"The body is done," Smirnoff tells PEOPLE after grueling practices for the quickstep

By Karina Smirnoff
September 30, 2013 02:00 PM
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Karina Smirnoff is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy in season 13 with J.R. Martinez. The longtime competitor is blogging for PEOPLE about competing with former High School Musical star Corbin Bleu in season 17.

Our quickstep for this week is very difficult. Our routine is fast and complicated. I want to use this routine as a statement to tell people we’re here to compete.

This dance is like P90X for us. Literally, at the end of every rehearsal, we’ll go outside and just sit in this one area for 45 minutes not moving. The body is done. Even my eyelashes hurt. But I think the dance is going to be so cool.

It’s Hollywood golden era week, so a lot of people will either be doing the quickstep or the Charleston or cha cha. Our story is hysterical. It’s changed about five times. It’s kind of a take on the casting couch. He’s the director and he comes in to lead the audition and I am the starlet who comes in for the audition. And the rest is history. We’re just going to say I got the part.

The jive last week was awesome. Corbin did such a great job. You know that it’s going to work out eventually, but in the beginning, it doesn’t look as good. But then as it gets to Saturday and Sunday, you see the final product starting to appear and you think, it’s going to be awesome! I got to wear a high school girl outfit. It wasn’t necessarily my favorite fantasy, but it definitely is up there.

We came in second overall for the two weeks combined, which is good because there’s still room to grow. When you’re in first, there’s nowhere to go but down.

Corbin and I are really funny together. It makes any rehearsal easier. When it’s only work, work, work, you get tired and bored.

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