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Johnson Ready to 'Dance with My Heart' in Monday's Semi-Finals
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Rehearsing for the semi-finals of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" Monday, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson told IG she is handling this high-pressure phase of the competition with the same approach she has taken to major gymnastics events.

"The way I think about it really is that I just finished (U.S.) Championships and now I'm headed to (Olympic) Trials," said Johnson, who will dance the Argentine tango and jive with partner Mark Ballas. "I still take it day by day and always make sure I'm having fun. Things happen for a reason, and that's what I live by."

Johnson, the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and all-around silver medalist, said she and Ballas are eager to be entertaining but precise in each of Monday's two dances.

"With the tango we are looking to take on the character and bring out the emotions of anger and love," Johnson said. "It's a dance about romance and hate, so it is a whole fight scene, basically. With the jive it's all about having fun and being crazy. So the dances are completely opposite and will take a lot to master, but will be a lot of fun."

Last week, Johnson and Ballas earned their highest scores of the season for their paso doble, a dance that required Johnson to perform with a serious, dramatic style. Johnson said she is working to be at least as passionate when dancing the Argentine tango on Monday.

"It's all about getting into character and taking the fire I have inside to get to the final and putting it out on the dance floor," Johnson said. "It's like acting. Once you've got it, there's no stopping you. I think, after our breakthrough performance with the paso, I can take on anything!"

Earlier in the season, Johnson and Ballas performed fast-paced dances such as the Lindy Hop and the quickstep. Johnson said the nuances of the jive make it a unique challenge this week.

"With the jive it's all about stamina and fast footwork," said the 17-year-old Johnson. "If you don't keep up and use your personality at the same time, then it's ballroom suicide!"

Johnson said she and Ballas, one of the competition's four remaining couples, are well-prepared for Monday's performances.

"I took Wednesday and Thursday to travel to New York for a promotion, which set us back a bit, but it was definitely a needed break," Johnson said. "I feel refreshed and ready to go now."

With a berth to the final at stake Monday, Johnson said she is calm and confident.

"The only thing I think about before I go on is to give my best and have fun," she told IG. "I leave no regrets on the dance floor, and dance with my heart. It's the only thing I can do."

External Link: Dancing with the Stars

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