Cheryl Burke is a fan-favorite pro dancer on Dancing With the Stars and she is currently competing on the show’s 27th season, with actor Juan Pablo Di Pace. She is also a mentor on the new show Dancing With the Stars Juniors. And, if that weren’t enough, Burke is planning her wedding to her longtime love and fiance, Matthew Lawrence. In between the many rehearsals, plans and performances, Burke took some time to fill us in on her DWTS partner, the new junior edition of the show and some details on her big day. Read on below for our interview with the mirrorball champion below.
HEAVY: So, you recently started DWTS again, but this season is different. There have been two nights of performances and two new dances in the first couple of weeks. How is it keeping up with the changes and how does it affect the brand new contestants?
BURKE: Having two dances each of the first two weeks has definitely been a new challenge this season. Usually during the first few weeks we’re really just getting our partners used to dancing with us, so it’s a lot for them to learn. But, I’ve been really impressed with how Juan Pablo has handled it!
HEAVY: That’s good that he’s been able to pick things up so well. What are rehearsals like for you two?
BURKE: Juan Pablo has been great to work with because he is really committed to the show and takes it very seriously. In rehearsal we can push each other because he really wants to do more and be his best and I appreciate that.
HEAVY: Well, in addition to two nights of DWTS and rehearsals, now you also have DWTS Juniors. What are you most excited about with the new show?
BURKE: I can’t wait for our fans to see DWTS Juniors! These kids are so passionate and excited that it’s infectious and I loved being a part of that. I think people are going to really respond to it.
HEAVY: What do you think will really make the Juniors edition stand out to viewers?
BURKE: I think that the way these kids really love each other and cheer each other on, the way they are so excited for one another and so sad when someone leaves is going to make the viewers fall in love with them.
HEAVY: How does it compare to the “grown up” version of the show?
BURKE: I think there’s something really special about Juniors that’s going to make it stand out from the “grown up” version. It’s something intangible, but these kids bring something incredibly special to each episode that is totally different from the adults.
HEAVY: Those kids definitely have impressed so far and you’re on the show as a mentor. Tell me about your role with your team on the show.
BURKE: Overall the concept of an experienced dancer dancing with a celebrity is the same, but with Juniors, you also have DWTS pros as mentors. We create the choreography and teach the kids their routines, but the biggest difference for me is that I’m not on the floor dancing each week. I teach them the dance and then it’s up to them to execute it.
HEAVY: So, while doing all of this, you are also planning a wedding. How do you juggle it all? Does your fiancé join you on set? Do you plan your wedding in between performances (laughing)?
BURKE: I’m definitely busy! Matt has been great and has been to most of our tapings, but show days are so crazy, there’s definitely no wedding planning happening those days. We’ve started working with a coordinator so I’m very fortunate that she is handling a lot of the bigger details, but I know as soon as DWTS wraps I’m going to have to really buckle down and get to planning!
HEAVY: How exciting?! Do you know what kind of vibe you’re going for with the wedding? Anything you’re envisioning?
BURKE: We’re finalizing the location now, so I think once that is set, it will set the tone for a lot of the other decisions. I definitely know I want lots of white!
HEAVY: Everyone, I’m sure, asks you if you’ll have a choreographed first dance at the wedding …
BURKE: We’ll see! We haven’t totally decided yet.
HEAVY: So, DWTS, DWTS Junior, your wedding … Is there anything else going on, to add on top of your already full plate?
BURKE: DWTS, Juniors and wedding planning definitely have me really busy. In between those, I’m really just trying to find the time to enjoy being engaged!