‘DWTS’ Star Cheryl Burke Describes the Mental and Physical Costs of Being in the Spotlight

Mirrorball champ Cheryl Burke is donning her dancing shoes once again for season 30 of Dancing With the Stars. Skyrocketing to fame after debuting on the show in 2006, the pro dancer recently shared how rigorous rehearsals and performances can take a toll on both her body and her mind.

'DWTS' star Cheryl Burke visits Hallmark Channel's 'Home &; Family' at Universal Studios Hollywood
‘DWTS’ star Cheryl Burke | Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

‘My hips don’t lie,’ Cheryl Burke says

Paired with Peleton instructor Cody Rigsby for season 30, Burke is no stranger to the ballroom. Clinching the Mirrorball trophy twice (with Drew Lachey in season 2 and Emmitt Smith in season 3), Burke is considered serious competition on Dancing With the Stars. Yet she recently shared that her advanced level of physical activity is beginning to catch up with her.

“You know as a dancer, especially as a woman, our career, it doesn’t last very long,” Burke said on The Tamron Hall Show, as reported by Yahoo! Entertainment. “The fact that I’m 37 and still sambaing out there and shimmying is pretty unheard of. I’m not in the competitive level anymore, but still I also have to understand that I have arthritis in my body, you know, like, the pounding and pounding and pounding.”

The pro dancer hinted at possibly retiring from the ballroom due to the physical impact her tenure on the show has had on her body.

“My hips don’t lie, and I’m starting to get tendonitis,” Burke explained. “For a woman, as far as ballroom dancing competitively goes, normally in their 30s [they retire]. I’m 36, so it’s like, ‘Okay, time to hang up those shoes.’ “

‘DWTS’ star wants to maintain good mental health

Burke has been very transparent over the years about her personal struggles, and noted how show business can have a negative impact on mental health. Married to Matthew Lawrence since 2019, Burke prioritizes wellness over stardom so she can give her relationship the attention it deserves.

“I also have body dysmorphia that I deal with as well that comes with the business, that also came even before I moved here to Los Angeles,” she explained. “So there’s all that that I have to deal with. Then I have to think about –okay it’s not just me now, it’s me and my husband, and what do we want for our future?”

The DWTS star prefers to heed warning signs in herself and step back when necessary.

“I do know in my heart, I feel like 24 seasons is a huge accomplishment and I am grateful for that experience,” Burke remarked. “But I’m not like these other girls who just had babies and can just bounce back. I know my body, but I also, more importantly, know my own mental health and if I have this body image issue that I’m dealing with, again, if this [points to her head] is not okay I can’t perform.”

Cheryl Burke wouldn’t mind a seat at the judges’ table

Burke is clearly still enjoying her time on DWTS, but doesn’t want to overstay her welcome. The Dance Moms alum shared she doesn’t “want to be that oldie that’s like, ‘Oh, here comes Cheryl doing the same choreography, just going slow, but in her head, she thinks she’s going that fast,'” Burke said. “I also don’t want to, I guess, be a dancer and have my partner having to be, like, ‘Can’t lift.’ … There’s a time and a place for it all.”


‘DWTS’ Star Cheryl Burke Felt ‘Hurt’ After 2 of Her Fellow Dancers Made Negative Comments on Her Weight

While Burke may be planning an exit from the ballroom, she seems to have an eye on the judges’ table.

 “It would be really great for me just to use my mouth and not my body,” Burke said. “I mean, four judges? It’s fine! Just give us each five seconds.”

Season 30 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.