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So You Think You CAN'T Dance? Guess again!

Sep 25, 2018

Danelle and Artem performing a Foxtrot on Dancing With the Stars

Often in our posts to this page we talk about being an "I Can" sort of person.  Just because you've lost your vision, doesn't mean that you "can't" do all the things you used to do or always wanted to do.  Sure, something things won't be possible.  But other things may be, if you are willing to say "I Can Try!"

46-year-old alpine skier Danelle Umstead, a 3-time Paralympic medalist, sails down steep mountains at 70 miles per hour, guided by her husband who skies ahead of her, calling out directions.  But taking to the dance floor as a contestant on Dancing With The Stars was an all new challenge: a challenge Umstead was ready to take.

The season premiered on September 24th with this beautiful foxtrot Danelle performed with her partner Artem Chigvintsev.

Danelle's pro partner Artem Chigvintsev is also facing a challenge. “When Danelle told me that she is blind, the first thing I thought: How am I going to teach a blind person how to dance?” he said to People magazine. “This is hands down the biggest challenge I’ve ever had on the show.”  Much of the learning is through touch.  Danelle feels how Artem moves his arms, shapes his hands, or moves his body.  Danelle will need to put her complete trust in Artem.  But she said, "Anything is possible; you just have to go for it."

Umstead, who has retinitis pigmentosa and multiple sclerosis, said she is "loving every minute of it." Although she was scared at first about going down the stairs on stage, she held on to Artem and put her trust in him.  Learn more about Danelle Umstead.

Umstead is breaking new ground as the first blind contestant in DWTS's 27-season history.