Cheryl Burke’s leaving from Dancing With the Stars after 26 Seasons
Cheryl Burke, one of the most recognizable professional dancers on the show, is leaving “Dancing with the Stars.”
In a lengthy Instagram post before the season finale on November 21, Burke announced her retirement from the competition series.
“I am filled with so many contradictory emotions as I prepare to write these words…
Tomorrow night will be my last professional dance on @dancingwiththestars,” she posted beside a snapshot of herself performing.
She stated that deciding to leave was one of the most painful choices she’s ever had to make but that the time has come to move on.
“This program has been my second family since I became 21,” she said. Without the cast, crew, and fans, I would not be the person I am today.
The 38-year-old stated she is looking forward to new challenges and moving her focus to the podcast and mental health activism.
Burke was partnered with meteorologist Sam Champion this season. The pair was eliminated during the fourth episode of the competition in October.
She entered the competition show for the second season in 2006. She won her first season with singer Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees. The following season, she and her partner, former Dallas Cowboys player Emmitt Smith, won the mirrorball trophy again.
The revelation of her leaving follows the announcement by judge Len Goodman that this season will also be his last. In an interview with Variety, Burke stated that she aspires to become a judge in the future.
She stated, “I would love to still be a part of the family. I just would love a different role on the show, just like anybody after 26 seasons of having that same title.”
In her Instagram post, she teased the season finale by revealing that she will perform an emotional farewell dance with fan favorites Pasha Pashkov and Louis van Amstel.
She concluded her poignant letter by thanking the “DWTS” family for their support over the years and for promoting ballroom dance.
She commented, “I’m looking forward to this next chapter of my career, but man will this one be hard to beat!”