dirty Dancing taught you nothing about how passionate and full of love dancing can be, your second chance just made its way to your screen.
NUVOtv’s new original series “Love & Salsa” is a musical matchmaking competition where contestants try to find love on the dance floor. Premiering tonight, the saucy new show makes contestants strut their “salsa” moves in hopes of finding true love. Every episode ends in a dance-off finale where the audience votes to decide which couple has found true love and which couple gets their walking shoes.
In what seems to be a clever mash-up of “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Bachelor,” “Love & Salsa” brings the passion to the screen along with Latin beauty, Courtney Lopez as the host.
If the name rings a bell, it’s because Courtney Lopez is not only a host but the wife of Mario Lopez, who is Executive Producer of “Love & Salsa.” The two met while appearing together in the musical “A Chorus Line.” While Courtney performed as a trained dancer in the production, Mario showed off his acting chops. “Love & Salsa” marks the first time the Latin power couple have worked together since the birth of their second child.
NUVOtv, where “Love & Salsa” is based, is the premier English-language destination for Latino entertainment and is available in more than 32 million homes nationwide. Iconic superstar and powerhouse entrepreneur, Jennifer Lopez serves as NUVOtv’s Chief Creative Officer collaborating closely with the network on programming strategy, production and marketing.
In an exclusive interview with Living Out Loud, Courtney Lopez speaks about the show, its sexy appeal, working with Mario Lopez and balancing her personal and professional life.
Living Out Loud: Can you tell us what “Love & Salsa” is all about?
Courtney Lopez: Yes. Mario and I are very excited for the premiere. It’s a modern-day love connection with salsa dancing. Each episode has a different bachelor or bachelorette, and three potential daters who get to ask them questions. Then they go to a dance studio to learn salsa dances from a professional choreographer. Then, they come back to a salsa club where they perform to a live audience. The audience votes on which daters have the best chemistry, and if both the bachelors and the audience pick the same way, then I have to pay for their date. If they don’t pick the same way, the bachelors/bachelorettes pay for the dates. It’s a cute little twist, and it’s really great because you get to experience a live salsa club with an audience, and there is always a lot of energy. It’s really sexy.
LOL: What would you say plays a more essential role, the love or the salsa? Or would you say it’s an even combination of both?
CL: What we love about this is that, through dancing, you’re not communicating verbally. You’re communicating with your body, so you really get to see who has chemistry through the way they dance. It’s important to have that chemistry in a relationship. It’s not about how good the dance is, but about the passion and chemistry.
LOL: The show is very sexy. Was that the aim from the beginning?
CL: That’s not necessarily what we set out to portray, we never said it had to be sexy. But this is salsa dancing, and so the ‘sexy’ is always there. The dance is very passionate, and that’s just how it turns out.
LOL: What would you like to tell our audience to entice them to see the show?
CL: Well, there is no other dating show out there that incorporates dance. We also feature a lot of characters on our show, girls who are shameless, etc. Things people like to see on TV. The show has a unique twist to it, and has lots of energy.
LOL: How is it working with Mario on this project?
CL: Mario and I always work great together. It’s not too overwhelming for the both of us. We’re always on set, and he works 1,000 jobs. But we talked about what I needed to do and about the production. Once we come home, we never bring any of this with us.
LOL: How has your experience working with NUVOtv been thus far?
CL: I was a Broadway performer, so I’m used to being in front of people, but not necessarily cameras. I had done some other stuff before, but this particular show brought me back to my roots because of the live audience. I believe having the live audience there really increases the energy.
LOL: How involved are you in the decision-making of the show?
CL: I see it right before the final cut with Mario, and we give our input here and there. But our production team is amazing, and we don’t really have to tell them much.
LOL: Tell us a bit about what’s involved in your preparation for the show.
CL: I always want to meet the daters and bachelors/bachelorettes with everyone else to keep it organic. Going into tapings, I know about the activities for that shoot, where we have to go, etc., but not beforehand, because we don’t want it to seem like I prepared.
LOL: You’re a mother of two. How do you balance your professional and personal lives?
CL: It’s hard to juggle, but I have a great support system in my mom and Mario’s mom. They help out when I need a break. Also, Mario is just so supportive. I’m such a hands-on mom that when I’m away from them for long periods of time, my heart hurts. But it also allows me to do something that I love, which makes me feel fulfilled and makes me a much better mom.
“Love & Salsa” premiers tonight and airs on NUVO TV on Tuesdays, 10/9c.
Britny Arevalo contributed to this story.