Koko Iwasaki Talks About Joining ‘DWTS’ as a First-Time Pro
Dancing with the Stars Season 31 pro Koko Iwasaki recently opened up about joining the show for her first season as a pro dancer. She became connected to the show through her time on So You Think You Can Dance, thanks to pro Val Chmerkovskiy.
Koko Iwasaki Joined Dancing with the Stars This Season
Iwasaki was the runner-up on Season 14 of So You Think You Can Dance in 2017. During the show, Chmerkovskiy choreographed a Salsa routine between her and fellow dancer Kiki Nyemchek, who is now her boyfriend.
“When Val planted a kiss in our dance, it got me and Kiki together — but it also brought me into the world of everyone in ‘Dancing with the Stars,'” Iwasaki told Good Morning America.
When Iwasaki got the call inviting her to be a pro on DWTS this season, she started crying. She said she was “so excited, so grateful, so terrified and just overwhelmed.” The dancer added that it was “a long time coming for me as far as what I’ve wanted to do with my goals and dreams and stuff.”
Iwasaki Says the Show Is Harder Than She Thought It Would Be
For her first season, Iwasaki is paired with Jersey Shore star Vinny Guadagnino. She told GMA that teaching someone how to dance is harder than she expected it would be.
“It wasn’t so much about the steps, but it was all about the mental connections I can make from his regular life and what he does already to now dancing. It’s kind of like finding a language between us,” Iwasaki said. “But it really pays off so much when you see your star be happy after they perform. There’s literally nothing like it.”
Iwasaki and Guadagnino have made it through four weeks of the competition so far. Last week, during Disney+ Night, they earned their highest score yet with a 29 for their Samba to “Il Gatto E La Volpe” from the movie Luca.