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So You Think You Can Dance?

A Cinderella story about dancing your fears away.

Have you ever imagined yourself on Dancing with the Stars? I have! (It's a top TV show with our readers.) So when I got the chance to learn a dance from Corky Ballas, the charming champion who was Florence Henderson's partner this season, I (nervously) said YES!

Here was the hitch: I had just three hours to learn and rehearse the dance, and then just 20 minutes to perform the whole thing with Corky on video for all the online world to see. That didn't leave much time for screwing up or falling down (though I did both). Despite the stress, it was a magical experience, from picking the music — I unwittingly chose a "jive" song, the hardest type to dance to — to buying a ballroom dress. Who knew you could get a sexy black number for $37? I met Corky at a DWTS rehearsal hall in LA on a Saturday night, and in just two hours he choreographed and showed me the steps to our dance.

He was a patient and funny teacher, despite having spent the previous six hours practicing with Florence. My main flaw as a partner, he joked, was my tendency to "strangle" him "to death." To prepare for the next morning, he told me to watch a video we'd shot as we practiced. I danced around my hotel room until 1 a.m., my eyes glued to that video. I was feeling pretty confident by Sunday morning — until I swapped my sneakers for 3-inch heels. Then the pressure of having to perform the whole dance in just two takes made me panic. The clock was ticking; Corky had to get back to Florence. Showtime, cameras rolling! I'm dancing, I'm rushing, I'm losing count, I'm tripping, I'm...on the floor. Humiliation! Okay, I got that over with. Take two: Corky looks me in the eye, takes my hand, and with a bounce we're off, kicking, twirling, dancing, dipping. I did it! The video crew applauds. Corky hugs me. I feel elated. I've just done something I was afraid to do. Thank you, Corky, for my Cinderella moment.

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