When Cheer coach Monica Aldama met her dance partner on Monday night's season 29 premiere of Dancing With the Stars, she jumped up and down and yelled, "Yay!" That's because, wwaiting her in the studio was dance pro Val Chmerkovskiy, who greeted her with open arms. But the sweet moment captured on film wasn't really Aldama's first time meeting Chmerkovskiy; it was actually a reunion.
"I went to the Dancing With the Stars live tour back in March, right before the pandemic happened," Aldama tells Woman's Day. "We got to go backstage, and I actually met Val that night and we took a picture." Aldama posted the photo to her Instagram with the caption "Teach me your ways! 💃🏼❤️" Little did she know that only a few months later Chmerkovskiy would be doing just that.
"I've been a fan of Dancing With the Stars since the very first season," Aldama says. "I've actually taken ideas that I've seen on the show over the years and incorporated it into pyramids, so my cheerleaders know I'm a huge fan."
In her dancing debut, Aldama and Chmerkovskiy danced the foxtrot, and received good reviews from the judges. "Beautiful, graceful, and so pleasant to watch, like a breath of fresh air," Derek Hough said. "It's a hard transition to go from the mat to the wood," Carrie Ann Inaba said. "And what I loved about you is it felt good." The pair earned a score of 19/30.
Moving into the second week of practice, Aldama is happy with her partnership with Chmerkovskiy. "He and I are both very intense people and very passionate about what we do," Aldama says. "I think we're at a good point right now where we can both work together and bring our strengths together. If I have a suggestion he's very respectful of what I have to say, and obviously this is his craft so I'm trying to be such a good student and take it all in." For now, in Aldama's famous words, they're gonna practice until they get it right, and then they're gonna practice until they can't get it wrong.
Dancing With the Stars airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
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