Daniela Ruah’s Kensi Blye Puts on Her Boogie Shoes for ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’

NCIS LA - Daniela Ruah
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Fun fact: Three years before joining the cast of NCIS: Los Angeles, Daniela Ruah won Dancing With the Stars in Portugal, where she grew up. In this week’s episode, she shows off her salsa skills when her character, agent Kensi Blye, goes undercover in a nightclub following a deadly shooting. We talked to the actress—who gave birth to her second child in September—about getting back on her dancing feet.

Did you know you were ready to boogie again?
I was very much in the dancing mood. Last year, they told me there was a salsa episode coming up for me. I’d just found out that I was pregnant, but it was too early to tell anyone. So I was like, “Oh my God, I’m so excited!” knowing I wouldn’t be able to do it. But they pushed the episode back. So I’d been looking forward to the episode for this entire season. Rehearsing for it reminded me how happy I am when I dance. It’s silly, but true.

When did you start dancing?
My mom put me in tap classes when I was 3 and that turned into going to ballet, and then we added jazz classes and modern dance. I did a little bit of everything but definitely not any Latin or ballroom dancing. That I learned on Dancing With the Stars.

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How does Kensi account for her smooth moves?
As I understand it, she goes out dancing with her girlfriends Cat, Mindy, Mandy, Tiffany and Tiffany—those are their names!—on the weekend. It’s a hobby.

What did your costars think?
Chris [O’Donnell] and LL [Cool J] came to the set at the end of the day and saw me in my little red dancey outfit and eyed me up and down going, “What’s going to come of this?” But they were super supportive. Eric [Christian Olsen, who is also Ruah’s real-life brother-in-law] was in the same boat—he knows how much I love it!

NCIS: Los Angeles, Sunday, April 9, 8/7c, CBS