Frank Opperman lost 7kg on DWTSSA and says he’s leaving without making his name too 'gat'


Cape Town – On Sunday night South Africa's Ouboet, Frank Opperman, became the 8th celebrity contestant to be voted out of Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net (DStv 101).

Channel24 spoke with Frank Opperman, who was paired with the professional dancer Jeanné Swart during the show, as he shared about "dancing with divas" – in a good way, giving up smoking, drinking and even elevator rides, how early on he actually contemplated leaving the show, and how he maybe could have worked harder but also couldn't.

Is there anything you think you could have done differently?

No, sjoe. No. I could have worked harder but I couldn't. I was too tired. Physically, I've got a sore ankle this morning. The physical side of it was rather hectic for me. 

What has the experience been like for you?

It was one of the most – I was thinking just now, it was better that a 10-step programme, that is how lekker it was to me. It was the most wonderful experience that one could have. I hated it as well but sjoe, it was a lekker challenge – to keep up with it. I'm very, very grateful to have been part of an outing like that. 

Can you talk a bit about the bond and trust between you and your dance partner?

My dance partner, Jeanné Swart put her life into my hands at times! What one was doing, it felt to me like little stunts, like in a movie scene. And I would lift and swing her around, the faith that she had in me to do that was really amazing. She's a real hardcore dancing girl who would put her whole body on the line for us to get a nice move. And if you're going to miss, you're going to hurt somebody, so that was very interesting.

How do you feel about being voted out?

I was relieved, sjoe, it's really hectic. And I know those other kids dance so beautifully. And I was just exhausted. I thought it's too much dancing now, I couldn't keep up. To me, early in Dancing with the Stars SA I wanted to duck and dive and then it started getting into your blood and then you try harder, but sjoe, no, I was exhausted. And it was long days. Those youngsters work up to 14 hours a day and that shows why they get to dance like divas! So it's really, really hard work to physically crack that. 

What do you think of the judges?

Ag, excellent people. Everybody should go and have a look at Brian Watson on YouTube – him and his partner did an amazing jive. He was the reigning world champion for 9 years. They were amazing people, I had a fun time with them.


What was the hardest for you?

The hardest thing about it was the time, the physical thing, and to dance in front of people and you know Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net is live – there’s no take number 2 here. And if you're going to let somebody slip, jy kan jou naam lekker gat maak. You know, that kind of pressure to it, definitely was so hard. And I'm just so fortunate that I left there without making my name too gat, because dancing is a hectic thing. I've got a lot of respect for people that can do that.

How did your body change?

I lost 7kg. I'm so supple at the moment. I haven't taken an elevator or something for like 3 months, and I haven't smoked. And I haven't been drinking and everything, so I'm in tip-top shape besides a little bit of an ankle issue this morning and that's from trying to do a Charleston where you have to swing your foot in and out. But it's all good, you know.

What did you not expect about this journey?

Actually the whole thing, you know. The whole thing was a surprise to me. I was kind of asked nicely do be in it, and in a moment of madness, I said "Okay, I'll do this". I thought "Ag, go change the start of your year". It's been the same for 15 years. I start with an arts festival and do a show. And this year I started off without having to learn lines or anything, all I had to do is move my body around. It was an experience and a half!

What did you learn about yourself?

I'm amazed at the body and how muscle memory works. It's one of those things where you can't go and learn a manual. You've got to do it physically. It's like playing a guitar or somebody that does something – you’ve got to go and actually practice this thing physically, you can't read a manual. I thought, "Wow, I impressed myself being able to do this".

Catch Dancing with the Stars SA on Sunday at 17:00 on M-Net (DStv 101).

(Photos: Supplied by Cathy Pinnock/M-Net)