Ice Network

Davis, White impress during 'party anthem' night

Despite tough schedule, Olympic champions thrive in week six on 'DWTS'
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Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy turned heads with their passionate tango during "party anthem" week on 'Dancing with the Stars.' -ABC

Monday was "party anthem" night on Dancing with the Stars, as celebrities and their professional partners performed to bodacious party songs. Redfoo from LMFAO, the group behind the instantly iconic "Party Rock Anthem," was the guest judge.

Olympic ice dance gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White and their respective partners, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Sharna Burgess, are keeping up a hectic pace as they travel the country with Stars on Ice. Despite the brutal schedule, their performances continue to be favorites with the audience and judges.

White and Burgess performed a fast-paced cha cha to C+C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now," in which he unquestionably got his hips moving. The judges praised his musicality and fast footwork, awarding four 9's.

Davis and Chmerkovskiy again displayed their sizzling chemistry in a tango set to "Feel So Close" by Calvin Harris. Their sleek, sexy black costumes were Chmerkovskiy's vision. Davis said she was a bit concerned dancing in long, flowing pants, but when she put on the costume, it felt fantastic.

"The costume people have been incredible and work so quickly," Davis said. "Charlie and I were lucky that we got a chance to work with them for a couple of weeks before we were gone with Stars on Ice, so they got a chance to know our body types.

"I had a lot of input and really designed my costumes for skating, so coming into this I thought I'd sort of design the costumes," she added. "But Maks has had amazing ideas and really has had control over the costumes.

"The tango costumes really added to the vibe we were going for."

Davis said dancing the tango, for which they earned a perfect 40, was an exceptional experience. The opportunity to have such new and special moments on the dance floor is heightening her enjoyment of DWTS beyond her expectations.

"That's greatly attributed to Maks and his vision for choreography: his ability to help get me into what he's trying to say with the dance," she noted. "In addition to that, his ability to get me to understand how to get out of my shell is something that I wasn't really expecting. I don't have any real inhibitions on the dance floor."

Their rehearsal footage showed Chmerkovskiy expressing some insecurity about creating dances that show Davis off to her full ability, and her reassuring him that he is doing a great job.

"The schedule that we're putting [Maks and Sharna] through with Stars on Ice, they are being so understanding," Davis said.

Despite the intense workload, Davis appreciates her on-ice performances with White.

"It's completely our comfort zone," she said. "Even though we're having a blast with Dancing with the Stars on the floor, there's effort involved in every step -- not only physically but mentally.

"When we step onto the ice, we feel like we're back home."

Next week will be Latin week, with recording superstar Ricky Martin serving as guest judge and musical guest. White and Burgess will perform a paso doble, and Davis and Chmerkovskiy will dance a salsa.

In addition, there will be team dances that will also be within the Latin genre. (There is some leeway on choreography.) On White and Burgess' team will be James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd as well as NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani. Davis and Chmerkovskiy will share the dance floor with Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Amy Purdy and Derek Hough, and Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas.

Rehearsals began Monday night right after the show.

"I had so much fun standing back and watching the male pros interacting and coming up with ideas," Davis said. "It's a really cool dynamic. Watching them shoot ideas back and forth, I felt I was witnessing something special. It was a very cool experience."

When Stars on Ice was in New Jersey, Chmerkovskiy showed Davis a couple of his dance studios, and she loved seeing him interact with young students.

"He's a very honest and open person, and it's been easy for me to connect with him rather quickly," Davis noted. "We developed a really comfortable, special bond early on. I got to understand who Maks is as opposed to who people see on the show."

In addition to dance rehearsals, Davis and White have two Stars on Ice shows this week -- including one at home in Detroit -- and then it's back to DWTS.

"It's definitely more challenging than I thought it would be, but at the same time more enjoyable as well," Davis said.