‘Dancing With the Stars’ Pro Cheryl Burke Defends Casting Celebs With Prior Dance Experience

Cheryl Burke

ABC/Kelsey McNeal "DWTS" pro Cheryl Burke.

It’s often a topic of controversy among “Dancing With the Stars” fans when a celebrity cast to compete in the ballroom has previously danced professionally or gotten dance training in their professional lives.

Now, Cheryl Burke, who is a professional dancer on the ABC show, is defending the decision to cast celebrities with dance experience and talking about why it’s not necessarily an advantage for them.

When it comes to season 30 of “Dancing With the Stars,” multiple celebrities have had professional training, including JoJo Siwa, Cody Rigsby and Melora Hardin.

Burke Says It Can Actually Be a Disadvantage

During an interview on E! News’ Daily Pop, Burke talked about how the prior dance experience can actually be a disadvantage for some celebrities, and she prefers not working with them.

“I prefer almost the athletes, because when you have dance experience and it’s not ballroom dance, it’s like you have to un-train your brain, and it’s a lot harder to develop new habits when you’ve been doing something for so long,” Burke shared. “With AJ [McLean], last season, that was our challenge as a couple was to get rid of those hip-hop postures.”

She joked, “You should never watch me dance hip-hop, because it’s very proper hip-hop. It’s nice to have somebody in a way that has no experience so they have no bad habits.”

Burke also said that she does not think Siwa has an advantage because of her hip-hop background, and she actually thinks “the judges are going to judge all the dancers who are on this season a lot harder than normal.”

JoJo Siwa Says It’s Like Trying to Play a Different Sport

Siwa shares Burke’s thoughts about her dance experience being a disadvantage going into the season, she revealed during an interview on “Good Morning America” following the full cast announcement.

When asked if she has an advantage, she said, “I don’t. I explain it as a football player trying to play baseball. I also think, too, I’m going to be judged a lot harder.”

Siwa will be partnering with a woman in the first same-sex partnership on “Dancing With the Stars” history, and she addressed that during an interview with People.

“They asked, would I be more comfortable with a female or with a male and immediately I knew for myself I would be way more comfortable with a girl,” Siwa shared. “I have a chance right now to make history and to break down a barrier and there’s nothing that I would rather do than that.”

Siwa came out as part of the LGBTQ community in early 2021. She is currently in a relationship with her girlfriend, Kylie Prew. She told People after coming out that she didn’t really know which label fit her exactly.

“I still don’t know what I am. It’s like, I want to figure it out. And I have this joke. Her name is Kylie. And so I say that I’m Ky-sexual,” she told the outlet. “But like, I don’t know, bisexual, pansexual, queer, lesbian, gay, straight. I always just say ‘gay’ because it just kind of covers it, or ‘queer’ because I think the q-word is cool.”

She added, “I like ‘queer.’ Technically I would say that I am pansexual because that’s how I have always been my whole life is just like, my human is my human.”

“Dancing With the Stars” premieres on Monday, September 20, 2021, at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.

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