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Rippon, Nagasu light up ballroom on 'DWTS'

Despite packed schedules, Olympians continue to their bring their best
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Mirai Nagasu's Disney-themed foxtrot and Adam Rippon's crisp quickstep received rave reviews across the board. -ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars is an abbreviated four-week version of the reality show, so there is no time for the usual Disney night. Instead, Mirai Nagasu and dance partner Alan Bersten brought the Disney spirit to life in an exquisite foxtrot set to "It's a Small World" for their Week Two performance.

"It was like putting all of Disney week into one dance," said Bersten, who played Prince Charming to Nagasu's Cinderella. "It worked so well, and I'm so happy. The package was incredible. We got to go to Disneyland, film there and get some inspiration. The whole creative team and wardrobe made it work."

It was an elaborate production number, for which Nagasu and Bersten only had one hour to practice with DWTS troupe members. Dress rehearsal was the first time everyone performed together with the carriage on stage.

"The troupe is so good at adjusting to the celebrities," Bersten said. "Mirai is really open with everyone and has a great relationship with everyone on set, so it's easy for her to connect with the troupe dancers. I also give praise to the troupe dancers for making the number look amazing."

With Nagasu doing with a foxtrot and Adam Rippon and partner Jenna Johnson performing a quickstep, both singles skaters -- who have no previous partner experience -- had to learn to dance in closed hold. Despite the inexperience, both were up the task, with each receiving three 9's and one 10.

"We worked so hard on the foxtrot," Bersten said. "I'm really adamant about teaching the proper technique right away. The first thing we did was I started teaching her the frame and the connection between us. She picked that up really quickly."

Taking in the sights and sounds of Monday night's performances was Season 18 champion Meryl Davis, who won the mirror ball trophy in 2014 with Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

"Mirai was so elegant and looked like a princess -- not just in the dress, but the way she moved and carried herself," Davis said. "'Electric' is a great word for Adam and Jenna.

"Mirai and Adam are having the time of their lives, which is what Dancing with the Stars is about," she continued. "It's a pleasure to watch."

Bersten and Johnson are spending time on the road with their partners as the skaters tour with Stars on Ice, so there is no room to rest.

"I feel every week you have to come out with something spectacular," Bersten said. "I'm exhausted from traveling with Stars on Ice. I can't even imagine how Mirai and Adam feel."

Next week, Nagasu and Bersten will dance a quickstep to "Bo$" by Ray Chew Live, while Rippon and Johnson will take on a contemporary routine to Coldplay's "O." Following those performances, the two will face off against each other by dancing a jive, with both teams on stage at the same time.

"Mirai has done the salsa, which was really fast and sexy, and then she did the foxtrot, which was really elegant and smooth," Bersten said. "The quickstep is combining the fierceness of salsa and the elegance of the foxtrot."