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How Lindsay Arnold Learned to Believe in Herself

Lindsay Arnold (photo by Brandon Showers)

Lindsay Arnold is hoping this is her season to win the Mirror Ball on "Dancing with the Stars," and we've gotta say—it really could be! With her gorgeous choreography and her partner Jordan Fisher's natural ability, we won't be surprised if they, "take the lead," so to speak.

On the road to this glamorous career, while training at VIBE dance studio in Lindon, Utah, Arnold had a mentor that she says paved the way for her future as a performer. Rick Robinson—who also trained Julianne and Derek Hough, Witney Carson and Mark Ballas—taught her the value of being versatile as a performer and to always maintain confidence.

"Rick constantly reminds me not to focus on pleasing other people. Which is hard because, as a dancer, I'm literally going to competitions to be judged. It can be really difficult to hear someone's critique of me, but he reminds me that my opinion is the only one that's important. If I'm happy with what I'm doing, then that's all that should matter. He gave me so much confidence in this industry that's so full of rejection."

Watch Arnold and Fisher compete Monday nights on "Dancing with the Stars."

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Even in his early training, he was learning from Russian educators: Alexander Boitsov at Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, and Alexei and Natalia Cherov, from the Koresh School of Dance. At age 13, he transferred to The Rock School for Dance Education, where he danced until his acceptance to The Bolshoi Ballet Academy at age 14. At 16, Shayer returned to spend his summer in the States and attended ABT's summer intensive—fully intent on going back to Bolshoi to continue his training in the fall. Four weeks in, he was offered a studio-company contract. "I was so surprised," Shayer says. "Having come of age in Russia, I was very Eurocentric. Of course ABT was on my radar, I just never imagined it was for me."

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