These last two weeks leading up to the show have been pretty crazy. Between rehearsing and keeping all of my Olympic snowboarding commitments, I have been on the move. This past week, Chelsie flew with me to Utah to practice because I had a meeting in Park City with the U.S. Snowboard Team. After my meeting in Park City, we went straight to practice at Chelsie’s home dance studio, Center Stage, in Orem. After that, Chelsie and her Mom, who is super cool, came over to my house for dinner because my parents were in town. We were welcomed to an old fashioned Italian feast! Although, I had to pay for it with a 7 a.m. practice.
After that, I headed straight to a flight to Chicago for a United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Media Summit and I was stoked for airplanes and reclining seats — oh wait, my seat didn’t recline. I was really looking forward to a day off from rehearsing but that day turned out to be crazy busy with interviews and photo shoots for the upcoming Winter Olympics. Then 24 hours later it was back to L.A. to get serious for this last week of practice.
Dancing for me is coming along. Every day I feel like I am progressing and getting better. I am not going to lie though; I have had many frustrating moments. The one thing that dancing is teaching me, which I never thought I would learn, is how to deal with frustration. I am a competitive person, in ANY sport I do. What I am realizing is, I can’t expect to be an amazing dancer overnight. Although I think I am doing better than a lot of would have expected, I have to understand that I am not going to be Derek Hough in just a few weeks. OK, I can never be a Derek Hough. It is just crazy to me that something as simple as “shoulders down and head up” can be so hard. Sounds easy right?? That’s exactly my thoughts and why I am getting so frustrated. Chelsie tells me to relax, so I do, and that causes me to hunch my shoulders (because in snowboarding, that is what I do when I “relax.”)
Chelsie and I are different in a lot of ways, yet we are alike in even more. She is a perfectionist, and so am I. Being together for hours and hours EVERY SINGLE DAY in a small room, it is inevitable that we bump heads. It wouldn’t be normal if we didn’t. As a result, it forces us to communicate more and evaluate the situation and either change or fix it. We are constantly learning about each other and what works. She is a professional dancer and dancers are used to formal, strict, regimented methods of training. I, on the other hand, am a snowboarder and we are much more free-spirited in our approach — doing what we want, when we want — with our personal style. When all’s said and done, we bring the two worlds together and Chelsie is turning me into a ballroom dancer.
It is crunch time and now I am ready to step it up. Finally, I have all the steps down and it is now time to fine tune them and add a little extra flare. Moving my hips more in the salsa, watching what my hands do, getting my posture on point for the foxtrot and so on, will be my focus this week. Yes, I am not going to lie, I am nervous for the first show. How can I not be? I am doing something I am not comfortable with in front of the world on live TV. On the flip side, I am excited to get it going. I have been dancing every day, learning and listening for three weeks now and I am ready to show everyone what I can do. Whatever happens this first week, I have had more fun than I ever thought I would.
DWTS has forced me to step out of my comfort zone. I still don’t know what will think, but either way it’s all good to me. If you like what you see, vote for me. I don’t even care if you laugh at me, as I sometimes do just thinking of myself doing it; but if you do, at least give me your vote since I guarantee I will “entertain” you. SEE YOU ALL MONDAY!! –Louie Vito