Dancing With the Stars

Amber Riley: DWTS Has Taught Me to Push My Limits

UPDATED 09/24/2013 at 10:50 AM EDT Originally published 09/24/2013 at 09:00 AM EDT

Dancing with the Stars' Amber Riley Is Pushing Her Limits
Amber Riley and Derek Hough
Craig Sjodin/ABC
As any Glee fan knows, Amber Riley has talent. But the actress has taken her skills to a whole new level on Dancing with the Stars.

"This has taught me that I can do a lot more than I thought I could," a choked-up Riley, 27, told PEOPLE after scoring 24 points for her jive with Derek Hough on Monday night's show.

"Tonight was – I'm not even on camera and I'm crying like a dork. But it really has taught me that I can do more than I thought I could."

Part of what has helped her believe in herself is support from Emmy winner Hough.

"Derek keeps me from getting negative," Riley explains. "When I get to that place, he's good at redirecting me. Even in my everyday life, I can learn from that."

Adds the star: "I'm just having so much fun. I'm having so much fun that I don't even think about [scores], especially when I'm on the dance floor."

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