Cheryl Burke, a two-time champion and 14-season veteran from “Dancing with the Stars,” spoke to me for an exclusive Examiner.com interview. On Feb. 12, we discussed the upcoming new season, the new cast and Cheryl’s new partnership with Sargento Cheese. The lively and cheerful dancer also talked about her favorite partners and dances of the past. Our interview was enlightening and Cheryl was happy to share details about her career on “DWTS” and what she’s been up to during the off-season.
The new season of “DWTS” begins on March 16 and the new cast will be announced live on “Good Morning America” on Feb. 26. After an all-star season last year, “Dancing With the Stars” returns to the original format. Cheryl Burke doesn’t yet know if she’ll be a part of the cast because the pros are always the last to find out. However, Cheryl has been involved with the show for the past 14 seasons, has won twice (with Drew Lachey in season 2 and Emmitt Smith in season 3), and is one of the most popular professional dancers. On Tuesday, Cheryl said that no celebrities for season 16 have been confirmed yet.
Concerning last season, Cheryl said that she loved the all-star cast because “it was great to see everybody back together again. We all knew each other and were very comfortable together.” She was once again partnered with Emmitt Smith, whom Cheryl said was her favorite partner of all time. After the two won season three, they remained close and stayed in touch. “We just meshed so well together,” she said and added that she looks up to him like a big brother.
Cheryl Burke has enjoyed many great moments on “Dancing with the Stars,” but some of her best memories include the 100th episode celebration in 2008 when more than 30 former cast members and pros returned to the ballroom, and the all-star season. Three of Cheryl’s past partners competed last season and according to the dance pro, “It was like a big reunion.” Cheryl especially loved hanging out with Kirstie Alley and the others because “there were no awkward moments.”
Concerning her favorite dances of all time, Cheryl said that she was very fond of the “Save a Horse” cowboy freestyle routine she performed with Drew Lachey in the finals of season two. Her other favorite dances were the Argentine Tango with super sexy Gilles Marini in season eight and the Samba she danced to “Copacabana” with Emmitt Smith in the all-star season. When asked who was her least favorite partner, Cheryl was very diplomatic and refused to answer.
Cheryl stays in touch with host Brooke Burke Charvet and stated, “We’re really great friends and like sisters.” Brooke was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last season and underwent surgery in the fall. On Dec. 12, the host and past “DWTS” champion announced that all the cancer was removed. Brooke and Cheryl reunited just recently when both participated in the Miss America Pageant. “She’s a strong woman and we’re all here for her,” Cheryl said of her friend and co-worker.
So, what has Cheryl Burke been up to since “DWTS” last aired in November? Just last weekend, she attended a Grammy party and was in New York City this week to announce her new partnership with Sargento Cheese. Cheryl is the new spokesperson and signed on to help promote healthy eating. “Women who are always on the go want snacks that are wholesome, satisfying and convenient,” she explained. “Snacking is part of my daily routine because I’m always racing to rehearsals, dance performances and photo shoots. It’s important to keep my energy up.”
Cheryl appeared on “Good Morning America” and “Fox News” on Feb. 12 to promote her new partnership with Sargento. She revealed that her favorite new snacks are the reduced fat Colby Jack and natural string cheese. “They are simple and satisfying snack choices” she said. The dance pro also offered snacking tips, like "eat when you’re hungry, listen to your cravings, stay hydrated, do an activity you love, and be committed."
So, what’s next for the dancing powerhouse who has become a staple and favorite on “DWTS?” Hopefully, she’ll be back for another season. Fans just can’t get enough of Cheryl’s energy, spirit, dedication and determination. Stay tuned, fans.
“Dancing with the Stars” premieres on March 16 on ABC and the new cast will be announced live on Feb. 26 on “Good Morning America.”
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