Jenna Johnson called her husband Val Chmerkovskiy her “secret weapon” when the two compete together on Dancing with the Stars. The ABC reality dance series, which will enter its 29th season this fall, will likely once again pit the husband and wife dance pros against once another on the ballroom floor. However, Jenna doesn’t see their time together on the series as a rivalry.
In fact, the professional dancer revealed in an interview with Dance Magazine that she sees the opportunity as a way to enjoy and support the sport of dance, a career they both love. She also revealed that working with her husband almost feels like they are breaking Dancing with the Stars‘ carefully constructed rules.
“People think we want to beat one another, but I feel like he’s my secret weapon. Sometimes I’m like, ‘Is this cheating?’ because I literally have him on my side,” she revealed of the love and support given by her spouse of one year during what can be a difficult competition season on the popular television series.
Jenna also revealed that the biggest challenge she has faced on the series — where she partners with celebrities that have varying levels of dance experience — has been to let celebs know that they can achieve greatness on their own terms. She revealed that many of the celebrity competitors try to look like professionals, which is impossible for most of them.
While some celebrity contestants have a natural ability to match the moves of the pro and troupe dancers on the series, their true journey is about overcoming personal challenges and their ability to move forward to the next round of the competition.
Jenna and Val are currently on tour with the Dancing with the Stars Live! production, where celebrities from Season 28 of the series keep pace alongside the pros in a two-hour exciting dance and entertainment show.
Performing on this tour alongside Val and Jenna are fellow show stars Witney Carson, Gleb Savchenko, Lindsay Arnold, Emma Slater, Sasha Farber, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, Pasha Pashkov, and Daniella Karagach.
The celebrities featured on the tour include mirrorball winner and The Bachelorette star Hannah Brown, former The Office star Kate Flannery, actor Kel Mitchell, singer Ally Brooke, country superstar Lauren Alaina, and model Sailor Brinkley-Cook.
The tour began in January and will crisscross the United States before ending in April.
Jenna also revealed that both on the series and during the tour, there are certain things she must do in order to feel she will have a successful show.
“I can’t do a show without saying a prayer and giving my husband a kiss or a hug. I also have to make sure I do my middle splits,” she revealed to Dance Magazine of her pre-show ritual.