There was a run on Kleenex during Amy Purdy and Derek Hough’s incredibly emotional performance on Monday night’s Dancing with the Stars. For “Most Memorable Year” week Amy chose to dedicate her performance to her father who not only gave her a kidney while she was hospitalized for a form of bacterial meningitis, the illness that also caused the loss of her legs, but was there to catch her when she fell while first learning to walk again.
The contemporary dance wowed the judges and brought tears to everyone in the audience, so how did Amy and Derek manage to keep their composure during the routine? The inspiring pair explain their ritual to OK!.
OK!: Derek, how do you keep Amy in the zone when you’re dancing a routine that is as emotional as Monday night’s?
Derek Hough: Before we went on I just tried to keep her in the place of gratitude. We do a thing called stacking where you sort of envision something in front of you and then you pull it close to your chest and then you pull something else and stack it on your chest and then pull something else. It keeps that kind of feeling of your father, your family, being here, every step you take is a miracle—all of these beautiful things. It puts you in a state of feeling amazing and then you can go out there and do a better job instead of worrying about missing a step.
OK!: Is that something you learned from doing the show all of these years?
DH: I learn different things from different people. Or I’ve learned this doesn’t work so I ask, “When do I perform my best? Oh, it’s when I’m in this state so let’s get her in that state.” I’ve done it so often now I kind of know what works and what doesn’t. It’s so psychological.
OK!: Next week is the big partner switch-up, who would you love to see Amy paired up with?
DH: Anybody. I trust all of our guys on here. I think they would all take such good care of her.
OK!: Amy, have you found this idea of “stacking” before a performance works well for you?
Amy Purdy: Derek and I are really like-minded. We come from the same train of thought. He may put it in a different way than I would put it. What I do try to do, though, is use what I’m feeling to be positive. That’s how I got where I’m at. You can easily go down a negative spiral if you start thinking about all of the negative stuff. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if I had done that. It is just about thinking about what you’re grateful for. He’s been so supportive. He’s like, “Every single step you take is success. You weren’t even supposed to be here so every step you take is success.” He reminds me of how amazing life is and how grateful we are to be dancing together.
Which Dancing with the Stars couple is your favorite to win? Tell us in the comments or tweet @OKMagazine.