Cheryl Burke on her rise to fame

December 12, 2008 7:32:30 PM PST
One of the professional dancers with ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," is coming home soon to perform with a national tour, now that the season is over. You can see the Bay Area's own Emmy-nominated Cheryl Burke in San Jose next week. She sat down and talked with ABC7 News exclusively about that and some personal things.

You have seen Bay Area native Cheryl Burke on "Dancing with the Stars," but now you have a chance to see her in person, either at her dance studio in San Francisco or in San Jose on one stop of a nationwide tour of 38 cities in two months.

"We go straight from the season to the tour and then to the next season. We have maybe two days between the tour and season eight of "Dancing with the Stars," says Cheryl.

Cheryl is from Atherton. That is where we first met her with her mother, Sherri Burke, in the 2000-square foot ballroom that was built for Cheryl's dance practices. She and her mother also launched the Cheryl Burke Dance Studio in San Francisco, and Cheryl will spend her two days off in December there teaching classes and hosting a party for students.

"I'm going to be teaching the cha-cha on the 20th and the jive on the 26th."

Cheryl has been working practically non-stop since "Dancing with the Stars" became an instant hit. She took actor Drew Lachey to the top the first year she participated. That was followed by a win with football great Emmitt Smith.

This season she worked with Olympic gold medalist Maurice Greene. They were eliminated just before the semifinals.

"He was one of the hardest working partners I've ever had, for sure. He's such a gentleman."

Cheryl and Maurice will work together again on the upcoming national tour.

"We'll do a couple of numbers that you've probably seen us do throughout the season. Then we'll have a lot of group numbers where all the celebs and all the dancers are dancing together."

Cheryl's rise to fame is the result of talent and a lot of hard work. But this 24-year-old has learned about the dark side of being famous. Some people are jealous and say mean things. They said she looked fat this season.

"I'm a human being just like anybody else and I do have feelings and it hurt, absolutely hurt," says Cheryl. "When this whole fat issue came out, it was something that I had to address, not for me, but for women my age or younger. I mean, if people are calling me fat -- I'm an athlete. So if people are calling me fat, what do the women think when they see me on television? It's just a dangerous message to send out."

Cheryl prefers to focus on a positive message.

"Dancing has always been a part of my life. It's a great exercise and it's a lot of fun."

Cheryl will be throwing a New Year's Eve party in San Francisco. For details and to view the flyer, click here.

For information about signing up for lessons at the Cheryl Burke Dance Studio visit www.cherylburkedance.com.

For information on the "Dancing with the Stars" tour, visit www.dancingwiththestarsontour.com.

And to learn more about ABC's hit show, "Dancing with the Stars," click here.


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