Britt Stewart, one of two new pro dancers joining the Dancing With The Stars family for Season 29, is "honored" to be the first Black female pro to appear on the show. Stewart was seen on the show before as a member of the dance troupe, but her new role could provide an inspiration for young Black girls watching at home, she said in a new interview with Good Morning America Thursday. The upcoming season will also be the first with a Black female host, as Tyra Banks is replacing both Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews.
"I am extremely honored and I honestly get a little emotional talking about it every time," Stewart told GMA's Ginger Zee when the new pro cast was unveiled. "I think there's a lot of power in representation and seeing someone that looks like yourself in a specific position," Stewart said, adding that she hopes her front-and-center role will give young Black girls who "feel like they don't have that representation something to look at and something to reach for."
View this post on Instagram
"I'm so honored that DWTS celebrates diversity and this is just really a stepping stone to really express everything and bring light to the world and to television," Stewart, 30, added. Stewart was the first Black female pro dancer to join the show in any role, having served as a troupe dancer since Season 23. She also danced in the High School Musical movies and danced on tours with Karty Perry, Demo Lovato, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, and Florence + The Machine reports E! News.
The second new dancer joining the show this season is Daniella Karagach, 27, who joined the dance troupe last season. Karagach is married to Pasha Pashkov, who is returning this season as well. The other veteran pros returning are Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Emma Slater, Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Val Chmerkovskiy, Peta Murgatroyd, Gleb Savchenko, Cheryl Burke and Keo Motsepe. So far, the only celebrity contestant confirmed is Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe.
Season 29 is also the first season without Bergeron and the first with a solo host. The pros confirmed on GMA they have not met Banks in person yet. "We had a little tea party via Zoom yesterday and she's got some great ideas, so it's going to be interesting and fun," Farber explained. Slater excitedly added that she "can't wait to meet her."
DWTS returns on Monday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. ET with a two-hour premiere. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will likely not be a studio audience. The married pros — Chmerkovskiy and Johnson, Slater and Farber, and Paskkov and Karagach — will have to live apart to minimize possible exposure to the virus for their dance partners. The celebrity contestants will not be revealed until the premiere airs.