“Dancing With the Stars” professional dancer Cheryl Burke wrote an emotional personal essay for Us Weekly about her sobriety journey, the “uncertainty” in her future both on the show and off, and choosing to put herself first for once.
Here’s what she said as it relates to “Dancing With the Stars” and her future on the show:
Cheryl Burke Said She Doesn’t Know ‘What [Her] Future Holds’
In the essay, Burke said that dance is always going to be a part of her life, but she is “ready to share” that passion in a new way.
I’m at a point in my life right now where I don’t know exactly what my future holds. I’m going through a transition not just personally, but also in my career, which has left me living in uncertainty for the first time in over a decade. I’m trying to be OK with it instead of living in fear of the unknown. I know that dance and movement are an essential part of my life and mental health, but I’m ready to share these passions in new ways.
One thing Burke has been working on lately is somatic therapy, which she spoke at length about to “Dancing With the Stars” host Carrie Ann Inaba on an episode of “Carrie Ann Conversations” back in March 2022.
At the time, Burke explained is a type of therapy that treats post-traumatic stress syndrome and other mental health problems by connecting to your body and using physical movement to work through your issues.
“I believe there are so many types of therapy out there … there’s going to be a dance program hopefully launching this year called ‘Body Language’ that I am creating about movement and mental health because it is an actual thing. I only know from experience, which is why I have a partner who is a certified therapist who can back it up with science,” said Burke.
She added that she is starting with dance that she is familiar with, but she eventually wants “all different types and styles of dance” to be part of “Body Language.”
“I know from first-hand experience that [dance] helped me through when I was sexually abused to dating abusive men. At the end of the day, my body and why I’m sitting here to day is because of movement and I cannot discredit that,” said Burke. “So what I’ve learned so far from Dr. Peter Levine, who started this whole somatic intelligence talk, he went to nature, he went to Africa, long story short, and studied the animals and studied the wilderness and how if you even look at your dog, when they shake it off, they’re shaking off trauma so they don’t continue to keep the PTSD in their bodies and I’m like, ‘AH HA!'”
Burke continued, “So paso doble would be like a dance where we could … literally just bringing out the character of each dance. So it’s like go back, re-live that trauma, then in samba where we shake our you-know-whats, shake it off. Be intentional about what it is that you want to shake off.”
She also said that people using dance as therapy don’t even have to necessarily understand what they are working through, telling Inaba, “People don’t even necessarily have to understand with their mind what’s happening. This is another entryway for people who don’t, like you said, there’s some people who don’t want to talk, they don’t want to do talk therapy.”
Burke Said It Is ‘Likely’ Her Final Season on the Show
Burke has been talking about retiring from “Dancing With the Stars” for a few years now. During season 30, she spoke with Heavy about how she was 37 years old at the time and her body just could not do what it used to, so a dancing competition show as intense as “Dancing With the Stars” really takes its toll on her.
She did admit she wanted more shot at the Mirrorball — Burke has not won the show since seasons two and three — but now on the latest episode of her podcast “Burke in the Game,” she has admitted that she thinks season 31 was probably her final season, though she might also stay on the show in a different capacity than as a pro partner.
“A lot of people have, I guess, asked me if this is my last season and the answer to that question is likely yes, this is my last season — as a dancer, that is. Of course, I would love to still be a part of the family somehow and I’m not sure what that means to the people who make those decisions. To have been a part of a show for 26 seasons, it is hard for me and this is why I’ve said it in the past that I was going to stop and I always come back because I guess it’s really hard to say goodbye,” said Burke.
“So, for now, I am choosing to date myself. I am putting myself first for once in my life, in order to really learn to love the woman I am today, while continuing to strive to be the best version of myself that I can be. I know this will be a lifelong journey, but I am dedicated to staying curious and to taking my journey with my sobriety one day, and sometimes even one step and one hour, at a time,” wrote Burke.
“Dancing With the Stars” airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern and 5 p.m. Pacific time on Disney Plus.