Interview with Atherton's dancing celebrity

March 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
One of the stars of ABC TV's hit show, "Dancing with the Stars," is from the Bay Area. Cheryl Burke came home Thursday to talk about her favorite charity and the show that's changed her life.

Jennings: "What would you say the average height of the dancers is?"

Burke: "For men I think it's about 5-8, 5-9; for women it's probably 5-4, 5-5."

Jennings: "How tall are you?"

Burke: "I'm 5-4."

Twenty-three-year-old Cheryl Burke is talking about the ABC reality show, "Dancing with the Stars." She teaches celebrities like football great, Emmett Smith, how to dance for the competition.

Burke came home to Atherton from Los Angeles to visit her mom, Sherri Burke, and to talk with us. It's the first TV interview she's done in the 2,000 square foot ballroom at her family's home. It was built for her.

She fell in love with dancing at the age of four, as a ballerina. Now, her passion for dance has turned into an exciting career.

"It's my fifth season now with 'Dancing with the Stars.' Just meeting everybody has been surreal. I mean everyone from Wayne Newton to Drew Lachey, I mean everyone, Emmett Smith. It's been amazing and they're lifelong friends to this day," said Burke.

When we asked her if she's ever had to set boundaries, she told us, "I think all my partners have been married, so it's been really easy for me. It's always been that brother-sister, father-daughter relationship."

Burke and her mother are supporting an upcoming charity for Seton Medical Center which will be held in her ballroom. It's to renovate Seton's third floor and provide extra services for pregnant women and newborns. Sherri Burke used to work at Seton.

"It's near and dear to my heart. I used to work in the coronary care unit," said Burke's mother. "The mission of the Daughters of Charity at Seton Medical Center is to provide care to anyone. They never turn away patients, and I support that."

"I always feel a need to give back to the community and what better way than to support Seton Medical Center."

The benefit for Seton Medical Center is this Saturday night at the Burke Ballroom in Atherton. Our own meteorologist, Mike Nicco, is the emcee. The premiere of the new season of "Dancing with the Stars" airs Monday, March 17 ath 8:00 pm.

Event details:

Friends of Seton Foundation's "Let's Have a Ball" Saturday, March 8 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm The Burke Ballroom in Atherton

$250 per person Valet parking only Cocktail attire

Proceeds to benefit the renovation of Seton Medical Center's Women and Newborn Department. Space is extremely limited for this exclusive event. For more information, call Laurie Glynn at 650.991.5912.