updated 03/18/2013 AT 9:15 AM ET
•originally published 03/18/2013 AT 10:30 AM ET
Lisa Vanderpump is a restaurateur, designer, author, philanthropist and star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She’s competing on season 16 of Dancing with the Stars with new pro Gleb Savchenko – and blogging about it on PEOPLE.com
Hello and welcome to you all!
As you know Dancing with the Stars season 16 starts Monday and I am part of the new cast. I can safely say that the most enjoyable part of the rehearsal process so far – apart from being wrapped around my gorgeous partner Gleb Savchenko for 10 days – is the camaraderie that is shared between everyone on the new season.
Dorothy Hamill is a darling of a woman, whom I have bonded with; boxer Victor Ortiz is hilarious – and basically everybody has so much support for one another. I have seen tears of frustration, outbursts due to nervousness and squeals of laughter as we marvel at this incredible experience we signed up for.
Physically, I have to admit it is challenging. The four to seven hours that I commit to each day are a necessity. I’m learning the routine, stretching and generally trying to morph into the dancer that I never was!
I assumed that I would fit the dancing into my busy schedule but not so – it really all just takes over your life. I have a new found respect for the professional dancers as I struggle to reach just a minuscule amount of the perfection they achieve!
But we’re all in the same boat. I congregate with my competitors in the tearoom, comparing notes and reassuring each other. We are all aware that we’re sailing in uncharted waters with our pros at the helm. I think that it is a unique bonding experience when you are all spending so much time together, trading thoughts and often questioning our sanity.