Doug Pullen

Dmitry Chaplin, who has starred on "Dancing With the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance," spent last New Year's Eve performing with other TV dance stars in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

"It was beautiful, but it just turns into work," he said. "The good thing is, you celebrate after."

This year, he'll spend New Year's Eve performing -- and celebrating -- with stars from those shows and "American Idol" at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero, N.M.

The 30-year-old Emmy Award-winning, Russian-born ballroom dancer -- singer Mya's partner when she finished second on season nine of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2009 -- will host and dance in "Ballroom With a Twist" at 11 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Inn. Tickets cost $75 for the early show, $125 for the late show and are on sale at the Inn and through Ticketmaster, and 800-745-3000.

Chaplin will be joined by former "Idol" contestants Gina Glocksen and Von Smith; "Dancing With the Stars" pro Ashley Costa, who coached Buzz Aldrin in season 10; and dancers Jonathan "Legacy" Perez, Jonathan Platero and Randi Strong from "So You Think You Can Dance."

Chaplin described "Ballroom With a Twist," created and mostly choreographed by "Dancing" pro Louis Van Amstel, as a "fast-moving" combination of all three shows. It features a variety of ballroom, Latin and contemporary dances, including the foxtrot, tango and quickstep, and includes an audience participation section.


The tour comes at a busy time for Chaplin, a product of Russia's competitive ballroom dance scene, who moved to the United States at age 17. He'll return as a choreographer for the next season of "So You Think ..." and will make a guest acting appearance on the Jan. 14 episode of Fox's "Bones."

He's also hoping to be invited back to "Dancing With the Stars," one of TV's top-rated shows, on which he's been partnered with celebrities three times.

"Of course, if I get invited, I'd love to do it again," he said while Christmas shopping in Los Angeles.

But first, he's got a couple of New Year's Eve shows to do high up in the mountains, and he's looking forward to that.

"I have not had this experience, but I've had some people telling me that they go to do a show and the people are just so bored," he said. "That definitely doesn't happen on New Year's Eve. People are happy."

Here are some other happy ways to ring in the New Year.

Hyundai Sun Bowl

For the 15th straight year, the city's tourism types will start the celebrations early with a free pep rally -- including food, fireworks and bands -- from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the convention center.

The first New Year's Eve party starts early, and 50 feet up, with the the second Sun Bowl Sky Party from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday atop the Sun Bowl Drive parking garage. Riboflavin will play, and local restaurants, including Crave and Delicious Mexican Food, will serve up the pre-game grub.

The 79th annual Hyundai Sun Bowl game, at noon Monday in UTEP's Sun Bowl stadium, pits the 7-5 USC Trojans (how the mighty have fallen) and 6-7 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, last year's Sun Bowl loser. Rising country star Lee Brice plays the halftime show. Tickets: $15-$60, plus service charges, at the box office and through Ticketmaster outlets, and 800-745-3000.

Ardovino's Desert Crossing

One of the El Paso area's classiest joints, the Sunland Park restaurant will add special selections to its menu, with three seatings starting at 5 p.m. Monday. There will be a Champagne toast at midnight, and acoustic music by Arturo Garibay and Joe David Reyes. There's no cover charge, just the cost of your meal and drinks. 575-589-0653,


The L.A. band (and State Department cultural ambassadors) like to mix it up: a little rock, a little funk, a little reggae and a lot of Latin influences. They'll mix it up Monday with a freebie at the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center, 122 S. Old Pueblo near the Ysleta Mission. Doors open at 6 p.m.; music starts at 9. It's an 18-and-older show, with free bubbly, finger good, party favors and 700 pounds of confetti for when the clock strikes midnight., 860-7777.

Blue October

With a new single, "Light You Up," and album in the works, don't be surprised if the Texas rockers road-test some new songs when they perform a free, two-hour New Year's Eve show at Speaking Rock's Socorro Entertainment Center, 11200 Santos Sanchez. Expect to hear hits, too, including "Calling You," "Hate Me" and "Dirt Room." It's an all-ages show. Doors open at 6 p.m. and opener Iamdynamite goes on at 9. Free party favors, finger food and Champagne will be served, with another 700 pounds of confetti for the magic moment. 790-4000,

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

There won't be any horse racing on Monday (they'll do that today, Saturday, Sunday and New Year's Day), but the track's Signature Showroom will host its annual New Year's celebration starting at 6:30 p.m. Dinner is at 7, with the velvety smooth R&B of Sha'Vone and the Vibe at 9.

It costs $35 per person, $250 for a table of eight, and includes dinner, party favors and a Champagne toast. It's for 21 and older only. 575-874-5200,


More raconteur than joke-teller, the quick-witted comic will headline Bart Reed's 26th annual New Year's Eve comedy show at the El Paso Comic Strip, 1201 Airway, at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Monday. Gretchen Hess opens. Tickets: $10 for the early show, $20 for the late one, which includes party favors and a midnight Champagne toast. B.T. and Hess also yuk it up at 8:30 and 10:45 p.m. today and Saturday ($12 cover) and 7:30 p.m. Sunday ($8). 779-LAFF,


New to El Paso's small but growing list of New Year's Eve events is the outdoor ball drop at Lotus Nightclub, 201 N. Stanton, at 9 p.m. Monday.

It's a combination street party, dinner and dance. Stanton Street will be closed between Texas Avenue and Mills Street so crowds of 18-and-older partiers can mill about in heated tents for the big drop. There will be a four-course dinner at Oliver's, plus food at House of Pizza and the Percolator. Local bands and DJs, including Biscuit Roller and Julian V, will perform.

Tickets: $10 general admission; $25 for a club package (21 and older); $50 VIP package (includes Champagne); $100 dinner package (seating at 9). Tickets are on sale at Foliage, the Headstand, Hommework, the Percolator and


El Paso's pre-eminent Latin jazz band is moving its annual New Year's Eve dance to the scenic Event Center behind First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison. The 9 p.m. Monday bash includes a three-course dinner, party favors, a Champagne toast, cash bar and, of course, sweet music. Cost: $50. It's a benefit for the Knights of Columbus Chapter 6711. 691-0575.

Kirko Bangz

Power 102 hopes to "Keep It Trill" by bringing in the Texas rapper in to perform at its "Party Like the Gods" New Year's Eve party at 9 p.m. Monday at Ambrosia Night Club 3233 N. Mesa, near UTEP. 18 and older. Tickets: $30 in advance (may be sold out); $40 at the door from 9 to 11 p.m.; $50 after that. 408-7325,

The Network

The bar at 317 N. Mills, "where professionals play," will have visual art, the Diable Chaton go-go dancers, DJs, dinner and a ball drop for its "The Ultimate New Year Experience" bash, hosted by Golden Goose Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio. It starts at 9 p.m. Monday. 532-0466,

Doug Pullen may be reached at; 546-6397. Read Pullen My Blog at Follow him at @dougpullen on Twitter.