Dancing With the... Scars?

by Sarah Freymiller

Dancing is apparently something of a blood sport. On Thursday, April 24, Danica McKellar broke her rib during Dancing With the Stars . She and her Ukrainian dance partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, have been performing well this season, earning a 39 out of 40 and 36 out of 40 on their last two dance routines. Despite her injury, the Wonder Years star will continue to compete and promote her series of saucy math books. On Twitter, she says of her recent visit to the USA Science Festival, "In these wide shots you can't see my rib brace. ;)"

McKellar is also supported throughout the healing process by Chmerkovskiy, who tweeted, "1 broken rib/ 2 dances to prep/ 3 missed days of rehearsals/ Seeing @danicamckellar persevere/ PRICELESS!!!" Indeed, this nose-and-rib-to-the-grindstone mentality is prevalent throughout the world of competitive dancing. We saw Black Swan: we know that ballet will chew you up and spit you out again. Contestants on shows like Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, however, go through their own fair share of bruising and contusing. With injuries and other stressors in mind, let's take a look at how Dancing With the Stars can easily shift to Dancing With the Scars.

Blood, Guts and Gore

From herniated discs to concussions and stress fractures, many contestants on Dancing With the Stars have suffered bodily harm as a result of their participation. Check out E! Online's full slideshow for the gory details, you terrible person, you.

Salt in the Wound

Even when you get back up after you stumble, your trips and slips will be immortalized on YouTube and on various entertainment websites. Take this compilation, in which the host admits, "One of our guiltiest pleasures is seeing people slip up." Stars must enter each week with the knowledge that, while their performance may earn them fame and glory, they also face the possibility of embarrassing themselves on national television.

Personality Flaws Writ Large

Ahhh, the glory of reality television. Each episode is a free personality profile, and the producers of Dancing With the Stars make sure to collect the best meltdowns of each season so that contestants can relive their worst moments. Moral of the story? If you have an ugly cry face or tend to swear profusely when angry, this show is definitely for you.

Relationship Stressors

Sara Evans withdrew from Dancing With the Stars in 2006 after filing for a divorce, and her personal life was subsequently splashed all over the news. While many married celebrities survive the show with their relationships intact, it has to be difficult to be away from your loved ones while sweating with and on someone else's well-muscled body. Mr. & Mrs. Smith, anyone?

While contestants on Dancing With the Stars are subject to health, dignity, and psyche threats on a daily basis, why do they push through? For love of the dance, of course. And maybe the chance to make a total of $356,000 over the course of the season. I'm not judging them, because I'd jump at the chance to make $100 by doing the Bernie for an hour outside of a Taco Bell. Dancing With the Stars, with its high-risk, high-reward profile, is the show for the American in all of us. Make or break, star or scar, or pain or gain, it never fails to entertain.