Rockville, Md., Oct. 6 – Dancing with the Stars Guilty Pleasures Night hit the screens with a bang showcasing knock-out performances by the remaining 11 couples.
Two contestants with disabilities earned high scores and top-notch reviews from the judges.
Victoria Alan, Paralympian
Paralympic swimmer Victoria Alan (Val Chmerkovski) attacked the dance floor with enthusiasm and determination as she performed a Quickstep to her guilty pleasure song Tub Thumping. Diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis as a teen, she was speechless and motionless for four years. After using a wheelchair for ten years, she began to gain feeling in her body and to walk again a year ago. She is famous for winning silver and gold medals in the London 2012 Paralympics.
Alan dedicated her dance to proving how she overcome being bullied in school when she was the new kid in the wheelchair, but, with friends who had her back, she would get back up when she was knocked down. Her quickstep was filled with enthusiastic energy and positive attitude even though Alan was frightened when she was told she was going to do the Quickstep. After her performance, she said her feet moved the fastest ever in 12 years. Judges praised her for her effort and triumph in surpassing the challenge of the dance, but gave her comments to improve on for the next week. Her dance earned her a score of 22/30.
Lindsey Sterling, Violinist
Violinist Lindsey Sterling (Mark Ballas) danced a Jive to Jitter Bug earning her pajama-themed dance the honor of “best dance of the season” from head judge Len Goodman. She also earned smashing reviews from the rest of the judges about her remarkable dancing and how she lights up the room with her dancing and smiles. Sterling has spoken publicly about her struggle with anorexia, which she said got out of control when she started counting calories during her freshman year of college. Her dance earned her a score of 27/30.
Alan and Sterling are just two examples of how Dancing with the Stars is part of a group of reality television shows leading the way in busting stigmas on disability. The series airs on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.