McElhenney’s dance partner, Shea, had years of professional experience, but even she was impressed by how quickly McElhenney picked up her trade. “We tried one of the lifts, just to see how we moved and how we vibed together,” Shea recalled. “I think everyone had the same reaction. We couldn’t believe he wasn’t a dancer. He wowed me from the very first day with his abilities as a dancer.”
The ballerina wasn’t the only one with a dance background that was blown away by McElhenney’s abilities. “Rob is naturally a caretaker, and that’s something you have to be as a partner,” added Moctezuma. “We can’t let our partner fall. It’s not about us as the male dancer; our goal is to make our partner look beautiful. He would get it on the first try with Alison [Faulk] and we would be like, What the hell?”
All of their practice culminated in one crazy moment. At the very end of the dance, Shea takes a running leap into McElhenney’s arms. Most people might have been scared to trust a relatively untrained dancer with such a complicated move, but Shea described this moment as “exhilarating.”
“You have to establish this blind trust, and you have to know your partner is there and will do everything in their power to protect you because you could get injured and your career would be over,” she told Vulture. “But the thing is, Rob instinctually has all of the qualities of an incredible dance partner. He’s the type that would throw himself on the floor just so you wouldn’t get hurt.”
This difficult leap might not have felt like a challenge to Shea, but the strenuous twelve-hour shoot was a struggle even for her. “It was one of the most physically demanding days of dance I’ve experienced and I’ve done a lot of dance,” she admitted.