"I'm grateful he giggles instead of cries when he looks at me, but still!" Smirnoff writes in her exclusive DWTS blog

By Karina Smirnoff
Updated September 21, 2015 01:00 PM
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Karina Smirnoff is chronicling her experiences as a pro partner to jockey Victor Espinoza on

Dancing with the Stars21st season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Karina and Victor on Twitter!

Even though we only scored a 15 out of 30 last week, I think Victor and I did what we hoped to accomplish: entertain.

Being the first couple to perform on the first live show was a lot of pressure. Victor and I both have short attention spans so I knew I had to keep us in the zone during the time in between the opening number and our dance. I was kept telling him, “Let’s just stay focused for the next five minutes.” And the audience was yelling, “Victor! Victor!” And he was waving. And the music was about to start. I turned into the crazy woman yelling, “Concentrate! 5, 6, 7, 8 …”

But I couldn’t have asked him to do a better job. He didn’t miss a step. We had worked on that hip action for days. I told him that if his hips didn’t move on Monday, I was going to turn him into American Pharaoh and use the whip on him. So he definitely brought the hips to the ballroom.

Now that we have the first show under our belt, it is time to start peeling back the layers and showing different sides of him. This week is Hometown Glory Week, so these are very special dances. On Monday, the dances will focus on the celebrities’ stories, and on Tuesday the audience will get to learn more about the pro dancers’ lives.

RELATED VIDEO: Karina Smirnoff and Victor Espinoza Meet for the First Time on DWTS Season 21

For Victor’s dance, we are doing the jive. The dance and the music will really just be there to support the story because it is such an important week. We are focusing on where Victor is from and what kind of life he’s had and how he has been shaped into the man he is today.

For Tuesday, you’ll get to see pictures of the pro dancers from when we were little. I immigrated to America from the former Soviet Union so we didn’t have video cameras when I was growing up, but you’ll also see some dancers’ home movies.

That night, we’ll be dancing the dance of love, the rumba. We are still working on the romance part. I’ll tell Victor, “Grab me by the waist. Look me in the eyes.” And he does and he starts giggling. I’m like, “You don’t giggle when you’re in love!” I’m grateful he giggles instead of cries when he looks at me, but still!

With two pairs going home this week, I think the part that sucks the most is that one pair will have worked all week on learning their dance for Tuesday for nothing.

For us, I’m prioritizing the Monday dance because if we don’t do well on Monday, we wont even get to perform Tuesday. But by tonight both dances need to be on-point, regardless. We’ll probably have to go back to the studio after the show tonight to refresh our minds with everything we have to do on Tuesday. That’s a lot of pressure, but I’m confident we can do what we need to do.

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) and Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.