When Nyle DiMarco went shirtless to play Tarzan on Monday’s episode of Dancing With The Stars, he wasn’t doing it just to impress the judges or to showcase his chiseled six-pack, it was also for the sheer joy of playing the Disney character, who meant a lot to him growing up.
Nyle DiMarco, who is DWTS’s first fully deaf contestant, has impressed the judges and the show’s viewers yet again on the dance competition show’s Disney Week special. Each contestant was given the option to choose a classic Disney song to dance to on Monday. For Nyle, there was no other choice but Tarzan on account of his deep connection with the character.
“Tarzan is one of my favorite films,” DiMarco explained via his sign language interpreter in a pre-recorded interview. “Tarzan and Jane, when they first met, they couldn’t really understand each other.”
“That’s exactly what’s happening with us,” the 26-year-old model said to his dancing partner Peta Murgatroyd. “So I always wished I could actually be Tarzan.”
“I am Tarzan,” he said. “Tarzan and I would like for people to respect the culture differences and let them evolve on their own because they know what is the best for themselves.”
Visibly excited over the opportunity to play his favorite character, Nyle DiMarco pounded his chest and screamed at the top of his lungs, the way Tarzan would have done it.
With Nyle playing Tarzan and Peta playing Jane, the dancing pair put on a brilliant show to the delight of everyone who watched them that night. The pair received a lot of love from the judges too, who gave the pair a score of 34 out of 40 — one of the highest scores of the night.
“The lord of the jungle is now the lord of the dance,” judge Bruno Tonioli gushed. “You are perfectly undressed for the occasion. And one thing is for sure [you] won the Emmy for best supporting loin cloth! Great work!”
“Nyle, I look at your body and we are so much alike,” judge Len Goodman said in jest. “It had great energy, it was a great performance and a great dance.”
“You stayed in character, you had fun. I felt it,” guest judge Zendaya Coleman praised.
What made the performance even more impressive is the fact that DiMarco was able to time his dance moves to Peta’s and the music even with his hearing disability.
“Being born deaf, I think that helps me, because sound never actually existed to me,” Nyle explained. “Basically, I just follow Peta’s movement and I just act it out. And I can see the beats from Peta, so I think that’s how we do it.”
Not only did Nyle empower those who have a hearing disability worldwide, he also helped spread awareness about The Nyle DiMarco Foundation, an organization he founded which aims to help deaf people and their families worldwide.
“Only two percent of the world’s deaf population has access to education in sign language,” Nyle said. “Our current focus is on deaf children and their families. We wish to serve as a resource for families seeking access to accurate, research-based information about language options — bilingualism in particular (ASL and English).”
UFC star Paige VanZant and Good Morning America anchor Ginger Zee tied for the highest score of the night with 36. VanZant and Mark Ballas stunned the audience with an amazing quick step set to Toy Story’s“You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” while Zee and partner Val Chmerkovski delivered to the Beauty and the Beast tune, “Belle.”
NFL star Antonio Brown scored a 35 for his jazz performance of Aladdin’s “Friend Like Me” with dancing partner Sharna Burgess. Boyz II Men’s Wayne Morris and Lindsay Arnold also scored 35 for their samba performance of The Lion King’s“Circle of Life.”
Nyle DiMarco said that he plans to continue his modeling and television career after his stint on Dancing with the Stars. To catch Nyle’s Tarzan performance, tune in at 8 pm ET on ABC.
[Image via Dancing with the Stars/YouTube]