Then back to a dance rehearsal at a studio; we did a run-through of each dance two times, and Maksim was like, "We are done. You know the steps. Sorry I was tough when we worked at the stage today, but you are not an intellectual in dancing. I don’t mean that in a dismissive way—what you are is emotional. I wanted to prepare you for the nerves and any complications you will encounter on the day." I asked then, "Well, how do you think it’s looking. . . am I good yet?" And he said, "No, you still are looking down, your walk is lifeless, your New York attitude is nonexistent—but it’s good enough. . . bye . . see you on Monday! Kiss kiss, ciao!"
I was speechless. I sat there alone in the studio, contemplating everything. . . Did I work hard enough? Did I talk too much, and blow my time getting to know my partner when I should have been designing my schedule in a way that was more focused? After all that I had to go get a spray tan over my sweaty body, before returning home to collapse (no shower allowed till the next morning). My sheets turned orange and it stunk, like floral douche mixed with old pancake batter.
On Tuesday, the day we performed, Maks and I had to be there at the crack of dawn because we were first up. That was our first time rehearsing with the orchestra, and that was sort of a gift to me because I love music and to hear it live was fantastic. The bad news was that I’d been rehearsing to a CD of Tito Puente, and the punctuation marks of certain moves were not timed out; it really threw me off. It was a good wake-up call to realize that no matter what the orchestra is doing, I have to just follow Maks and stay on time with him.
I went back to the makeup trailer kind of nervous. I’m not used to allowing makeup artists full reign on my look. They’re very talented, but the look of ballroom is so drag-like — the lashes so heavy, the makeup so tan and hard, it made me kind of uncomfortable. I felt like I looked like Joan Crawford. That said, I wanted to do what I was told and give it a chance.
Also, during rehearsal my neck got pulled yet again. It started to throb and they gave me ice packs and ibuprofen. By the time showtime came along I felt OK.
Then, bam, it’s my time! I get on the stage and everything’s going great—my kick is high, the entrance is perfect, I run down the steps, I go to push Maks—and all of a sudden I lose my footing. I almost fall on my butt, and Maks sees this happening and he adjusts me on camera. I was quite stunned he would do that, because it breaks the routine. In my mind I’m thinking, "I just screwed up and everybody knows it!" But I forgot about the fact that nobody knows what our routine actually is. I tried hard to catch up and it took me a minute, but I lost all of my footwork, which is something that’s very important for the judges.
In the foxtrot relay, my neck started to feel it once again. I had to throw my head back and look up at the third floor balcony, so to speak, and it was killing me. I was quite happy with the result, though. The best thing was coming home—my daughters, who are three and seven, ran out of bed and said, "Mommy, come talk to us. You were so great. Where’s your red sparkly dress? Did you bring it home?" I explained that I couldn’t bring it home yet but when I did they could both play in it.