Cheryl Burke is one of the best-known ballroom dancers of the modern age.
From an incredibly early age, Burke began training as a professional dancer with the support of her parents.
Despite being best known for her time on Dancing with the Stars, Burke has found success in multiple forms of entertainment and has even expanded outside of the entertainment industry.
From becoming an author to designing activewear, Burke has shown the world that she can do much more in addition to being an award-winning dancer.
Was Cheryl Burke Born Rich?
No, Cheryl Burke was not born rich, but her family was very financially comfortable.
Her father was an attorney in the United States and her mother was a nurse.
After Cheryl Burke’s parents got divorced, her father took his law business to Thailand and her mother remarried.
Burke’s stepfather is a dentist, who still does all of Burke’s and her sister’s dental work.
Her mother later began working on her own healthcare business.
Even as her mother worked nearly all hours of the day, Burke’s busy mom always made sure that her children were eating healthy, home-cooked meals.
Cheryl Burke’s mother was not only concerned about her children’s health and nutrition, but she also wanted to give them many more opportunities than she had while growing up poor in the Philippines.
She was eager to find her children’s talents and help them grow.
When Cheryl was only four years old, her mother began having her attend ballet classes.
Between the support she was receiving from her mother and the stunning smile her stepfather helped her maintain, it was clear that Burke had the dedication to become a star.
By the time she was 12 years old, Burke began dancing competitively and started to train even harder.
Cheryl Burke made the leap from ballet to ballroom dancing after her parents started doing it for fun, even bringing her along for classes.
It wouldn’t take her long to win multiple ballroom dancing championship titles in both the United States and England.
In 2006, Burke was brought into the spotlight when she began teaching celebrities to dance on the popular dance competition show, Dancing with the Stars.
She had been spotted by the casting team for the show after she appeared in a Los Angeles dance competition only six months before her appearance on television.
Her Time On Dancing With The Stars
In January of 2016, Cheryl Burke appeared in her first episode of Dancing with the Stars alongside Drew Lachey in season two of the show.
Lachey and Burke would have an incredible first season together, never receiving anything less than a score of eight out of ten from any of the judges.
Burke won her first season of Dancing with the Stars, which made her the first female professional dancer to win the show.
The duo danced to songs such as She Bangs, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Total Eclipse of the Heart, and Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy).
Cheryl Burke was brought back for season three of the show the following year, this time being teamed up with National Football League legend, Emmitt Smith.
Unlike Burke’s first season where she had always been safe, the road to victory was much rockier with Smith.
The couple’s tango and paso doble didn’t settle well with the judges, but they were good enough to keep them safe from elimination.
However, their semi-final waltz and mambo landed them in the bottom two.
Luckily, Smith and Burke were able to turn things around with final samba, mambo, and freestyle.
This made Cheryl Burke the first professional dancer to win twice consecutively.
Burke wouldn’t get another win on Dancing with the Stars, but she would appear in many of the seasons.
She placed fourth when she appeared in season four with Ian Ziering.
Season five had Burke paired with Wayne Newton, and they were eliminated after the third episode, placing 10th.
Cheryl Burke would be one of the professional dancers in seasons four through 19.
She has also been a part of seasons 23, 25, 27, 28, and 29.
Burke was also a coach on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors when she coached Brightyn Brems and Mandla Morris.
Her Other Television Roles
Cheryl Burke has taken on a handful of roles since her first appearance on television in 2006.
Since her career on Dancing with the Stars, Burke has taken on the acting roles that exhibit her dancing skills in character.
The first acting role that Burke ever starred as was Shannon the dance competitor on the Disney Channel show, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
In the episode Loosely Ballroom, Esteban enters himself and the Tipton crew to help win $1,000 for his sister’s quinceañera.
Cheryl Burke’s second acting role was in the early-2000s show Smallville, which gave viewers a look into what Superman’s life was like in his hometown of Smallville.
Burke plays one of the Booster Gold Dancers in the episode titled Booster, which aired during the show’s final season.
In 2017, Burke appeared in Jane the Virgin as herself in Chapter Fifty-Four.
While Burke’s acting career may have been brief, she is now best known for replacing Abby Lee Miller on Dance Moms.
Although Burke had a wonderful time working with students, their mothers were too overbearing for Burke to handle.
Her students were old enough to advocate for themselves, yet their mothers were speaking for them and adding their opinions to the mix as well.
Trying to balance out which dancers got solos or duets while also trying to be fair to the other students was incredibly stressful for Burke and caused plenty of fights between her and her students’ mothers.
The only mother Burke actually got along with on Dance Moms was Dr. Holly Hatcher-Frazier. Dr.
Hatcher-Frazier respected that her daughter was old enough to speak up and that Cheryl Burke knew what she was doing when it came to choreography.
Despite the stressful cast, Burke still claims that she enjoyed her time on Dance Moms.
Raising Money Through Brand Deals
Although Cheryl Burke was an award-winning dancer before the show, Dancing with the Stars brought Burke in some noteworthy sponsorships.
Some of her best-known campaigns have been with Broadway Nails, Sargento Cheese, and Depend Undergarments.
The first sponsorship that Cheryl Burke ever received was from Broadway Nails to promote their press-on nails called imPRESS.
With the harm that constantly wearing nail polish can cause to your fingernails, the Broadway Nail ad campaign claims that Burke was on the hunt for a healthier alternative to nail fashion when she was introduced to imPRESS nails.
The celebrity-endorsed press-on nails were released in the spring of 2012 and sold at Walgreens stores nationwide.
Burke even got to design her own line of nails as part of the Cheryl Burke Signature Series, which included a variety of bright colors and fun patterns.
The second brand deal that Burke received was with Depend to promote their Depend Silhouettes, which are disposable underwear meant to lay seamlessly against the skin for when someone wants to wear a fitted bottom or dress.
Although Burke clarified that she didn’t need the product, she chose to support the product because nobody should have to feel embarrassed about bladder leakage and having to wear disposable underwear like Depend.
Cheryl Burke grew up in a health-conscious family that never ate fast food or even junk food, which is something that Burke continues to this day.
While working on Dancing with the Stars for long hours, Burke quickly got frustrated with how difficult it could be to find a healthy quick snack.
She teamed up with Sargento Cheese to promote their Sargento Natural Cheese Snacks, claiming that the snack met all of Burke’s protein and carb needs for one of many snacks that she’d have throughout the day.
Speaking Out As An Author
Cheryl Burke made the switch from entertainer to author in 2011 when she released her autobiography, Dance Lessons.
The book went over her childhood, lifelong struggles, rising to popularity, and the aftermath that came from being on the popular dance competition series.
When Burke got the call from the Dancing with the Stars casting crew, she wanted to turn down their offer at first.
She chose to think about her answer before responding and the more she thought about it, the more she was willing to go along with it.
Burke met with the casting team in Manhattan and was quickly paired up with singer Drew Lachey.
She had an intense fear of being on camera and begged Lachey to do all of the talking when they appeared on the show, claiming that he would be the one everyone would want to hear from.
Lachey assured her that he would gladly take over the majority of the talking, but he was going to leave questions directed to her for her to answer because he knew that the judges and audience members would want to hear from her, too.
Just as Lachey had predicted, the judges had plenty of questions for the young dancer.
They were amazed that she was only 21 at the time and had so many achievements under her belt already.
While Burke would politely answer their questions, she was also scared to death every time she had to.
That season proved that she had nothing to fear, winning the first televised competition that she had ever been in.
In the book, she also discussed the struggles that she faced during her childhood.
Her parents’ divorce was traumatic for her, and she was getting sexually assaulted as a child, later going into detail in a YouTube video.
Opening Her Own Dance Studio
Now that Cheryl Burke has retired from professional dancing, she wants to focus her attention on the upcoming generation of dancers.
As a dance instructor, she wants to make dance more body-inclusive and teach her students with a positive approach.
To help make this dream come true, she has purchased three different dance studios across Southern California.
Her dance schools specialize in teaching ballroom and Latin techniques to students of any dancing level.
The first studio that she ever purchased was her old dance school, the Metronome Dance Center, in 2008.
The school is located in Burke’s hometown of San Francisco and is in the same building where she took dance lessons as a child.
Another one of her dance studios was once located in Mountain View, California.
The school was called Cheryl Burke Dance Studio and was a beloved business within the Silicon Valley community.
Once Silicon Valley became the place to be for major technology companies, the price of rent began to skyrocket, and Burke was no longer making a profit by keeping the school open.
She refused to raise the price of lessons for her students and decided it would be better to shut the doors of her business forever instead.
The dance studio was 14,000 square feet and featured cushioned walls.
Cheryl Burke and her mother may have been disappointed that their business was closing, but it was the students and the instructors who felt the most hurt about the business closing completely instead of opening in a different location.
For many of the students and instructors, the studio was their second home and a place where they felt safe and accepted.
The property was quickly purchased by LinkedIn, the professional-use social media platform.
Instead of opening a new location, Burke is considering starting an online program.
Creating Body Inclusive Activewear
During the pandemic, Cheryl Burke found herself stealing her husband’s sweatpants and old t-shirt to exercise and lounge in.
This got Burke to wonder why women’s activewear couldn’t be as comfortable as men’s activewear.
Although she loved wearing her husband’s comfortable loungewear, they weren’t very fashionable.
During the lockdown, Burke wanted to be as cute as she was comfortable.
The goal of Cheryl Burke’s fashion line was to be something that people could lounge in, work out in, sleep in, or even go out with friends.
Burke had been designing her dance costumes for years, so she knew how to make her clothes.
With nothing else to do but stay home, Burke got to work on an off-the-shoulder jumpsuit and one with puffy sleeves.
She also considered how the cut of clothes would look on her body, giving the clothing lines that bring in the wearer’s waist and elongate their legs.
After creating pieces that she was proud of, she teamed up with Bailey Blue Clothing.
Bailey Blue Clothing is known for offering a larger array of sizes than most other popular clothing stores.
As someone who has a curvier figure, Burke understands the struggle that comes when trying to find clothes that fit properly.
That’s why it was incredibly important for whatever company she paired up with to offer plenty of sizes.
Burke wants everyone who wears her clothing line to feel confident in their own skin and wants to see more variety in body types than fashion lines to model their clothing.
While Burke has admitted that there is a larger variety of body types in media than ever before, she still believes fashion has an awfully long way to go.
Her favorite piece from the line is her off-the-shoulder jumpsuit with a pair of nice shoes.
What She Loves Just As Much As Dancing
Cheryl Burke may have devoted her life to dancing, but she loves her pets just as much as she loves her lifelong hobby.
Between her and her husband, actor and musician Matthew Lawrence, they have over 40 pets.
Most of their pets are different species of reptiles that belong to her husband.
While Burke may not be elated about reptiles, she loves her husband’s passion for animals and allows the reptiles in the house as long as he never brings home a snake.
When she first started dating Lawrence, she didn’t know about his love for reptiles.
She may not share his love for scaly creatures, but she has always been outspoken about her love for animals.
Ever since he was a kid, Lawrence has loved reptiles and amphibians.
Growing up a Disney child actor made it difficult for Lawrence to have normal relationships with other people, so he focused his free time on his reptiles.
There are 10 to 20 different types of reptiles living in their home, each with its own name and special care routines that must be done regularly.
Although Burke has committed to learning the names of her scaly housemates, she has no intention of interacting with them.
Some of the reptiles living with Burke include tortoises, iguanas, and bearded dragons.
Lawrence has even begun breeding some of his lizards.
Cheryl Burke prefers pets with fur and has a special love for dogs.
Throughout their relationship, they’ve had multiple dogs together.
Currently, the couple has a French bulldog named Ysabella and a German shepherd named Bear.
In a 2020 Father’s Day post, Burke shared on Twitter how the love that her husband has for all of their pets warmed her heart.
There’s no denying Burke’s and her husband’s love of animals.
The Future For Burke
While she may not be dancing anymore due to injuries, Cheryl Burke has shown that she has what it takes to be a business owner, fashion designer, and author.
Her early life was filled with success thanks to the dedication she has been putting into ballet and ballroom dancing for decades.
Now, Burke gets to inspire the next generation of dancers and stay home with adorable pups.