The Times has Amy Purdy, who won a bronze medal in snowboard cross at the 2014 Paralympics, guest-blogging while she competes on "Dancing With the Stars" with pro partner Derek Hough. In an email Q&A, Purdy talked about this week's competition and her conversation with Oprah Winfrey.
Q. So, this week saw the debut, I believe, of the "bounding feet" you used for the Quickstep. How long does it take to get used to having a new set of "magic legs," as Forrest Gump would say.
'Magic Legs' indeed! At least they were last night. I’m pretty used to all of the feet I have, however the last time I took my running legs for a spin was on a jog last summer! And I was running in a forward motion, not dancing side to side like we did in the quickstep. It's amazing, we really have been able to do some remarkable things in this show, who would have known that you can dance on one blade of carbon fiber? It's been really exciting for me to try all of these legs, use them in an unconventional ways and test their limits, plus being able to show the world the technology that is available has been really cool. At the beginning of each week we never know which legs I will use, I line them up and try them on as we develop our dance moves. But pretty quickly we get a sense of which feet will be best and in a way I guess you can say we develop the dances around those feet and what they allow me to do! At this point in my life I’m very used to trading out feet. Ah, the beauty of technology and innovation!
Q. Not many people get to talk to their personal icon. How was it talking to Oprah, and does her offer to take you to dinner after you win give you some extra incentive?
It was awesome and yeah ... I want to go to dinner with Oprah! Who doesn’t? It was amazing to talk to Oprah but I was really caught off guard, I had no idea it was going to happen. Just the thought of being on Oprah’s radar at all is humbling, but to actually have her take time get on the phone with me kind of blows my mind. What the audience didn't see is that Derek and I ended up having a pretty lengthy conversation with her, she even sang "You Can't Hurry Love" with us after we told her the dance we were working on. Also, this morning after making it through to the finals she sent me the most spectacular (and heavy) flower arrangement I have ever seen with a really sweet card. I wish I had more time with her, there’s so much I’d like to ask her about all the amazing things she’s accomplished and most of all the incredible philanthropic work she’s done so, yes, absolutely, I’m more pumped up than ever to win this thing because I’ve got five or six courses worth of dinner conversation I’d love to have with her. Oprah has been a true inspiration to me so I’m truly grateful both to her for taking the time to speak with me, and to the folks at "DWTS" who set it all up.
Q. Down to the final four now. How shocked were you that Charlie White was eliminated?
I’m really sad to lose Charlie. I consider him a friend and he’s an amazing dancer. It goes to show that 1, everyone is dancing so well and continually raising the bar, and 2, you can’t take anything for granted here. I think when this show started pretty much the whole cast would have expected Charlie to be in the finals, me included. You just never know.
Q. Where does Derek Hough find the time to choreograph all your dances, plus the "Macy Stars of Dance"? Tell us the truth: Is Derek an android who never sleeps?
The truth is that he absolutely is an android who never sleeps and just told me the other day that when he does sleep he wakes up in the middle of the night dancing. He literally is dancing 15 or more hours a day plus his brain never stops, he choreographs and thinks of the details of all these different performances all at the same time. He is also learning dances and choreographing for his "Move" tour that starts right after "Dancing with the Stars" ends. It truly is remarkable, he is brilliantly talented and is constantly sharing his knowledge which is so inspiring to me. Derek is a bottomless pit of amazing, creative ideas and one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being on this show is being able to submerge myself with a him in the weekly processing of expressing ourselves through dance and movement. It has been a time of truly amazing personal growth for me that I will never forget.
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