I blame my love of gymnastics for the fact that I’m a slightly closeted fan of the American version of Strictly Come Dancing. Those who have had my gymnastics chat will know that one of my all-time favourite gymnasts is Shawn Johnson. Shawn was on as a contestant with a British-American dancer, Mark Ballas after the Beijing Olympics, and thanks to YouTube I got to watch every single one of her dances. I actually used to go to my Mum’s house to use her internet (because I couldn’t afford broadband in my own flat) and would search for the videos each week. Mark’s best friend is another professional dancer called Derek Hough, and I looooovvvveeee his choreography.
Once Shawn Johnson was paired with Derek for an ‘All-Star’ season after the 2012 Olympics, I was officially hooked on Derek Hough’s dances. I often go back to find some of Derek and Mark’s dances from different seasons as they are so creative and often fun to watch if they’ve been well executed by whoever they are partnered with.
They call it Dancing with the Stars in USA and this season, a young teen called Bindi Irwin is on the show. She has been partnered with Derek Hough. Her Dad, Steve Irwin you probably have all heard of from his ‘Crocodile Hunter’ show, and developing the Australia Zoo in Queensland. He tragically died in a freak accident filming for a wildlife documentary in 2006 – about 6 months before I travelled to Australia. I spend a lot of my time championing young people trying to convince ignorant adults that young people are not all rebellious, ill-mannered delinquents-to-be…and though I’ve seen bits and pieces of evidence of Bindi’s passion for wildlife, taking care of the earth and positive attitude to life over the years, I don’t think it could be more clear than the last few weeks of seeing her on Dancing with the Stars USA that she is such a mature, wise, kind, compassionate young woman. And how wonderful to have a young person like that as a role model on television. This week all the dances were to the theme of the contestant’s most memorable year, and it was a beautifully choreographed, amazingly executed, poignant, meaningful routine performed by Bindi and Derek…
…you may need a tissue.