Ballroom dancing has long been popular in Utah, particularly in Utah County, but Dancing with the Stars has brought the sport of dance into the national spotlight.
“I wonder if we should rephrase it, not what has Dancing with the Stars done for Utah, but what Utah has done for Dancing with the Stars,” DWTS principal dancer Louis Van Amstel said.
Utah has provided dancers such as Julianne and Derek Hough, Mark Ballas and Chelsie Hightower and stars like Donny and Marie Osmond, and Apolo Ohno. However, that is not the state’s only influence.
“I love Utah, The hottest people are all in Utah,” Dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy said. “I’ve been teaching in Utah since I was like 16.”
Karina Smirnoff used to go to BYU for years as well and still praises the BYU formation team.
Kym Johnson was also influenced by Utah.
“I know Utah loves dancing. I spent quite a lot of time there when I was with Donny Osmond, yeah I loved it.” Johnson said. “I loved being in Utah. It was great, beautiful.”
Dancing with the Stars caught on to the Utah trend and began to feature more Utah young talent. Utah Valley University won the College competition and the Vibe teens performed a number choreographed by Ballas, to name a few.
“It’s just great to see that a state like Utah is so unexpected to have such high level of dancing and I think it’s great,” Van Amstel said. “I love the fact also that ABC has chosen all these dancers from Utah.”