On Monday’s week five episode, the U.S. Olympic gymnast performed a beautiful contemporary number with pro partner Sasha Farber. But mastering the dance — and earning the high score of 38/40 from judges — was a process that she had to personally go through.
In a video package from the past week of rehearsal, cameras captured the tension and stress that both Biles and Farber had to overcome together.
“There’s no dedication. Like, it looks like you’re angry,” Farber told Biles her during rehearsals.
“Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with Sasha pushing me,” Biles admitted. “I’ve just be so shut off and I don’t really voice my opinion very well.”
“Ever since the Olympics, I haven’t had a break,” said 20-year-old Biles.
“Why don’t you ask me for a break?” Farber, 33, questioned.
“Because I’m scared,” she told him in the video package. “Sometimes I feel like in practice, you get super excited and and I just like — slow down.”
But that was a learning moment for the celebrity-pro pair, who rehearsed throughout the past week to master the contemporary number to the tunes of Moana‘s “How Far I’ll Go,” which was sung live on the show by Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced the character.
“I think Simone is finding her voice. She’s standing on her own two feet, just like Moana did,” Farber explained.
Added Biles: “I’ve matured a lot since week one. I think it’s a work in progress, but it’s a start.”
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Channeling Moana from the Disney animated film on Monday night, Biles donned an orange two-piece costume for the performance.
“What a great routine. Sasha, it was a smasha,” said judge Len Goodman about the dance. “It absolutely floated my boat.”
Julianne Hough added: “To me, that was well done to Moana, well done to Simone.”
Carrie Ann Inaba also continued with the positive praises: “Such a great way to end Disney night with all of this uplifting. … It was such a high-energy, beautiful, powerful, yet poetic dance. You were fantastic, Simone.”
Speaking with press after the performance, Biles told PEOPLE that, “Practice was a little rough this week. We saw I nailed him in the face and ran out crying. It’s been a rough week — just tiring — but we pushed through” and added, “This was the hump that we had to get over. Everyone was a little tired but then you’re motivated again once we get over the hump, which we did. Hallelujah.”
“This girl hasn’t stopped. Just because she had the Olympics, that is four years of preparation to get to the Olympics and then to do the Olympics and then get to this, I feel like her body is kind of shutting down too because it’s halfway through the season,” Farber chimed in, and added, “but after this performance I feel like she’s re-energized this week.”
Biles also admitted that “it was scary” for her to speak up in practice. “They really pushed my buttons and got it out of me,” she said about disclosing her feelings. “I don’t like to speak out because I’m such a hard worker. I’d rather just push through the hard times rather than say anything.”
Although Biles felt as though her pro partner was pushing her to her limit, Farber said, “there’s no way I could push her too hard. She’s pushing me hard!”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.