For week one, Witney opens up about her new partnership with Denver Broncos football player Von Miller, their Foxtrot and making sure her partner is cool and calm for the premiere show.
“I’m really, really excited. I feel like the premiere, especially, gives me the most butterflies. Everyone is just so pumped to see what the celebrities are going to do because it’s their first dance. Everyone is just anticipating what they’re going to do. This is most excited that I’ll probably be…except for the finale. It’s really exciting though. We’ve been working really hard for these past two weeks and we’re going to give it our all and Von is pumped and excited as well. It should be a really fun premiere.
“I was really excited to be partnered with him. At first, I did not know him by name when the producers told me which celebrity I had. I had to do some researching, which was embarrassing (laughs). I’m excited though because I’ve never had an athlete before as a partner. They tend to do really well on the show and my expectations are high. Von is such a super fun, easy going, loving guy and he works really hard.”
Click inside to read the rest of Witney Carson‘s blog…
“I don’t think that anyone is prepared for this show, no matter what their genre. However, I definitely think that being a part of any kind of sport does help you in the dance world because you’re able to perform. Every day on game day, all the rehearsal that you’ve done up to that point depends on that game. I think that in that regard, Von is a little more prepared because he knows how to perform, and that’s something that’s hard to teach somehow if they’ve never performed before. Granted though, Von has never danced in his entire life. Which is actually rewarding for me because all of my past partners have had some sort of dance training. They’ve either been singers or dancers that dance a little bit on stage, then Alfonso [Ribeiro], who’s had tap lessons since he was a kid. Now with Von, I can see the growth from someone who knew nothing about dancing to eventually becoming a dancer. It’s been good and the reward is just looking at him, realizing he’s becoming a dancer.
There’s always challenges with a new partner and you’re having to adapt to their personality. With Von, it took a little bit for me to get to know him. If you just meet him, he’s very reserved and a little bit shy. So you have to take the time to get to know him and let him get to know you, and then after that, he’s just a silly, fun guy. Dance wise, he’s an amazing student. I have to say, he’s possibly my favorite student on Dancing With The Stars that I’ve ever taught. Just because he’s so with you. If you say something for him to do, he will automatically do it without question. He’s like ‘Yes, coach, yes.’ He’ll just do it. In that regard, he’s really great at that.
He does pick up the choreography really quickly, but it’s not about how quick you get the steps, it’s about doing them right. It’s just very foreign to him. I mean, football players aren’t really familiar with pointing their toes or straightening their legs. All the proper techniques that you need to be a ballroom dancer, they aren’t used to that. It’s not necessarily getting the steps, it’s getting the steps correctly that takes a lot of repetition.
One of the challenges we’re working on is that he likes to take a lot of breaks and I don’t. That’s something we have to work on. During football practice, he’ll do like a five-second run and he’ll go get water. Then he’ll do it again. With me though, I like a rehearsal flow so I don’t take a break for at least a couple of hours. I think that’s something he’s going to have to get used to. We’re working it out.
For the show, I try to stay calm and stay focused on my partner. It gets really crazy backstage at the show where everyone is running around everywhere, people are pointing you in directions of where to go and what to do. There are interviews over there and camera blocking over here; it’s very overwhelming on show day. There’s a lot of people and a lot of excitement, so you’ve got to try and stay calm and just be with your partner. Sometimes, I won’t even necessarily practice with my partner (in past seasons), but I’ll just sit down with them and look at the video and go over the dance and make sure that he is mentally prepared for the night. I don’t really have a method personally, but making sure that my partner is good, and he’s relaxed. Lots of deep breaths and lots of prayers.
We have the Foxtrot for the premiere, and I personally love the Foxtrot. It’s got a certain style to it that is completely different than any of the other styles. It’s so classy and it moves really well on the floor. For the premiere, we’ve got a pretty good song that normally we wouldn’t do as a Foxtrot, but because it’s the premiere, they’re like ‘Hey, can you do a Foxtrot to this?’ We just kind of made it work. I want it to be a different Foxtrot than what you see normally because it is the premiere and we’ve got to make it big and we’ve got to make it stand out. I want Von to stand out with every dance number that we do. It’s not your normal Foxtrot.”
Dancing With The Stars premieres TONIGHT, March 21st @ 8PM ET/PT on ABC. Vote for Von and Witney at 1-800-868-3411.