Aly Raisman, Mark Ballas
Len Goodman wants Aly Raisman to stick her butt in on Dancing with the Stars — but that won't happen this week. "It's Latin Night and we have the salsa, so you have to move your butt," she tells TVGuide.com. "Sorry, Len!" But butt-shaking isn't the only thing the Olympic champ is focused on this week. Find out what else she and Mark Ballas have planned.
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How's the salsa going?
Aly Raisman: Good. I've been traveling this week, so it's been kind of crazy. We practiced until 12:15 a.m. Friday. But the salsa's going really well. I love these fast, fun dances, so I feel very good about it.
You said you really liked the samba and cha-cha. Is there anything you can take from those and apply here?
Raisman: Mostly just the performance aspect. I know I have to let myself go out there. But they're very different dances even if they might look slightly similar. I found myself doing the bouncing technique like in the samba, which is wrong in the salsa, so Mark's been really working with me on technique. I really want to nail the technique this week. I'm really happy with how I've been doing, but I want to do a clean routine. It's Week 7 and we're more than halfway done, so you want to step it up and show your improvement.
Is it a straightforward salsa?
Raisman: I don't know. [Laughs] Our routine is also very, very crazy! I laugh just thinking about it. We're going to dance like no one's watching.
So your butt will be sticking out.
Raisman: [Laughs] Yeah, so hopefully my butt will be an advantage this week!
Are you happy it's Latin Night and not Ballroom Night so you don't have to work on that this week?
Raisman: [Laughs] Sort of. Yeah, in the Latin dances, you have to use your butt. The more you shake it, the better. It's funny because in gymnastics, the judges would always tell me that my butt was sticking out too much too, so I thought it was funny that they gave me the same correction. The thing is, Mark said could feel my hips [in our foxtrot] so it was correct. But, you know, sometimes you can't really help it. There were also, like, 12,000 crystals on my ballgown, so that obviously added to the volume and weight. I loved the gown though.
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And you guys won the team dance. How did that feel after your first rehearsal was a total bust?
Raisman: That was awesome. I think the Team Samba was my favorite dance this season so far. It was so much fun. We were all hysterically laughing the whole time. I love the '70s clothing. The guys' mustaches were hilarious! Mark is obsessed with his. I would've worn an afro, but they didn't have that much. I always knew it would come together at the end I totally trusted the pros. They are so creative. I watched Derek [Hough] with Shawn [Johnson] and Kellie [Pickler], and he's amazing. Mark is my partner, so I know what he's capable of. Sharna [Burgess]' done a fantastic job with Andy [Dick], and Peta [Murgatroyd]'s very creative. They had a lot of great ideas. It was just about finding the right one and honestly, I think we were all just tired the first night!
How did you feel about Victor [Ortiz] leaving?
Raisman: We all miss him. We miss everyone. He and Lindsay [Arnold] were really, really fun. They were so cute out there on the floor. We're all going to keep in touch with Victor and we're definitely going to go watch him fight. We'll do a victory dance after he wins!
There will be a dance-off on the results show for everyone except the top-scoring couple on Tuesday. What do you know about it? Are you nervous?
Raisman: I just know that the top scorer will be safe and there will be three dance styles — the cha-cha, jive and rumba. I'm a little nervous since the only style I've done from the three is the cha-cha, but I'm just trying to focus on the salsa right now.
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You were very emotional last week after the bombings in Boston. How are you doing this week?
Raisman: I'm definitely doing better this week. What Mark said to me really helped — do it for them and try to bring them joy. It's definitely motivating me. I want to do well for everyone back home and everyone in Boston who's been so amazing to me. I just want to thank them and tell them I love them. Last week was really tough because I was watching the news and trying to see if they caught the guy and was texting and calling all my friends. It was harder to focus, but I got through it. Mark was really helpful. I'm still obviously upset about it and always will be, but I'm feeling better this week.
The show's also spotlighting dance instructor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her foot in the bombing, this week, and you trained at her studio.
Raisman: Yeah. She's such an inspiration and is so positive. She says she will dance again and we all know she will. It will definitely be a very powerful and moving moment for sure. I can't wait to see it.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.