Cheryl Burke leaves ‘Dancing With the Stars’, hopes to become a judge

cheryl burke It is leaving “dancing with the stars” after season 31, and hopes it will return in another capacity.

In an interview with VarietyThe professional dancer, who announced her departure via Instagram on Sunday, detailed the decision to leave after competing in 26 seasons.

“If I had to speak only as an athlete, a dancer and a woman, my time is up. I am 38 years old. When I entered as a competitive dancer at 21, it was a different story, ”she explains. “That decision itself was very difficult for me: to put everything aside, come [to L.A.] and doing a TV show that I had no idea was going to last this long. My intention was just to be here for a season and come back.”

Burke has been a part of “Dancing With the Stars” since 2006. He won seasons 2 and 3, with partners Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith, respectively. He left at the end of season 19 but returned for season 23. He also took off seasons 24 and 26 before returning for seasons 27-31. In all, he has competed in 25 seasons of the main show and one season of the spin-off “Juniors.” During season 31, she and her partner Sam Champion were eliminated during the third week.

Sam Champion and Cheryl Burke on season 31 of “Dancing With the Stars.”

“I want to continue to evolve. Whether it’s with the show or not, it’s up to me,” she says. “However, as a dancer, I am hanging up my dancing shoes.”

In our full interview below, Burke says he would love to continue to be a part of the show and has expressed high hopes for fill the seat of len goodman at the judges table.

Let’s start at the top. You’ve been on the show since season 2. Why are you leaving now?

After 26 seasons, it’s been an incredible career and journey. If I were to speak only as an athlete, a dancer, and a woman, my time is up. I am 38 years old. When I arrived as a competitive dancer at 21, it was a different story. That decision itself was very difficult for me: to put everything aside, come [to Los Angeles] and doing a TV show that I had no idea was going to last this long. My intention was just to stay here for a while and come back. I guess the year of full circle is the fact that I decided now to take a leap of faith as well. There’s so much more I want to do besides teaching a celebrity how to dance. Mind you, this has been a beautiful thing. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. I’m saying this in a fancy way. However, it is time. I want to continue to evolve, whether it’s with the program or not, it’s not up to me. However, as a dancer, I am hanging up my dancing shoes.

Okay, but you’ve taken time off before. Is this another break or are you retiring?

That is all. I am taking responsibility. I’m doing my last dance Monday night with Louis. [Van Amstel] and pacha [Pashkov]. I have had all kinds of emotions and a lot of insecurity and fear. But I’m following my intuition, even if it’s scary. When one door closes, another opens and I believe that with all my heart. This is, in a way, an amicable divorce, I guess you could say. I’ve been through two this year. It’s not easy, and I don’t recommend it. However, I recommend it for people who want to take risks and who want to keep growing. I have grown a lot, especially this past year and a half. I have done a lot of work and soul searching. It sounds so cliche, and I know I’ve been lucky to have a platform like “Dancing With the Stars.” I would really like to show other sides of myself, especially when it comes to mental health.

He has been very open about his personal struggles and helping others. Is it something you will focus on more after you leave the show?

Yes. I also have a 10-year dance program in the works that I hope to launch next year called Body Language, and it has a lot to do with it. It’s just another resource that people can add to their resource list when they’re feeling sad or down. Movement has played a very important role in my life. I have always said that movement has saved my life. Dance has saved my life and I want that to be possible for everyone.

When did you make the final decision that this season would be your last?

I would say it was even before the season started. This has been a long time coming. I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before and I have. However, there is something inside of me that pushes me to keep going and keep going. I also have another chance to be a part of a show that is very popular, but I can’t say more because nothing has been signed yet.

Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli in “Dancing With the Stars.”
©Disney+/Courtesy Everett Collection

He has also expressed his desire to be a judge. Is that discussion taking place now, especially with Len leaving?

They are well aware that I want that seat. It’s not that I just want it, I just know that I can contribute because I am an expert in ballroom dancing. I can say that with confidence. I can also say that my teaching methods are not known to be sugar coated. I have a lot of experience doing “Dance Moms”. Len is really technical and he really tells you how it is. That is my style. It would be nice to see two women on the panel! I don’t know where they’re going with this. I know they still have the grand finale to come and they want to get through the season, but they are very conscious. They have been very aware probably for a few years now. Unfortunately, that decision is not up to me. I would love to still be a part of the family, I would just love to have a different role on the show, like anyone after 26 seasons of the same title. I think it’s important, at least for me, to feel that, okay, we grow together as a brand and also for me as a person. If that’s not with the show, then I go ahead and move on.

When you look back, is there a moment or dance that stands out as one of your favorite memories?

I always love being a part of someone’s journey, whether it’s Jack Osbourne, who has multiple sclerosis and dancing really helped him through it, or someone like Rob Kardashian. The goal was just to beat his sister Kim when she did, and then we got to second place. It was really hard for me to have Rob in the studio at first, because he was so insecure and clearly didn’t want to do this. He began to learn to love it and grew. It’s great to bring someone out of his shell. I believe that dance and movement do that to you. It gives you a sense of confidence, and that’s the only thing I dance for: no matter how I felt, even if it was a horrible day, once I started moving my body, I felt so much better about my mental health.

He’s really shocked viewers with many of these partnerships, most recently with AJ McLean, as both of them were very open about their sobriety journeys.

I would like to say that one of my good qualities would be the authenticity of the person and I don’t think I will ever change direction. I think it’s important for me to keep evolving. I have grown so much as a person and have searched my soul, especially during my divorce. There were those moments in the beginning, where we weren’t even apart yet, all I had in that moment was just me and the work I was doing inside of me. I think with anyone you won’t feel good if you feel stuck. That’s where I’m at now. I made a big decision in my personal life and it’s time for me to come full circle and practice what I preach.

Finally, what can we expect from your final dance? You and Louis are the originals!

He recommended me for the job and I give him credit for even getting the producers to want to interview me. We did it this dance [in Season 2] to “Copacabana” by Barry Manilow. We’re doing a sort of remixed version. I’m starting it with Pasha, and we’re doing an Argentine Tango to celebrate a big farewell party like my last ballroom dance, which is very sad. Hopefully I won’t be crying over my lashes, although that could happen.

The finale of “Dancing With the Stars” airs on Disney+ on Monday, November 21 at 8 p.m.

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