Ice Network

White takes round one over Davis on 'DWTS'

Olympic gold medalists developing great chemistry with new partners
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Charlie White and Sharna Burgess' contemporary routine scored slightly higher than Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy's cha cha. -ABC

On night one of their Dancing with the Stars rivalry, Charlie White and partner Sharna Burgess came out slightly ahead of Meryl Davis and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy on the judges' cards. White and Burgess scored three 9's for a contemporary dance that judge Len Goodman said was "like ice dancing without the ice," while Davis and Chmerkovskiy received three 8's for a fast-paced cha cha.

Davis said Monday night's show was a blast and she's enjoying everything about the Dancing with the Stars experience -- except maybe the Latin dance shoes, which she admitted inflicted a bit of pain on her feet.

"I wasn't even a little bit nervous, and I'm having so much fun," Davis said. "It's been very different from anything I've experienced before, but I'm taking it all in and enjoying not really knowing what to expect.

"I am not stressing out about anything," she added. "I've been on such the opposite side of the fence in terms of my skating, my schoolwork and kind of everything in my life. I feel I've put a lot of pressure on myself. So I'm really pleased with my ability in this experience so far to just enjoy it, let loose and take it all in."

She partly attributes her positive mindset to Chmerkovskiy, who has wowed her thus far.

"He is the nicest guy, and he's so interesting and intelligent, and I'm really enjoying spending time with him," she said. "We've developed a really great rhythm with our training."

Next week, Davis and Chmerkovskiy will perform a swing dance. Davis said she is appreciative that she will get to wear tennis shoes for that routine.

In addition to rehearsal time with their partners, the Olympic gold medalists are doing on-ice training to prepare for the upcoming Stars on Ice tour. Davis knows it'll be exhausting when they start touring and dancing at the same time, but they are honored to have the chance to do both, so they're taking it all in stride.

"Charlie and I feel we've been putting in so much continuous work over the last 17 years together that to get an opportunity to just enjoy something different, but still together, it's really special for us," Davis said.

White and Burgess were the final couple to perform Monday evening (12 teams competed), but that didn't faze the skater in the least.

"He is such a calm person," Burgess said. "You never know what your celebrity is going to be like until you get to the first show. Obviously, Charlie has had a lot of practice at being under high pressure. He certainly was cool, calm and collected.

"He was so ready to have fun and enjoy the moment," she added. "It was really, truly a wonderful experience for a first show."

Burgess is grateful that Dancing with the Stars has brought back the sky box -- which was absent last season -- allowing the celebrities and their professional partners a bit of relaxation before they hit the stage.

"We got to watch everybody and feed off of each other's energy," she said. "It just makes you more pumped to go out and do your number. Ten minutes before you perform, you have to zone in and sort of put yourself in a bubble with each other and just focus on your dance."

For next week, White and Burgess will perform a tango, which is new territory for White. Although he and Davis did an Argentine tango free dance in 2011, they haven't done international tango.

"He has fantastic frame; his posture, we need to work on," Burgess said. "It's all very new to him, but he can take on the technique quite well. I'm aiming to go out there and do some really great ballroom choreography with minimal fluff and feathers on either side of it.

"He struggles right now with wanting to take too many steps to get from A to B because he doesn't understand how to transfer his weight from one foot to the other. He has to learn how to use his legs and feet and body in a completely different way, but I am determined to make this man a ballroom dancer."