Lindsay Arnold and former Chicago Cub, David Ross, took on the dance floor for the first time on the premiere of ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ This week — and every one to follow — Lindsay walks us through what happened behind the scenes.
Read Lindsay Arnold‘s entry on this week, and follow her on Instagram @lindsarnold.
Before I met David Ross, I can’t lie, I had no idea about baseball. I didn’t really watch it growing up. I wasn’t a huge baseball fan; when I met him, I didn’t know who he was. As soon as he told me he played for the Cubs, I was really stoked. The World Series game 7 is probably the first baseball game I actually sat down and watched from start to finish! Right off the bat, we hit it off friendship wise — I could tell we were really going to get along. We’re really similar in our personalities, we get each other. It’s easy to work together when you get along. Another thing that stood out after meeting him was that he reminded me so much of my dad, so it was really, really funny getting to know him. The things that they say, the way that they act, the things they joke about, it’s all very similar. I feel like I’m with family!
First day of rehearsal, it was hard. There’s never been a baseball player on the show, so there’s nothing really to gauge it off of. We’ve never seen what their range of motion is! He had never danced before, but day one, I could tell that there was potential. He could remember the steps very well and had great footwork. Remembering your choreography is half the battle on this show, so I was very happy! We’re training in Tallahassee which is his hometown; he and his wife are high school sweethearts, both from here, and it was really important to him after he retired, that he spend time with his family. So he agreed to do the show as long as we were able to train in Tallahassee, so that he could be around his kids. I got to know his family and that helped me get to know him a little more; it helped us connect on another level.
We went to LA about four days before the show, and that’s when I think things got really serious for him. I could tell that he all of a sudden went, “Oh my gosh, this is actually happening.” We had our wardrobe fittings, and one of the first things he said to me — seriously, day one — he said, “I will wear anything you ask of me, pink, purple, spandex, you’re the coach. I trust you.” That was kind of shocking but also music to my ears! So when he saw his Cubs jersey all rhinestoned-out, I think he was stoked.
When we had camera blockings, when we rehearse on the stage with all the cameras and lights, he was extremely nervous. It’s the first time performing with people and lights and cameras around. He got a little more comfortable as the day went on. I was a little more nervous on Monday than I have been in a while because that first show is so important, for the celebrity and for us as a partnership. We have to make our mark and prove to people that we should stick around and that he has potential. It’s also terrifying for the pros because we work with these celebrities and spends hours and hours practicing, but people react differently under pressure. Some people crack under pressure, some people rise to the occasion, and that first show is really the true test and that’s when us pros learn.
He seriously turned it on more than I’ve ever seen him do — that live dance was the best he’s ever danced. I wouldn’t say I was shocked, but I was so pleasantly surprised because he rose to the occasion. It shouldn’t really surprise me because he did win the World Series two times — he’s gotta be pretty good under pressure. It was extremely fun, and honestly the look on his face after we performed was so rewarding for me, because I could tell that he had so much fun. I feel like it made him excited for the experience.
We have the cha-cha next week, and he’s even more into it than he was before. He wants to be better. He wants to make sure that we don’t go down from where we were. We got pretty good scores, and I think we were tied for third against some professional dancers. This season on DWTS, we have celebs here that have danced their entire life. It’s really hard to go up against somebody who has been doing this their entire life. I was really proud of David for really making his mark on the show when he had no dance or performance experience coming in.
Keep coming back every week for more from Lindsay!