A “Dancing With the Stars” alum opened up about her time on the show, and she made it clear it was not easy for her.
In a September 2023 interview on Cheryl Burke’s “Sex, Lies and Spray Tans” podcast, DWTS season 1 contender Trista Sutter said she had a hard time connecting with her pro partner, Louis van Amstel.
While Sutter emphasized that she “loves” the Dutch-American ballroom dancer, she told Burke she couldn’t relate to van Amstel’s method of just “feeling” the dance. She also said he wasn’t as compassionate as she would have liked.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trista Sutter Said She Had a Hard Time With Louis van Amstel’s ‘Don’t Think, Just Feel’ Methodology
While speaking with Burke, Sutter said van Amstel’s strict teaching methods were different than what she was used to as a dancer for the pro basketball team the Miami Heat. The former “Bachelorette” star said she “wasn’t ballroom trained at all” and “had never taken a ballroom class” when she first met van Amstel in 2005.
“Louis is a strong personality, he is so much fun but he has a strong personality,” she said. “I remember him being in rehearsal one day and saying ‘You just can’t think about stuff. You just gotta feel it.’”
Sutter told Burke she couldn’t do that. “It was very hard for me, coming from Miami Heat — where you learn choreography, you’re just taught, and that’s what you do, you think about everything, — to going to ‘don’t think just feel.'” she admitted.
The reality star revealed that during that first season, ABC did not pay for the pro dancers’ rehearsal time. Sutter lived in Colorado at the time, and van Amstel had to drive in from Utah to rehearse with her. “Our rehearsals were super speedy and we really didn’t have time to hang out,” Sutter said of her relationship with van Amstel.
She also hinted that she could have used more compassion as she trained for the inaugural season of the celebrity ballroom competition.
“I was dealing with a person I have to immediately respect,” she said of van Amstel. “I don’t know Louis from Adam. I know he’s a champion and I know he should be respected. So I’m like, brand new to this, could you maybe treat me with a little more compassion? Louis was just like ‘we’re going, we’re gonna win this, you’re a dancer.’”
Sutter, who felt like her dance background was held against her, said that when van Amstel told her to just “feel” the dance, she didn’t know what to feel.
“I love Louis,” she clarified.
Trista Sutter & Louis van Amstel Were the First Couple Eliminated on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 1
The first season of “Dancing With the Stars” only had six contestants and Sutter was the first to go.
According to an Entertainment Weekly recap at the time, future season 1 champ Kelly Monaco was tied for the lowest judges’ score that week, but Sutter and van Amstel’s score of 37 points wasn’t enough to save them from low viewer votes.
Van Amstel competed on and off on “Dancing With the Stars,” but he took a lengthy hiatus after being partnered with Paula Deen in season 21. He returned for season 31 in 2022 with partner Cheryl Ladd.
“It was absolutely amazing after seven years of not being on this show,” he told KTLA in an interview. “I judged the Dutch version in Europe and then I got requested by Miss Cheryl Ladd. What an honor to be asked! I say this to anyone who wants to hear it ‘I got requested back!”