When Dancing with the Stars returns for season 30 (yes, 30), out Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby will be one of the contestants vying for the coveted mirror ball trophy.
For the cycling instructor, Dancing with the Stars is an opportunity for Rigsby to return to his roots. “In my former life before fitness I was a professional dancer,” he told Good Morning America. “I danced for Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, so she’s used to busting a move.” The experience still presents some challenges, however, even for one of Peloton’s top instructors. “I’m definitely using muscles I haven’t used in a while because I’m dusting off those dancing shoes,” he added. “But I’ve built up the endurance on Peloton in my cycling classes so I’m ready.”
Rigsby has made a reputation for himself on the fitness app as a fun and empowering instructor with a killer pop playlist. “For me, fitness training is really about creating a relationship with myself physically, mentally, and emotionally, and intertwining all of those aspects,” he previously told The Advocate.
Dance and movement were a source of salvation for Rigsby, who struggled growing up gay in a small town in North Carolina. “I think when you’re loving yourself and loving your body through movement, it makes you feel stronger and more powerful. In turn, mentally, you have positive thoughts about yourself. You see yourself as a resilient, strong person, and that creates, in itself, emotional joy,” he explained.
He’s also described his role on the Peloton app like that of a Trojan horse of queer visibility. “I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m a gay person, even though some people don’t know,” Rigsby said. By becoming part of someone’s fitness routine, he says it allows him to potentially help “change their mindset about what a gay person is or looks like” and “gives them a call to action to speak up or to act within their own communities”.
Now Rigsby is taking that same “Trojan horse” charm and charisma to living rooms all across America on Dancing with the Stars. And he’s not the only member of the LGBTQ+ family that will be doing so. Joining him is Jojo Siwa, who came out earlier this year and is making history as the first contestant to dance with a same-sex partner on the long-running series. It's not yet clear whether Rigsby will dance with a same-sex partner as well.
In other words, queer fans of the show have plenty to celebrate — and folks to root for — when the new season premieres September 20 on ABC.