There was a little bit of heightened expectation coming into the show’s first week and I felt a little bit of pressure because I’m not a very good dancer. People were under the assumption that I have had some form of dance training. A lot of skaters have, but I have never had any.
I had no experience before I did the show and I was concerned about that. I talked to Anna Trebunskaya and we made sure we put in extra hours before that first show. I felt great, but we had three weeks to get ready for that one waltz and now we’ve had one very busy week to get ready for the jive.
On Friday, Anna and I took a break from rehearsals to travel to my hometown of Naperville, Ill., for Evan Lysaceck Day! It was so special. There were some fun celebrations, including going back to my old school, Neuqua Valley High. They presented me with the school’s first-ever Distinguished Alumni Award.
I can barely put into words how much it meant to me. It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It was fun to celebrate, but even more, it was an opportunity for me to say thank you to my former teachers and people in the community who were so instrumental in my growth and success. I could not have won the gold medal in Vancouver last month without their support.
Anna and I got on a plane that night and headed back to L.A., so we could continue working on our next dance, the jive. If this week is any indication, I’m going to have my work cut out for me. I say that because next Wednesday Anna and I will hit the road together again for Stars On Ice. I have a brand new routine for that show, which kicks off April 1 in Fort Meyers, Fla. Mark Ballas has become a good friend of mine and he kindly choreographed it for me to Michael Jackson’s “Man In the Mirror.” I’m very happy with it because I think it sends a very positive, uplifting message.
During the day, Anna and I rehearse our jive routine. Then from 11 p.m. until about one in the morning, I hit the ice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, Calif., for a few hours to work on the skating show. I have been getting everything mixed up to the point where Anna added another rehearsal Sunday so we could go over the jive again.
The jive is difficult, but it’s fun. I get to look my partner right in the eyes a lot of the time. In the waltz we were trying to be true to the technique and always been in the frame where we were looking away from each other. But with the jive, it’s high energy and fun music, so I want to focus more on smiling and performing for the crowd. It’s just that the steps are pretty difficult to master. But I’m determined to get it right because I usually do well under pressure.
It’s only week two and already I feel the cast has become like a family. We’re always together and we’re always having a good time. Like my fellow cast mates, I definitely want to stay on the show. So please don’t forget to tune in and vote, vote, vote!