09/25/2011 at 08:00 PM EDT
What a week! Never in a million years did I dream I would shimmy out from behind a desk, rip off my jacket and cross a ballroom dance floor to a gorgeous Irishman – in front of millions of people. Nor did I ever imagine being in jeopardy and so close to being sent home
But, let me back up. The first week was extremely tough. The physical component
of the Dancing with the Stars
competition is grueling – and often goes without discussion because of all the glitz and glamour of the final product. But, in every rehearsal studio, dance couples are working long hours, learning dance steps, technique, choreography ... I've seen a lot of heart here. It's truly inspiring. My feet are aching and bandaged but my partner Tristan
and I keep going.
Premiere day was crazy. Last minute dance routine tweaks, orchestra blocking, dress rehearsal. The entire day, up until we danced, I kept thinking, "Please don't let me fall down that beautiful new steep staircase they built ... please don't let me disappoint Tristan!"
Side note: not only is Tristan my lucky charm, but he truly is incredible. Now you can all see what I've seen for weeks – his dancing's like magic. He is elegant and sweet as pie; I am truly blessed to have him as a partner and leader!
The dance went well. I was upset that I missed a few steps, but I did stay vertical with Tristan's help. I just had such a wonderful time dancing. There was a moment right after Tristan and I finished, I glanced over at my family and their joy lit me up – I am sure you could see the smile on my face. Between them, Tristan and the viewers who cared enough to vote for Team MacGrace, we managed to survive another week and take on our next big challenge ... the quickstep!
Watch Nancy and Tristan perform on Dancing with the Stars
at Monday (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.