Kerrigan's emotional performance earns high praiseOlympian discusses battle with miscarriages, joy gained from motherhood
It was "Most Memorable Year" night on Week 4 of Dancing with the Stars, and the remaining contestants shared stories of major life events. Two-time Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan touched on 1996, the year her son, Matthew, was born, but also told of how she dealt with a series of miscarriages when she and husband Jerry Solomon tried to add to their family.
"On many levels, I think it is great that she has been discussing this topic," Solomon said. "It is a universal one which affects many people, but it is generally a topic that stays very private. It is always therapeutic to get some of the emotion out and realize that you are not alone in your experience."
Kerrigan revealed that she had six miscarriages over an eight-year period before successfully conceiving son Brian and daughter Nicole using in vitro fertilization. While both Kerrigan and Solomon acknowledge it was a tough time for them, both are touched by the positive reactions and appreciation the story has received.
Former U.S. ladies competitor Amber Corwin Farrow was in the ballroom Monday evening along with fellow former skaters Justin Dillon and Kathaleen Cutone. She said it was a night of great dancing and wonderful storytelling. After the show, the trio went out to dinner with Kerrigan and Solomon.
"It's high energy," Corwin Farrow said. "It was obviously a very emotional episode. My eyes were tearing up all night. You definitely feel connected to the cast."
Kerrigan's story came as a surprise to Corwin Farrow, herself the mother of a young daughter. She felt it was courageous of Kerrigan to share it. She said Kerrigan appeared composed.
"She said she was more nervous for [DWTS] than any skating competition. I thought she handled it really well and was lovely," Corwin Farrow said. "It seems like she's really enjoying the whole experience."
Professional ballroom dancer Chelsie Hightower, who appeared on seven seasons of DWTS, was also in the ballroom for Kerrigan's performance. Given how emotional "Most Memorable Year" can get, she said the professionals have various ways of keeping the celebrities focused on their dances -- like hand squeezes or talking, sometimes even during the performance.
"I think people can relate and there's healing in sharing your story," Hightower said. "It's hard to do when you're just about to dance and you're under pressure. You have to get in the zone and be able to perform at your best.
"I thought Nancy's story was beautiful, and I can't imagine what it would be like to go through that," she added. "She did a great job. She had some really great elements and some great dynamics. I thought she was very graceful. For the most part, her technique looked good."
Hightower, who has appeared on three Shall We Dance on Ice productions, said the celebrities on DWTS possess character traits that have driven their success, and that the show gives viewers insight into their journeys.
"It's always really cool to see what people overcome. On Monday night, especially, it was very touching," said Hightower, who recently launched a dance camp company, Dance Elevated, designed to help kids ages 10-18 become the best dancers and the best people they can be.
Next week is "Disney" week. Kerrigan and Chigvintsev will perform a jazz routine to music from the movie Enchanted.