Kerrigan hoping to rebound from shaky paso dobleOlympian's "Night at the Movies" tango to feature various troupe members
Week 6 of Dancing with the Stars was a bit rough for Nancy Kerrigan, as the two-time Olympic medalist was in jeopardy of not advancing to the next round.
The theme of the night was "Boy Bands versus Girl Groups," and Kerrigan's music for the paso doble -- "Free Your Mind" by En Vogue -- was a bit too familiar for comfort. The song was previously used in Season 5 by Mel B and Maksim Chmerkovskiy in one of the series' iconic dances.
Despite the heightened expectations, Kerrigan overcame nerves to deliver a solid dance with partner Artem Chigvintsev, which included the addition of three male members of the troupe. One of them, Alan Bersten, provided icenetwork a behind-the-scenes look at how the troupe rehearses and performs with the celebrities.
"The best thing about Nancy is that she is so dedicated to every dance that she does," said Bersten, now in his fifth season in the DWTS troupe. "In the paso on Sunday, when we were camera blocking, she was so invested in getting each step perfect and trying so hard to perfect her dance. Her determination is very impressive."
Chigvintsev created an unusual opening to the paso doble, which found Kerrigan inside a cage and then freed to dance. The judges noted that Kerrigan appeared a bit uncomfortable in the opening but came to life as the dance progressed.
"It's not easy for everyone to be clean together," Bersten said. "She worked very hard on capturing the mood."
Bersten said when the troupe is added to a routine, the celebrity has a limited amount of time to get in sync with the additional dancers because the troupe often appears in multiple numbers. On the positive side, it makes the routine look grander and adds vibrant energy to the performance.
"Nancy does a great job connecting with everyone," Bersten said. "When she has a part with me, she gives all of her energy towards me, which is amazing.
"As troupe, we try to make everyone as comfortable as possible," he added.
This season, viewers got to see quite a bit of Bersten, as he stepped in to partner Heather Morris for several weeks when Maksim Chmerkovskiy was injured. During that time, he got to spend more time backstage and in the areas where the celebrities and their partners gather during the live show.
Bersten said Kerrigan is very focused on the task at hand.
"You can see her walking around the red room with her phone watching video (of the dance) and her headphones in, paying close attention to detail and every step that she takes," he said. "Whenever she has a spare minute on set, she is practicing."
For this week's theme, "Night at the Movies," Kerrigan and Chigvintsev will dance a tango and be joined by members of the troupe. There were only two rehearsals with the troupe, as the numbers this week will be elaborate and the troupe is quite engaged.
"There's a certain standard now that it's Week 7," Bersten said. "In Nancy's dance, we're dancing with Nancy. She's going to work with each individual dancer."
The highest scoring couple in round one will be immune from elimination. The remaining six couples will engage in a dance-off.
As this season proved, Bersten knows that even though they're spread thin, the troupe members have to pay careful attention as they may be called upon to step in for a pro.
"All you care about as a pro is the celebrity," he said. "As a troupe, we go into these numbers and we see how each pro dancer creates with their celebrity. You get to experience the full spectrum of celebrities -- amazing dancers or celebrities who aren't, but who have amazing personalities. It's a great tutorial to become a pro."