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Heather shows she can dance
Paul McCartney’s estranged wife, Heather Mills, rehearses with her dancing partner Jonathan Roberts ahead of the Dancing With The Stars TV show in London. (AP)

New York, March 20 (AP): Heather Mills stepped up and showed she can dance on a prosthetic leg. Gracefully.

Mills’s appearance on Dancing With the Stars last night had been eagerly awaited, amid public speculation that she might experience trouble.

The ABC dancing contest, returning for its fourth season, was a big hit in the past. But adding a new level of interest is the presence of the 39-year-old activist and estranged wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney as one of the 11 celebrity contestants.

If there was anyone watching who did not know about Mills’s prosthesis, host Tom Bergeron wasted no time at the beginning of the show reminding them that contenders include “our first performer with an artificial limb.”

Mills was kept until next to last on the live, two-hour broadcast. She proved graceful in a foxtrot with her partner Jonathan Roberts. The routine even included a kick with her artificial left leg.

The couple got a warm reception from the panel of three judges. “You’ve got more guts than Rambo,” said Bruno Tonioli, who went on to criticise not her legs but her top half — her arms — during the performance.

Said fellow judge Len Goodman, “There was far more right about that routine than was wrong.” The judges’ total score: 18 out of 30.

Mills told viewers she hoped her appearance would inspire others with a disability: “A little kid sitting there who’s just lost a limb — I hope they’re gonna go, ‘Oh, I can.’”

For Mills, who lost the lower part of her left leg in a traffic accident 14 years ago, the competition is not just a chance to demonstrate what she can do on the dance floor. It may also be a chance to repair an image that has suffered during her bitter breakup with McCartney, from whom she separated last May after four years of marriage. The couple, who have a three-year-old daughter, began divorce proceedings in July.

On Dancing With the Stars, the contenders are rated through a combination of viewer voting and judges’ scores.

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