From competing on "So You Think You Can Dance" to performing on "Dancing with the Stars" for seven seasons (and earning an Emmy nomination for her work on the latter), Chelsie Hightower has lived the pro dance dream. Though Hightower retired from "DWTS" several years ago and now teaches and choreographs in her home state of Utah, she admits that her dance career exceeded even her own high expectations. "I've accomplished things that I didn't know were possible," she says.
But most fans of "DWTS" would never have guessed that while filming, the talented and seemingly fearless ballroom pro was facing her fiercest competitor off-camera. Hightower has struggled with anxiety for most of her life, but the issue became especially severe during her years on the show.
With the help of therapy and other coping exercises, Hightower has found healthy ways to manage her anxiety. Now, she hopes that sharing her experience will inspire other dancers struggling with mental illness to get help.
Sky Brown and JT Church in the finale of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" (via @dancingabc on Instagram)
Last night was a Christmas miracle of epic proportions for one lucky couple on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" as they took home the Mirror Star Trophy. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Four couples competed for the title of champion and each and every performance was lit! With two routines—one holiday themed freestyle and one repeat dance from the season that included their mentors (plot twist!), these dance darlings battled it out on the dance floor. It was truly a night to remember as we enjoyed some of the best performances of the season that got us in the holiday spirit.
Sky Brown and JT Church perform the tango (via @dancingabc on Instagram)
We're nearing the end of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" and we're more than a little sad about that. But as the end of the competition nears, the dancing has been taken to the next level. The technique is pretty close to perfect and the performance quality from these little dance darlings is equal to that of the pros! We'll admit we're not jealous of the judges as they score these dance prodigies. It was hard enough to pick one stand-out performance of the night. These kids are talented dancers and the winner is anyone's guess at this point!
Of all the "Dancing with the Stars" finales, we're sure this one is bound to go down as one of the most surprising ones yet. And though only one couple was awarded the Mirrorball, we think everyone performed like champions last night! Improvement from all four stars was apparent. What was even better? The celebs were really enjoying themselves up there.
This week the kids of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" got to take charge of their performances: They got choose the songs they performed to AND were also given a lot more say in the creative process of their routines. Many of their choices were rather surprising, but it was fun to see these pint-size performers put their own stamp on their pieces—after all, that's how dancers become artists.