How Britt Stewart Is Changing the Game as Johnny Weir's Dancing With the Stars Partner
Britt Stewart has had one spectacular career as a dancer, from performing in three High School Musical movies to dancing in La La Land and touring as a dancer for Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez and more—but her latest career move might be her most exciting yet.
Britt is currently competing in her first-ever season of Dancing With the Stars alongside partner, Olympic figure skater, Johnny Weir. She also happens to be the show's first Black female pro dancer, making this one very momentous year.
We got the chance to ask Britt about all of it, from her dance history to paving the way to other women of color, and of course her new friendship with Johnny. Keep reading to find out everything she had to tell us.
Sweety High: How long have you been dancing? What first inspired you to get started, and how did things progress from there?
Britt Stewart: I have been dancing for 28 years and professionally for 16-plus years. I first started when I was 3 years old at a little dance studio doing ballet and tap. After my parents could not help but notice that I could not stop dancing around whenever there was music playing, they enrolled me at our local dance studio. From there, my parents and I got introduced to the world of competitive dance when I was 5 years old, and that shaped my dance training from there on out. I started training intensely on my competition team from age 5 until age 17 when I graduated high school. I also went to a performing arts middle and high school, where I was a dance major.
With an aspiring professional dancer as a child, my parents were very supportive in giving me as much opportunity and access as possible. Growing up, my parents would travel with me to New York City and Los Angeles in the summers to add to my training. One summer in NYC when I was 15, I was at a national competition where I got the amazing opportunity to join the cast of dancers for Disney Channel's High School Musical. It was a very serendipitous moment and the start of my professional career as a dancer. I ended up being a principal dancer in all three of the High School Musical movies, and the rest of was history!
SH: What has been the most exciting moment of your dance career so far?
BS: I feel incredibly grateful to have had my dance career. There are so many experiences that have truly enhanced my life and they usually come when I'm least expecting them! To have the opportunity to be on Dancing With the Stars is one of those experiences and moments in my career that I am the proudest of. I like to say that being on DWTS is the cherry on top of my dance career. Finding out this summer that I was going to be a pro on Season 29 was a dream come true and a moment in my career that I will never forget!
SH: What does it mean to you to be the first Black female pro dancer on Dancing With the Stars?
BS: To be the first Black female pro dancer on Dancing With the Stars means so much to me! It's an honor and a responsibility that I don't take lightly. I've always sought to accomplish things in my career because of my hard work and talent and not because of what I look like. I understand now that I am paving the way for that to be possible for someone of color to follow in my footsteps. I hope that this significant opportunity for me can inspire many to accomplish and reach for whatever dreams they have.
DWTS has always been a show that celebrates diversity. When I was on troupe for five seasons, I always felt supported and celebrated for all aspects of who I am. I believe that I'm the first Black female pro dancer in 29 seasons because of the lack of diversity in ballroom and the dance community as a whole. It starts at the foundation and the lack of opportunity and access in under-served communities throughout America where potential aspiring young dancers may be.
I'm so happy that there are steps being made to start the change in the industry. There are more conversations taking place and efforts to truly diversify entertainment. Representation, equity and inclusion are very important and start with opportunity. I'm pleased to see that efforts are starting to be made!
SH: What does it mean to you to be able to inspire people of color and show everyone that you can do what you've done?
BS: It's an honor to be able to inspire anyone in life! If I can inspire people of color, people who feel like they're different or even people that simply have a dream, then that is very special to me. I hope that what I've been able to accomplish will show everyone that their dreams and desires can be possible. I'm happy to pave the way and open the door of opportunity for more people of color!
SH: What is your dynamic like with Johnny Weir? Do you have a favorite story working with him so far?
BS: Johnny Weir! I feel so blessed that he is my partner for my first season and I know that our friendship will last beyond this season and DWTS. Johnny is a beautifully unique individual who is consistently his authentic self. We are strangely connected and have been since we first met at the beginning of the season. There are rare moments in your life when you meet someone and instantly feel like you've known them forever, and that was Johnny and I's experience. There is never a dull moment in this journey with him. Our rehearsals together are especially memorable. It's the perfect balance of hard work, focus, laughter, fun, creativity and joy!
SH: What's been the hardest thing you've done on the show together so far, and how did you get through it?
BS: The hardest thing Johnny and I have had to go through on the show so far was being in the bottom two. It was following a week where we were top of the leaderboard and earned the highest score of the season. It was a shock and disappointment to both of us. We were so grateful to be saved by the judges! We were of course affected by being in the bottom, but instead of dwelling in it, we both decided to use it as fuel going into the next week! I'm very proud of how we were able to use a difficult moment and turn it into hard work and motivation.
SH: What does your self-care routine look like? When you're stressed or overwhelmed, what strategies do you turn to?
BS: Having a self-care routine is something that is very important to me and when I'm stressed or overwhelmed I always turn to my routine! I've been meditating for eight years now, and do my best to make it part of my every day. I find that when I incorporate meditation, prayer and breathwork in my every day, it clears my mind, helps me feel both grounded and light, and positive overall! I also love to take candlelit baths, do yoga and get out in nature. My self-care doesn't always look the same and I always adapt it to what my body, mind and soul needs.
SH: Anything else you'd like to add?
BS: I just feel so grateful to be able to share my story with everyone! I feel very blessed to have had my journey thus far and hope it can inspire many. Dare to dream and when you are your unique, authentic self, anything can be possible!
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