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A toe-tapping Quest for dance

By Producer Deborah Rivers
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(CNN) -- This month, we revisit one of Richard's most celebrated adventures as he sets out on a search for the world's best movers and groovers in a toe-tapping Quest to Dance.


Can Anton du Beke teach Quest to waltz?

He asks whether dancers are born with an ability to twirl their way to the top or if, by putting in some serious practice, anyone can learn to dance.

Richard discovers the importance of rhythm and discipline and whether his gangly legs are elegant or an impediment to grace.

In Las Vegas, he takes to the stage -- sequins and all -- with one of the city's most popular shows "Les Folies Bergeres."

Taking a few tentative steps -- some of which are in time -- he dons an elaborate and sparkly headpiece to look the part.

Glitzy and exotic costumes are a vital part of the troupe's long-standing casino revue and Richard gets a glimpse inside the showgirls' dressing room to find out how they prepare for their dazzling shows.

Next, Richard hopes for the time of his life with Patrick Swayze.

A lead-role in the hit 80s film "Dirty Dancing" made Swayze one of the world's famous on-screen dancers.

In the timeless classic, Swayze plays a hotel dance instructor who sweeps a teenage holidaymaker off her feet while teaching her to cha cha cha.

A love lesson, for sure, but it was the dancing that people remember.

Swayze pursued a career in dancing before becoming an award-winning actor. He tells Richard how he overcame personal tragedy to achieve success.

Every year, thousands of would-be performers head to New York in search of fame and fortune.

Many get their 15 seconds of glory but a long-lived career on stage is somewhat more elusive. Quest meets renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp.

The lithe 65-year-old's career has spanned more than five decades, choreographing more than 125 dances, five Hollywood films, two Broadway shows, written two books, won a Tony Award and two Emmys -- and been given a staggering 17 honorary doctorates.

The next Quest show airs
Saturday August 25 at 0600, 1400 and 1900; and Sunday August 26 at 0600 and 1900 ALL TIMES GMT

As well as giving insight into her impressive career, she also literally gives Richard a spin around her dance studio.

Still in New York, Richard meets the man whose life is characterized by Antonio Banderas in the movie "Take the Lead."

Dance teacher extraordinaire Pierre Dulaine has taught hundreds of disadvantaged youths to ballroom dance in a bid to instill some old-fashioned civility and decorum.

Learning the foxtrot and tango, says Pierre, also teaches respect and etiquette -- as well as keeping the teenagers out of trouble and off the streets. Though they start off reluctant, Pierre says the students eventually want to, "shake what their Mama gave them."

To Russia next, for some traditional dance and home of the world-famous Bolshoi Ballet.

While backstage, Richard witnesses long-limbs, tough toes and a real-life "Billy Elliot." In the film of the same name, a young boy escapes a grim mining town and dances his way into the Royal Ballet.

In a similar story, 15-year-old Henry Perkins becomes one of the first international students to be accepted into the Bolshoi Academy. The British teenager explains his strict training and his dream of becoming a principal ballet dancer.

During his quest, Richard realizes that he too must learn to dance -- or at least try.

Dancers from the popular British television series "Strictly Come Dancing" Anton du Beke and Erin Boag give Richard a lesson in the waltz, a dance he has always admired.

But can their lessons help him lose his extra left foot in time to compete with celebrities and professionals in front of 10,000 people on the American television show, "Dancing With The Stars?" E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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