Parrish and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy will be portraying Romeo and Juliet for their contemporary dance this week

By Janel Parrish
November 03, 2014 07:30 AM
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Janel Parrish is best known for playing Mona Vanderwaal on the TV drama Pretty Little Liars. She’s been paired with pro Val Chmerkovskiy for season 19 of Dancing with the Stars, and she’ll be blogging for PEOPLE about her experience on the hit ABC show.

Channeling Mona for last week’s dance was second nature to me because I’ve been playing that character for five years. It was fun to bring that character to Dancing with the Stars because it’s really fun to play a villainous character. Val was like, “Why do I have to die in this dance?” And I was like, “Because I’m the villain, and someone has to die!” So it was really fun for me – maybe not so much fun for him!

It feels like we’ve been getting a mixed bag of comments from the judges recently. It’s totally fine and everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but the thing that bummed us out the most was the comment about it not being a true Viennese waltz. It was a Halloween special – so obviously we did have a little bit of the Halloween feel to add to the entertainment part of the dance – but I felt like Val did an amazing job of creating amazing Viennese waltz choreography to add to the story. I was a little bit bummed for him that we got that comment.

It was challenging enough having to learn two dances last week, but this week we’ve had to learn four dances! Three of the dances are for the dance-off, so we all have to learn the cha-cha, the rumba and a jive, and then the style is picked for us when we get to the show on Monday night. We’ve been preparing and polishing three dances not knowing which one is going to be chosen, and then the fourth dance is our competition piece. It feels like there’s never any time for one dance, let alone four, but we’ll get it.

Because I have so many dances to learn, I wasn’t able to take off a day of rehearsals for my birthday last Thursday. It’s been insane, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get things ready! Val was great though. He first surprised me with a bouquet of flowers and 26 balloons, and then I went home and there were more flowers on my doorstep. I think he felt bad that he had to rehearse me so hard on my birthday!

This week we’re doing a contemporary dance for our competition piece. I feel a lot more comfortable in contemporary because I don t have to work on my frame, which is my biggest weakness, but Val isn t a contemporary dancer so he’s been stressing about the choreography. However, I think the choreography he’s created is beautiful.

It’s dynamic duo week and we’re playing Romeo and Juliet, so it’s going to be beautiful and romantic. I’m very excited. The song is “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good),” and it’s a song from the movie adaptation Romeo + Juliet.

I’m really looking forward to our contemporary piece. I’m going to love dancing it with Val, and I think it’s going to end up being my favorite one so far!

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