In a new memoir, “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Monica Aldama does not hold back talking about her time on the show with Val Chmerkovskiy. While the two did eventually come around to being able to work well together, there were some definite bumps in the road during her season. Read on to find out what she wrote about her time on the show.
Monica Said Val Looked At Her With ‘Pure Disgust’ One Point
Monica Aldama is a cheer coach made famous on the Netflix show “Cheer.” She competed on season 29 of “Dancing With the Stars” alongside professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy, coming in 10th place. In her new book, “Full Out: Lessons in Life and Leadership from America’s Favorite Coach,” Monica offered detailed insights into her time on the show, including how she and Val had a rather tumultuous relationship for several weeks.
Monica said that during week five they had a tango to “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell, which she thought “would be easy for [her] because it was a more aggressive dance” and she knew she “could handle the sharp turns,” but Val pushed her on the difficulty level and she struggled to get the steps down.
I could tell Val was losing patience. As the week progressed, things didn’t get much better. By the time Friday rolled around, I would usually have had the dance down, but not this week. I was still struggling and Val was over it.
In the middle of one run-through, he stopped and angrily told me that I had to stop looking down at our feet. His body language and tone communicated pure disgust. My posture was also an issue. It was the last thing on my mind when I was trying to learn the steps and just make it through the routine. But Val would remind me about my posture throughout each dance by shoving my shoulders back into their proper position. When he made those adjustments while angry, I found it harder and harder not to take it personally.
After a few rounds of this, Val had finally had enough and said he needed a break. He left the rehearsal room. I stood there alone, trying to fight back tears and anger. I went back and forth as to whether or not I should tell him how I felt or just continue to stay quiet and let my anxiety and stress build up.
She said she and Val finally sat down for a heart-to-heart talk in the bathroom because that was “the only camera-free place in the building.”
Monica Said Val Seemed Surprised But He Did Listen and It Was a Huge Turning Point
In the book, Monica wrote that she told Val everything, including how he made her feel during rehearsals and that his approach wasn’t working.
“I was tired of him talking down to me and I was even more over him physically shoving my head and shoulders back and forcing my body into crazy positions that only hurt my back more. I cried. I yelled. I cried some more,” wrote Monica.
She continued, “He seemed shocked, which surprised me. But he listened … He said that in the dance culture he’s part of, they throw you overboard and you either sink or swim. … I said that he didn’t have to treat me like that for me to push myself,” said Monica.
She said that their ideas of “tough” were very different and that he didn’t have to throw her overboard — “Trying to stay with the metaphor, I said I looked at him as my only lifeline — the sailor whose job it was to pull me back onto the ship. Instead, I felt like he was pushing me under and I was drowning.”
“In the end, it was a great conversation … That day, things turned around dramatically,” said Monica.
Wow. That is a really interesting behind-the-scenes glimpse into what it’s like working with the pros. For more insights into her time on “Dancing With the Stars,” Monica’s book is on sale now.
“Dancing With the Stars” has not yet been renewed for season 31. If it is renewed, it will return in September 2022.