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Utahn competing in 'Dancing with the Stars' shares her experience

By Dave McCann | Posted - May 7th, 2013 @ 11:09pm

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OREM — Chelsie Hightower is living proof that with determination and commitment anything is possible, as she competes on this season's "Dancing with the Stars"

Hightower has been "Dancing with the Stars" for the better part of nine seasons. Before that, at age 18, she wowed audiences on "So You Think You Can Dance." She's dazzling the planet with dance while keeping her personal standards intact

"I was definitely shy when I was little," Hightower said. "I hated dancing because of it and there was a lot of things that I had to overcome in order to be where I'm at today."

When it comes to performing, Hightower said it can be nerve racking. Dancers have such little control over judges, and even if she knows her routine was good, she said it's hard to predict what the judges will say.

"You really just have to have confidence in yourself and kind of let go of everything that you can't control," she said.

When asked why she thinks people stop pursuing their dreams, Hightower responded, "Fear."

"The fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, the fear of not knowing what to do or what's next," she said. "For me, I definitely had all those fears, but you just have to learn to go on in spite of it."

When Hightower isn't in Hollywood, she is in Orem where she grew up with her mom Laurie and five older brothers. The Timpanogos High School graduate has allowed dance to bridge two very different worlds.

"When I come back to Utah it's very chill," Hightower said. "The culture is very family-oriented and it's very kind. In L.A. it's kind of the opposite, where people don't believe in necessarily getting married and having kids."

When it comes to some of Hightower's dance costumers, her five brothers are often protective and voice their opinions.

"They'll definitely be like, ‘Uh Chels, we saw your outfit last night and, uh you know, make sure you cover up a little bit,'" she said. "They are cute, but they are very protective of me at the same time.

Hightower is the new face of Reebok's line of dance wear. Her big dream is to one day open a studio where she can teach full time.

"I think if I can teach some of the people that I taught in my Dancing with the Stars career, I can absolutely teach anybody to dance," she said.

Her dancing career has been a rollercoaster. She's had her ups and downs, like when Michael Bolton forgot the whole second half of their dance. To the boys and men dragged to their sister's dance recitals, Hightower offered her support.

"I'd just say support them and I'm sorry that you have to sit through two hours of that," she said. "My brothers have sat through those many times and it's a little painful, but try to embrace it if you can."

Hightower isn't the only Utah talent gracing "Dancing with the Stars." Provo's Lindsay Arnold, a Timpview graduate, is also dancing this season.


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