'Dancing with the Stars' champs grace Benedum Center stage
Professional dancer Lindsay Arnold knew from the start of this season's “Dancing with the Stars” competition that her celebrity partner, “Hamilton” singer/actor Jordan Fisher, was going to be a fierce competitor on the show.
When they got their first perfect score, she was convinced they had a shot at winning the coveted Mirrorball Trophy in the TV reality series – which they did in grand style.
“Every week I was confident that Jordan was good enough to make it to the next week, but you never know how America votes; you never know what they like, or who their favorites are,” Arnold says. “But when we made it to the semi-finals, I was like, ‘OK, we've got a big shot at winning this thing, but we have to give it everything we've got!”
With little down time after the season ended, Arnold and Fisher joined other pros from the show, along with actor/race car driver Frankie Muniz, to star in a touring stage production, “Dancing with the Stars Live: “Light Up the Night.”
The tour, which kicked off Dec. 30 and doesn't stop moving until March 18, includes one performance in Pittsburgh on Jan. 16 at Benedum Center.
Pro dancer Witney Carson, who placed third in the television competition partnered with Muniz, also was scheduled to perform, but she dropped out of the tour due to her father-in-law's health issues, a Pittsburgh Cultural Trust spokeswoman confirmed.
The show also features professional dancers Alan Bersten, Sharna Burgess, Artem Chigvintsev, Keo Motsepe, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Hayley Erbert and Brandon Armstrong, showcasing original pieces choreographed by Emmy Award-winning choreographer Mandy Moore and ballroom and contemporary dances from the TV show.
“We are doing the freestyle, the samba, our Disney week foxtrot and our Charleston,” Arnold says. “Jordan and I also dance in a lot of new group numbers, so that is something new and different that people haven't seen.”
Both Arnold and Fisher overcame injuries during the regular dance season.
“The biggest challenge was the semifinals because of the injuries,” she says. “I hurt my knee the day before the show and didn't know if I was going to be able to dance. On top of that, I stabbed Jordan's eye with my fingernail and he was pretty much blind during the live show. We wanted it so bad, we knew we had to rely on each other and work together and we somehow made it happen.”
Arnold says she'll be back for the spring season of “Dancing with the Stars,” which will feature a mini four-week “all athletes” edition. Her immediate plans after the live tour ends in March include attending Farber's and Slater's wedding and taking some time off for a family vacation in Mexico.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.