'Dancing With the Stars' Viewers 'Utterly Blown Away' by First Blind Contestant Danelle Umstead
Danelle Umstead has proven herself not just on the slopes, but in the ballroom! Dancing With the Stars' first blind contestant blew away viewers during Monday's season 27 premiere, not just with her inspiring story, but with her stunning dancing.
Paired with Artem Chigvintsev, the U.S. Paralympic alpine skier, 46, danced the foxtrot to "Rise Up" by Andra Day, a dance Umstead learned by feeling her partner's muscle movements with her hands.
Umstead first started to lose her vision at 13, when she was diagnosed with a genetic eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, which causes the retina to degenerate, eventually causing blindness. Also recovering from a multiple sclerosis attack, the three-time bronze medal winner was an inspiration with her graceful dancing and dedication to pushing herself outside her comfort zone.
Prior to the premiere, the Paralympian opened up about her experience learning to dance to PopCulture, revealing that she felt very "vulnerable" heading into the premiere.
"I feel very vulnerable. America's going to see that," she said. "I am a happy thoughts, strong-minded, mindful person, and I like to laugh and I like to laugh things off. I have been so overwhelmed and frustrated in trying to be my best at times that it's gotten the best of me, meaning I thought I could do better than I was doing and I was disappointed in myself type thing. But I'm trying to have the same mindset I learned in skiing, and trying to focus on the best I can do for each day. Living my impossible every day has been a great mindset for me and just recharging every day."
Fans took to Twitter to cheer her on.
YOU GO GIRL! #DWTS— Joseph Goncalves (@JosephG14) September 25, 2018
"YOU GO GIRL! #DWTS" one fan wrote.
wow @DanelleUmstead is an impressive ass lady! #DWTS— Jasmine Maria (@thejasminemaria) September 25, 2018
"wow [Umstead] is an impressive a— lady! #DWTS" another added.
Wow Danielle is inspiring as hell. The dance was beautiful.— BachelorObsessed (@BachelorObsess1) September 25, 2018
"Wow [Umstead] is inspiring as hell. The dance was beautiful," yet another added.
Danielle and Artem...wow, just wow..graceful and beautiful and she did it blind!!!! #DWTS #DWTS27— Stephanie Adams (@stemadams) September 25, 2018
"Danielle and Artem...wow, just wow..graceful and beautiful and she did it blind!!!! #DWTS #DWTS27" a fan gushed.
Just gonna commit to crying every single week when Danielle dances. #DWTS— Patti Murin (@PattiMurin) September 25, 2018
Another emotional fan wrote, "Just gonna commit to crying every single week when Danielle dances. #DWTS"
Utterly blown away by Danielle. Wow. That was incredible! #DWTS— Sam (@sgreen3) September 25, 2018
"Utterly blown away by Danielle. Wow. That was incredible! #DWTS" someone else wrote.
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Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo credit: ABC0comments