A belated Dancing With The Stars wrap-up (including some surprising facts)

DancingRegular readers know that I’m quite fond of Dancing With The Stars.  I like it on several levels.  First, it’s what I call a “getting it right” show.  The stars begin as neophytes, and through a lot of hard work, all get better and some get totally wonderful.  Second, I love watching dancing and the pros on this show are really good.  Third, I like the camaraderie that develops on the show.  It most certainly could be faked, but I actually don’t think so.  These people are living in each other’s back pockets for weeks at a time, and they seem to enjoy each other’s company.  Given how much I liked the show, I thought I’d share a season wrap-up with you, including a few facts and tidbits that aren’t so obvious.

This season, after a lackluster start, proved to be one of the most exciting Dancing With The Stars seasons I’ve watched.  While those who dropped out early were an unimpressive bunch (although I think Randy Couture should have lasted much longer than he did), the four stars going into the finals proved to be really exciting dancers who matured beautifully during the short season.  Here’s a bit about each of those four:

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Once again, Amy Purdy’s turn on Dancing With The Stars blew me away

0709-amy-purdy-1836Maybe I’m overestimating the difficulty of doing a fast swing dance with two prosthetic legs, but all I can say is that, when I watch Amy Purdy, I am beyond impressed.  She’s the one who caught meningitis when she was 19, lost both legs below the knee, and went on to become a champion paralympic snowboarder.  Now, she’s trying to become a Dancing With The Stars champion.

I don’t know that Amy will win, because there are some better dancers on the show, but it’s not always clear on DWTS that dancing is what it takes to win.  Last season, Amber Riley won, even thought she wasn’t the best dancer.  She was good enough, but Corbin Bleu was an extraordinary dancer — but she won.  Amber’s strength was facial expression and upper body movement.  Purdy has all that . . . plus she can dance. (And it doesn’t hurt that she’s working with Derek Hough who is quite possibly the best choreographer working in America today.)

Amy Purdy’s cha-cha on Dancing With The Stars

I’ve mentioned here before my fondness for Dancing With The Stars.  I really enjoy watching people learn a new skill, and I enjoy watching ballroom dancing.  This season, I was completely blown away watching Amy Purdy do the cha-cha:

Nice cha-cha, right? If you were paying close attention, you might also have noticed something about Amy Purdy: she was dancing on prosthetic legs. She caught meningitis when she was 19 and had both her legs amputated below the knees. She just won a snowboarding bronze at the Paralympics in Sochi, and now she’s on Dancing With The Stars.

Derek Hough is the perfect partner for Amy. He’s probably the best choreographer in America today, as well as being one of the best dancers. That combination will enable him to come up with all sorts of wonderful ways to work around her prosthetics. I look forward to watching Purdy for however long she lasts on this season’s show.

Because I am a pedant, I instantly used Amy to remind my children that attitude isn’t everything, but it’s almost everything. We all come into the world with certain gifts — academic intelligence, athletic abilities, artistic sensibilities, organizational abilities, etc. — but they are meaningless if we do not put any effort into cultivating those gifts, and it’s our attitude that enables us to do the hard work of cultivation.