Diana Nyad has written a few blogs. First, below is one for the Huffington Post about her experience on Dancing With The Stars so far with partner Henry Byalikov. Her ego may be bruised after their first dance, but, she is not broken. Also, it’s not about how you start, but how you finish. Here is more including some hints about their next dance….
The first week foxtrot for Henry Byalikov and me was filled with pride. I may not bring the stuff of Olympic ice dancers but we worked our butts off and I was thrilled to pull off a proper foxtrot, something entirely alien to me just one week prior.
Matter of fact, I was proud of ALL the contestants, to watch them produce art and beauty and fun and put their best out there in front of a 20-million strong audience.
Every single one of the pro dancers (along obviously with my wonderful, talented, supportive, gracious Henry) have bent over backwards to give some guidance to me and all the rest of us competing. Max Chmerkovskiy, reputed bad boy, has especially extended a caring warmth to me. (I love when Max and Henry chat in Russian… Henry is from Australia but both parents are Russian. They call me “Dianaishka”… sounds very sexy indeed!)
Cheryl Burke and the other female pros have also reached out to give all kinds of tips and reassurances. (I’ve put it out there that if I am still in the competition by the time they switch partners for one week, I would love to do a dance with Cheryl). And don’t get me wrong. I ADORE my Henry…. just saying…
Perhaps it gets cutthroat later in the season, when the MirrorBall Trophy is on the line, but at this early-going stage, all 12 of us competitors are very supportive of each other. No matter the difference in our range of talents, everybody checks in with each other, asks how the particular dance of the week is going, shares what they’re experiencing. Charlie White and Meryl Davis, clearly superlative on the floor, are extremely giving. Amy Purdee is a doll, her disability a total non-issue. Candace Cameron Bure is a born mom, she takes care of all of our feelings. And Henry and I have had some fun practice sessions with NeNe Leakes and her partner Tony Dovolani, the jokester of the pros.
Henry putting me through the paces of the cha cha cha, our dance for Week Two, and I’m loving the rhythm. Much more relatable, for me, than was the foxtrot. I took an ego beating that first night. I worked so darn hard on that foxtrot and wound up near the bottom of the leader board. But what a great rationalization to feel you’ve got absolutely nowhere to go but up…
As I said that night — and we’ve all learned this the hard way — it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.
I love her determination. Lots more at the Huffington Post including pictures.
Diana has also written a piece for Adventure Blog about Dancing With The Stars. Below is a take where she compares swimming and dancing. I love what she says about Henry.
The common question these days is “How does the Cuba Swim compare to Dancing With the Stars“?
Well, that’s a patently absurd conversation. Cuba was a lifelong pursuit, an epic endeavor.
But, let’s leave those comparisons aside and focus on this DWTS experience.
It’s intense. In every way. I can’t speak, of course, for the other competitors. It could well be that Sochi gold medal winning ice dancers Charlie White and Meryl Davis find these dances second nature. They were surely dazzling on the floor that first night of competition.
But for me, this is a fully new world, akin perhaps to going to Mainland China to learn Mandarin in a compressed few weeks. Every word, every movement, every transition is brand new to me.
I got lucky to travel this journey with my partner, Henry Byalikov, a young Australian who has been part of the DWTS troupe of dancers but this is his first season as a principal pro.
Henry and I have stepped into synch in a myriad of ways. He is a beautiful, elegant dancer and to watch him demonstrate to me every subtle nuance of the body, the move, of a cha cha is like learning meditation from a zen master.
More at Adventure Blog.