When Season 27 of Dancing With the Stars premiered on Monday, Sept. 24, one cast member made show history. Three-time Paralympic alpine skiier Danelle Umstead, who is partnered with pro Artem Chigvintsev, is the series’ first ever blind contestant

Following her emotional debut performance dancing a Foxtrot to “Rise Up” — she and Artem received a score of 18/30 from the judges! — Danelle, 46, candidly opened up about her “amazing” experience so far on the hit reality competition. 

“It was beautiful and exciting and scary and everything put into a beautiful package, thanks to Artem,” Danelle told Entertainment Tonight of her first dance. The Paralympian — who lost her sight from retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye disorder — also opened up about the challenges of appearing on DWTS this season. 

“Artem is guiding me 100 percent. I feel it in his touch, I feel it in his movement, and his words. So he’s painting me a picture all the time, whether it’s through words or through feeling, and it’s a beautiful thing,” mom-of-one Danelle explained. 

“I have four years to train for [the Paralympics]. Artem and I have a week. So it’s intense,” she continued. “I push myself sometimes a little too hard, and I’m a perfectionist. I’m always thinking I can do better.”

Artem, 36 — who has been a pro on Dancing With the Stars since Season 19 in 2014 — also spoke out about working with Danelle. “Coming into this, I did not know what to do, honestly. It’s me trying things and seeing if it works, it’s a bit of trial and error for both of us. And it’s a journey for Danelle as much as a journey for myself, because I never thought I would have an opportunity to teach a blind person how to dance. It’s me re-learning how to choreograph and challenging myself as a coach. You don’t get opportunities like that all the time,” he said. 

Watch Danelle and Artem’s first DWTS performance in the video below! 

Following her first dance, host Tom Bergeron sweetly brought Danelle’s husband, Rob Umstead — who is the skiier’s guide during alpine races — and her adorable guide dog, Aziza, onstage to congratulate Danelle on her DWTS debut. 

“[Rob’s support] felt amazing. That’s what I was hoping for. He supports every dream I have, and this dream has been a big dream of mine for a very long time. He’s my biggest fan,” she gushed of her hubby. We can’t wait to watch Danelle’s Dancing With the Stars journey continue this season — be sure to tune in to the show Monday and Tuesday nights at 8/7c on ABC!