EDITORIAL: THANK YOU, DANCING WITH THE STARS

Staff reporter reflects upon the personal impact of famed TV show
Dancing with the stars professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy and season 25 star Victoria Arlen perform a contemporary dance joined by professional dancer and troupe member Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy to recreate Arlens childhood story. Photo used with permission from Julie Choi, agent of Unscripted Talent and Content, Val Chmerkovskiys PR team.
Dancing with the stars professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy and season 25 star Victoria Arlen perform a contemporary dance joined by professional dancer and troupe member Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy to recreate Arlen’s childhood story. Photo used with permission from Julie Choi, agent of Unscripted Talent and Content, Val Chmerkovskiy’s PR team.
Val Chmerkovskiy

Ballroom dancing, a social and intimate style of partner dancing, originated in Europe as a modification of country swing and folk to adhere to the elite social classes. The idolization of ballroom dancing heightened after the debut of a reality and competition series, “Dancing With the Stars”. Celebrities from diverse backgrounds are paired with professional dancers to learn the various styles of ballroom dance. 

Together, the couples undergo rigorous training and choreography, competing as a couple against other duos in a thrilling competition. Over 32 seasons, “Dancing With the Stars” has achieved significant milestones for television,and the dance industry. Each achievement has inspired me to reach for my own goals.

I distinctly remember the awe I felt when I first started to watch the series, I fell in love with the artistry of ballroom, but more specifically how it told a story through choreography and the quality of movement. I was amazed particularly because of two couples who profoundly inspired me. 

In Season 25, Former Paralympic swimmer and ESPN Personality Victoria Arlen partnered with professional dancer Valetin Chmerkovskiy to compete in the tough competition. Over the course of the season, Arlen courageously shared her story of childhood adversity. She had fallen ill, experiencing complete paralysis, and essentially “trapped” inside her own body. Despite these challenges, she persevered and over the years started to recover and about a year before she joined DWTS, she regained full mobility and function within her body.

Chmerkovskiy’s ability to convey emotions through dance is unparalleled. Arlen, embodying success and resilience, stands as a true inspiration.  Witnessing their journey, watching them navigate the challenges and joys of their journey was captivating. Beyond the dance floor I saw the relationship between Arlen and Chmerkovskiy flourish. Chmerkovskiy exhibited commitment, prepared to take risks and support Atlen in every way.  Their partnership transcended dance, becoming a testament to the ower of determination, teamwork, and friendship.

When I watched Arlen and Chermerkovskiy dance I was so inspired and deeply moved by the chemistry they exuded. During Week 4 of the season, Chmerkovskey created a masterpiece of a dance, ingeniously incorporating a wheelchair to symbolize Arlen’s admirable spirit. This was the first dance I watched of the pair and I was captivated by their performance. The dance began with such an emotional depth,  and when Arlen gracefully rose from the chair and the couple took their frame, she had the biggest smile on her face. It was a powerful moment that spoke volumes, showing me that she had triumphed, reaching her goals and defying odds.

Similarly on Week 9, the talented professional dancer and troupe member Jenna Johnson-Chmerkovskiy joined the duo, contributing to the heartfelt tribute dedicated to Arlen’s family. Johnson and Chmerkovskiy skillfully recreated the life Arlen had post-hospitalization, highlighting the unwavering support she received from her family.  Chmerkovskiy’s ability to convey emotions through dance is unparalleled. Arlen, embodying success and resilience, stands as a true inspiration. 

Witnessing their journey, watching them navigate the challenges and joys of their journey was captivating. Beyond the dance floor I saw the relationship between Arlen and Chmerkovskiy flourish. Chmerkovskiy exhibited commitment, prepared to take risks and support Atlen in every way.  Their partnership transcended dance, becoming a testament to the ower of determination, teamwork, and friendship.

To me, Dancing with the Stars isn’t just a competition show, it has impacted myself and others as an extension of dancing, creativity, and vulnerability. The show has become an example in my life as an encouragement to reach for my own goals and to never give up. It symbolizes the importance of hard work and dedication. I am forever grateful to the stars and pros that have helped me see my own dreams and skill set, and to the show for impacting my mindset in such a memorable way”.

 “Dancing with the Stars” has become a platform where individuals openly share their experiences, forging deep connections with the audience. I truly appreciate the show’s ability to adapt to societal changes. In 2021, DWTS made groundbreaking history by featuring the first same-sex partnership on television, marking a significant leap towards acceptance with in the U.S. dance industry

Social media star and singer JoJo Siwa teamed up with Johnson in Season 30. Johnson, a remarkable choreographer and teacher, showcased her creativity by crafting unique dances that excelled in the competition. Their inclusiveness and vulnerability resonated with me as a dancer and aspiring woman in a competitive industry. Siwa and Johnson not only promoted inclusivity but also demonstrated that achieving goals is possible, and not letting anyone tell you no, emphasizing the impact of small actions. Watching them dance as friends, infusing traditional ballroom energy into their pieces, was truly inspiring

To me, Dancing with the Stars isn’t just a competition show, it has impacted myself and others as an extension of dancing, creativity, and vulnerability. The show has become an example in my life as an encouragement to reach for my own goals and to never give up. It symbolizes the importance of hard work and dedication. I am forever grateful to the stars and pros that have helped me see my own dreams and skill set, and to the show for impacting my mindset in such a memorable way.

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