Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is competing on season 24 of Dancing with the Stars — and blogging about her experience exclusively for PEOPLE! Follow Biles, 20, and her pro dancer partner Sasha Farber, 33, on Twitter!
I have spent almost my entire life pushing my body to its limits, but all my years of gymnastics training still did not fully prepare me for what it’s been like to do Dancing with the Stars.
Sasha has been an amazing teacher. He’s very patient and he knows when and how to push me. I’m getting the steps down that he’s teaching me, but there’s just so much more to dancing than I ever thought there would be.
I’m used to being sore, but I am going home from rehearsals with sore muscles that I never knew could get sore! In gymnastics, we’re barefoot the entire day in training. With dancing, my calves and shins are aching at the end of the day because of the heels.
The actual dance steps are becoming muscle memory but getting into the emotion of the dance has also been something I’ve had trouble with. For our first week, Sasha and I are dancing a tango. The tango is a passionate dance even for an experienced dancer, but this is really my first time even dancing with a boy!
I’m used to gymnastics where you’re either stone-faced or smiling from ear to ear the entire routine. Now, I’m having to tap into emotions that I really am not comfortable with. But we’ve been working on it.
As we head into tonight’s first live show I have a ton of nerves, but that’s just because it’s something new that I’ve never done before. I know when we get out there I’ll get into the same mindset that I have in gymnastics competitions: Ignore the noise and just go out there and do the routine you practiced. I’m super excited!
Dancing with the Stars‘ 24th season premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.