Cheryl Burke of ‘Dancing with the Stars’03.06.13
For anyone who has two left feet, it’s not hard to find yourself vicariously living through the dancers on the hit competition show Dancing with the Stars. Two-time winning coach Cheryl Burke is putting on her dancing shoes to glide across the floor with a new celebrity partner – D.L. Hugley. She’s been a dancer since the age of four, so performing comes naturally, even if it is in front of millions watching her every twist, dip and turn. Still dancing isn’t her only goal in life; the book author and fashion symbol says she continuously pledges to stay fit and spend downtime with close family and friends, something that reminds us she’s just the friendly girl next door. Our editors were excited to hear that Burke is back for another season of Dancing with the Stars. Cotton Candy recently chatted with the ballroom dancing beauty, and she made us smile every dancing step of the way.
Out of all the styles of dancing – Latin, jazz, hip hop, ballet, ballroom – which genre is your favorite type of dance?
I was raised on ballet. I did ballet from the age four to 11, and then I switched to ballroom. So I’ve done about three or four different styles. I haven’t really done hip hop or jazz. I’m really more about ballet and Latin. For me I love the Latin dances, and that’s the reason I switched from ballet to Latin. It’s a part of me. [With Latin] there’s so many moves you can do.
Who is your single biggest influence when it comes to your dancing career?
I was trained by this man named Allan Tornsberg. He was my mentor growing up, and he’s really well known in the ballroom business. As a Latin dancer, he was one of the very best. Back in the day, he mentored me when I was about 16 years old. He really got me into my passion, definitely developing [my dancing] even more.
So this season, you’re partnered with comedian D.L. Hughley. Are you excited, and do you think you’ll be laughing at his jokes more than dancing when you’re practicing?
I think this season we are trying to bring [Dancing with the Stars] back to the way it was, not so competitive. I think everyone just wants to have fun. It is a competition dance show, but at the end of the day people want to see people’s chemistry together and laugh. It is a family show. I think the last season, we all started to think it was too competitive. I feel like this season, the producers and dancers want to bring back the feeling of freshness again. … So I think that me [partnered] with D.L. is perfect.
Do you have a strategy to win?
For me it’s always been that I don’t think about winning; just take everything step-by-step.
You’ve dabbled in a few guest spots when it comes to acting. Do you see yourself pulling away from dancing and pursuing an acting career?
I’m not really into acting, but I can never say never.
Dancing takes a lot of energy. What do you do to energize yourself when you are having a bad day?
For me it’s important to snack and eat throughout the day [like eating a little Sargento Cheese.] I think people make the mistake of becoming and staying dehydrated, and not energizing your body. We have to listen to our bodies.
We know you as a dancer, but what hobbies do you love to do that most of us don’t know about?
Obviously, I just love to be with my family and friends. I have a very close-knit base of friends who I hang out with. Also, I love to play tennis. In fact, I used to play tennis when I was a little girl. So, when I’m on vacation, I try to get some tennis playing in.
If you weren’t a dancer what would you be doing?
If I weren’t a dancer, I’d probably be a professional tennis player. I loved it so much growing up. I tried every sport possible when I was a little kid, so being a tennis player was definitely something I wanted to do.
Describe your personal style.
It’s important for me to really stay relatable to everyone and just have a style that is for comfort. I love to be comfortable. … I have a very curvy body, so it’s important to me to style my body in a way that it’s flattered the most.
We heard that you are all about healthy living. If women cannot dance in the studio eight hours per day, how do you suggest we get our exercise?
I think it’s important to break out in a sweat every single day, whether it’s running on a treadmill or doing yoga or hiking. Whatever it is you do, just keep it fun. Your body gets used to exercising … and you want to [push] your body as much as you can so that you can break out in a sweat.
Who do you think will be the toughest competition this season?
Well, we haven’t seen anyone yet, but I know that D.L. [Hughley] says that [comedian] Andy Dick is competition because he is the other comedian. (Giggles) So I’m just going to stick with whoever D.L. says is his competition. (Laughs)
Written by: Nicole D. Smith