"We have back-up plans for our back-up plans," the Dancing contestant says of preparing for this week

By Melissa Gilbert
Updated April 30, 2012 10:00 AM
Bob D'Amico/ABC

Hi all! I’m hoping everyone had a nice, productive week sprinkled with fun, family and quiet time.

My personal rollercoaster ride on Dancing with the Stars continued this week. Though now, it seems I am riding a rollercoaster that is suspended from up above with loops and twists and turns that I simply cannot see coming. So, I am just along for the ride abandoning all semblance of control.

This last week saw Maks’s injury become a real problem for “Team MGMC.” It is a situation that is constantly fluid and constantly changing. We have back-up plans for our back-up plans (an ocean of thank yous to Val Chmerkovskiy). In that way, we do have a modicum of control.

But … but … but … my poor partner! I know that he feels really bad. I also know that he is in pain. I know he is worried. Worried for me and for himself. He’s so strong and so courageous. He’s carried me through this competition by sheer will. He is the teacher. I am the student. He is bigger. I am considerably smaller. That has been our dynamic most of the time.

Now, our dynamic has changed a bit. As far as pain management and orthopedic issues go, I am the expert. In this area, I am the teacher and he is the student. So Maks has had to rely on me a bit more. I know that it has been exceptionally hard for him to do but we really, truly are partners in every possible sense of the word. Through all of this we have learned that we can lean on each other whenever we need. We have had the chance to really prove to each other just how much we care. The true beauty of it is, that it is unspoken. It simply is.

All of this aside, I don’t think we’ve ever worked harder. The competition has reached a whole new level of intensity. You have worked like crazy to keep us here and now we are really working like crazy to stay here for you.

Monday night we are dancing the Argentine tango. I am beyond sore, bruised like crazy, exhausted and flustered. At the same time, I feel like this may be our best dance yet. Maks has choreographed this routine brilliantly. It’s passionate, difficult, technically challenging and really, really beautiful. I do hope you enjoy watching it as much as I’ve enjoyed learning it – tears, bruises and all.

We have a second dance this week: the team dance. We are lucky enough to be part of Team Paso with William Levy, Cheryl Burke, Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd. Those rehearsals have been an absolute blast. I love, love, love, that we have the strongest men on the show on our team. I also really love having other women in the room! I have been absolutely surrounded by men on this show. It’s such a relief to have some “girl energy” around. And Cheryl and Peta are both funny, smart and brilliant dancers. In just two rehearsals, I’ve learned so much from them.

So, the dancing adventure continues! I am still so grateful to be here. May you all be well and happy until we meet again.

Melissa Gilbert