The Times is pleased to have Amy Purdy, who won a bronze medal in snowboardcross at the 2014 Paralympics, guest-blogging for us while she competes on "Dancing With the Stars" with pro partner Derek Hough. This week, Purdy talks about Week 5 of the competition, in an email Q&A.
Judging entirely by the rehearsal footage they air on the show, this seemed to be your most frustrating week. What has been the hardest part of appearing on the show?
The hardest part of appearing on the show has been when I’ve come upon times where my legs wouldn’t allow me to do what I wanted to do, to move the way I wanted to, the way I felt like I should be able to. That’s frustrating, feeling like I could do it, if not for my legs. That’s something I felt more than ever this week, because the nature of the waltz forced me into positions that were very challenging. But those feelings of frustration, which are feelings I have felt many times before in my life, are also the catalyst to getting creative and figuring out a way to do want I want to do, even when it appears that my prosthetics have reached their limits. That’s something that Derek has taken to very well throughout my time on the show, finding creative solutions. After my dance, I was a little emotional because each week we keep challenging ourselves to figure out a way to do more so when I saw that “10,” well, it’s a pretty special feeling to have worked so hard and see someone hold up a scorecard that essentially says, “You did it!”
You were in third place this week, continuing your run of strong performances. If someone came to you for dancing advice, what is the first tip you would give them?
Well, for starters, it’s harder than it looks, so find yourself an amazing, best-in-the-world dance partner like Derek and it will be a whole lot easier! I suppose I would say to really try to enjoy it, and to let the emotion that you are feeling inside flow out through the dance. I really try to feel each dance, to experience the emotion of it, rather than to just focus on the steps being right. Dancing is about expressing yourself, and the more walls you let down, the better. Have fun, that's what it's all about.
Some people on the Internet are becoming critical because they feel you are being judged differently than the other competitors. Do you feel that way at all, and how do you respond to those people?
Actually, each of the judges has said to me the exact opposite, that they will judge me based on my dancing and not on my story. In fact, that was the very first thing Len [Goodman] said to me and frankly, that’s how I want it. I’ve never wanted sympathy votes in anything I do in my life. I simply do the things that inspire me, be that snowboarding, designing clothing or dancing. As for how do I respond to those who want to throw stones, well, I don’t. I’ve said it many times before, I don’t spend much time or energy on things I can’t control and how people feel the judges judge me definitely falls into that category.
Let's say ABC starts a new show, "Snowboarding With the Great Athletes". How would Derek Hough do there as your partner?
There’s no doubt Derek would kill it. He snowboards already, so with his dancing ability, he would probably be doing spins in the air within the hour. LOL. He’s amazingly athletic and has an innate sense of timing and rhythm. That’s what you need to succeed on the snow. Sign me up… I’d be happy to have Derek as my student on the snow.
This week, I want to give a shout out to a special guest who joined me tonight, Abbey Umali. Abbey has bravely battled muscular dystrophy her whole life. You can read about her here: http://mda.org/bio/abbey-umali. She came to me via Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and an amazing program they’ve created called Team PossABILITIES (www.teampossabilities.org/). I was honored to have Abbey as my guest, especially on Disney Week!
You can vote for who you think should win "Dancing With the Stars" here.