This week on Dancing With the Stars, Ryan Lochte and his partner, Cheryl Burke, are ready to make a splash on the show’s first-ever Cirque du Soleil theme. In his blog for Yahoo TV, Lochte talks about his water-themed Week 4 Cirque dance, and he also reflects on last week’s face-off cha-cha and tells us what he does to try to calm his nerves before those live shows.
Our dance this week is the Viennese waltz. We’re doing the Cirque du Soleil show O, because of me being a swimmer and being in water and stuff like that. We’re going out to Vegas to go watch O and we might be in the show — I think I might be swimming in it. The whole concept that Cheryl has come up with, from everything she has told me, when it all comes together it’s going to be pretty cool. We’ll definitely have DWTS troupe dancers in part of our routine.
Cirque du Soleil is kind of new to me — but one of my friends, Christina Jones, was a synchronized swimmer in the Olympics for USA in 2008, and she has worked on the Cirque show for the past six years. Every now and then she tells me if I’m ever in Vegas to come out there and watch the show, but I just never had time. So I’m excited!
Last week it was hard listening to the judges’ behind-the-scenes comments for my cha-cha because I know I tried so hard. But they’re honest, and they’re just going to tell you how it is. I’ve just got to keep working at it. When Len Goodman said the cha-cha was my best dance, I was surprised. I was like, “He said that?” And Cheryl said, “Yeah, and he’s the hardest judge.” I was like, “Wow, that’s amazing.” That just shows I am improving.
I’m still nervous before the live shows, and I don’t understand why, because right before that, during the dress rehearsal, I nailed it. I nailed every step, and I was just calm — because I think I knew it wasn’t the live show so if I messed up, it wasn’t a big deal. And then all of a sudden, when the live show starts, I lose it. Cheryl tries to give me pep talks: “OK, you got this, you got this,” but I think it just makes me more nervous. I’m like, “All right, I do, I do, I do,” but then I psych myself out. Still, I am having more fun each week. With the cha-cha, that kind of dance and the music that we danced to, I loved it. I was just enjoying myself and enjoying this opportunity that I’ve been given.
I wish they told me how hard Dancing With the Stars was going to be when I signed up, because maybe I would have reconsidered! It’s just so hard. But it has been fun. I’m doing something that I’ve never done in my entire life. Stay tuned, and please get your votes in because I’m gonna need it. I do not know how to waltz! (As told to Victoria Leigh Miller)
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Ryan Lochte is a competitive swimmer and 12-time Olympic medalist. He is currently competing on the 23rd season of Dancing With the Stars.