A few years back you looked at the field when the contestants were named for DWTS Season 19 and one name stood out: Alfonso Ribeiro. Why? Because among the racecar drivers, chefs, and businesspeople was one resume that said: dancer. Or let’s get more specific: danced the lead role in “The Tap Dance Kid” when he was just 11 years old. Where, you ask? Oh yeah, on Broadway. (He also danced with Michael Jackson.) Judge Len Goodman said to Ribeiro at one point: “I hope America votes for you because you’re the best dancer.” Duh. They did. He won the Mirror Ball Trophy.
Paige VanZant, 21, comes into the Dancing With The Stars Season 22 as a fighter. A bad-ass UFC take no prisoners fighter, that is. But if you know anything about how dancers train, fighters got nothin’ on ballerinas. Growing up, VanZant’s parents owned a dance studio. She has studied ballet, jazz and hip hop for most of her life. Story goes that when the VanZants moved to Nevada from Oregon, Paige was looking for a new dance studio when she stumbled (well, strolled with dancer’s poise and grace) into a gym run by a UFC fighter. She took a new direction. Now she’s back. And on top of being able to work in a “A Chorus Line” VanZant’s got a blue belt in Jiu-jitsu. She’s a ringer who has spent time in the ring.