Season 26 of ‘Dancing With The Stars’: 7 Questions for Artem Chigvintsev
Updated: Apr 29
Season 26 of Dancing With the Stars begins on Monday, April 30, but Dance Dish wanted to ask the pros from Pro Dance Camp what they were looking forward to the most this season. We asked them six questions for Season 26 — our final feature is with Artem Chigvintsev.
He got seven questions because we talked about that infamous American Smooth routine with Kara Tointon on Season 8 of Strictly Come Dancing.
Dance fans know Artem from the inaugural season of So You Think You Can Dance where he placed in the Top 8. He moved on to SCD for Season 8, which he won with Kara. After Season 11 on SCD, he came back to the U.S. to dance in troupe for Season 18 of DWTS. In Season 19, he was paired with his first celebrity, Lea Thompson. After a hiatus in Season 21 (he did a few pro numbers that season), he returned for seasons 22-25.
Here are our seven questions for Artem:
Dance Dish: What are you going to continue to do in Season 26 that served you well in Season 25?
Artem Chigvintsev: Good dancing, good performances and hopefully, good choreography and a good attitude. Last season was the first time I smiled so, so much. It was so much fun to dance with Nikki [Bella] as well as choreograph and perform with her. I had a great time.
DD: What’s the one thing you would like to improve upon for Season 26?
Artem: Honestly, every single season you are doing your best. There are a lot of sleepless nights. I want to stress less and go home and go to bed — sleep, rest — and then tackle another day.
Normally, you go to bed thinking, maybe I should have done this or that. You have nightmares a lot. I dream of what I’m going to do and I wake knowing what I am going to do. It’s a nonstop job and I love it.
DD: If you were Co-Executive Producer Deena Katz and could cast three athletes, whom would you pick for Season 26?
Artem: Whoever will get me that Mirror Ball Trophy! I have one from the other country and I feel like I want to have another one. It would be awesome to go all the way. That’s what I miss. When I was doing the show in the U.K., I always went to the finals, except for one time. I miss that feeling of final three standing. I miss being in the Top Three.
DD: Tell us the one dance from any season that you would never redo because you loved how it turned out.
Artem: I don’t think such a thing exists, honestly. It doesn’t. Even the dances where you think, this is good. You go back and think, maybe there is something I could have done a bit better. There is no such thing as a perfect performance.
DD: Is there one dance you would love to redo?
Artem: There is one dance I did in the U.K. for Blackpool Week. It was American Smooth, which is Foxtrot. That was the closest one that I thought was pretty good. Still, I can watch that performance and think it could be better. I would love to redo it. It was awesome.
DD: Could you redo it on Dancing With the Stars?
Artem: You can’t do lifts in Foxtrot in the U.S. In the U.K., you could. There are a lot of lifts. Carrie Ann [Inaba] would be like, “Point off, point off!” [He laughs.]
DD: If you were a judge, what would you like to tell the pros and celebs since you know what it’s like to be standing in front of the judges?
Artem: I think there’s a big clash between being an entertainment show and being a dance competition. It’s hard to judge. Sometimes judges go towards constructive criticism for the dancing itself and sometimes it goes toward the entertainment value.
It would be nice if the judges would judge just that person. If that person did improve, it’s great, but comparing them to other couples… whoa! Some people have dance experience, some people have never danced and some people are naturals at it.
I don’t care how experienced you are as a teacher; you can only do so much. That’s the reality of it, but that’s what makes it interesting. In the end, you want people to come away with the idea that dancing is great.
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