Amy Purdy is opening the Paralympics in Rio with a five-minute solo dance routine on high-tech blades.
2014 was an amazing year for Amy Purdy. The double amputee (both of her legs were removed after complications from bacterial meningitis when she was 19 years old; she's now 36) won the Bronze for snowboarding in the Paralympics and soon after, she blew our minds on Dancing With the Stars. Her dance moves on her prosthetics were so incredible that she never received a score below 8 (out of 10) the entire season and ended up coming in second place overall. Tonight, Purdy is back at the Paralympics in Rio—not to compete, but to dance her heart out during the opening ceremony. She'll also report on the games for NBC.
— Brasil 2016 (@Brasil2016) September 2, 2016
Purdy will perform a five-minute solo—a samba-inspired number—on her running blades. They give her a wider range of motion than the legs she used on DWTS as these blades are made of titanium and carbon fiber. "They're made to propel you forward, but you can't really stop that whole time, 'cause they store energy," Purdy explained to the Washington Post. "But once I mastered it, I found myself with more movement in my blades."
Purdy has really been immersing herself in the culture since she arrived in Rio, so she can emulate the Brazilian style of dance, which includes a lot of hip movements. "It's very sexy, but not at all in a raunchy way. The type of samba I'm doing is all about confidence and charm. You allow yourself to feel very feminine and charming, in how you hold yourself, with your shoulders back and your chest high, but your arms are really relaxed," Purdy said in the same Washington Post story. "Your body moves the way it's supposed to."
Purdy posted a rehearsal photo on Instagram, saying, "4 billion people are estimated to watch the Rio Paralympic Games from 154 countries world wide holy cow! And... I cannot believe the Opening Ceremonies are already tomorrow night! I wouldn't be able to do any of this without my amazing dance coach @jbelflow by my side every step of the way! From teaching me how to dance in her studio in Colorado to making multiple trips to Rio with me to rehearse, she has gone above and beyond and I can't wait to show you guys what we have been working on!! Make sure to watch tomorrow night on NBCSN at 7 pm!!! You don't want to miss it, it's going to be huge! #rio216 #dancewithyourheart #kuka @paralympics #brazil"
The routine will also feature Purdy dancing with a KUKA robotic arm, which fits in with the theme of the Paralympics. "It's the relationship of the human spirit with technology," Purdy says. "That's really what the Paralympics is about, these amazing athletes and this technology that's allowing them to reach their full potential." And dancing for five minutes solo is a huge deal for Purdy—her routines on DWTS were only about 90 seconds long and her snowboarding runs only last about a minute. But if anyone is up for the challenge, it's Purdy. Marcelo Rubens Paiva, one of the directors, said that Purdy will be "the Gisele Bündchen" of the Paralympic Games opening ceremony. If you remember how Bündchen was all the talk of the Olympics opening ceremony, then we're psyched to see Purdy take the spotlight where she belongs!