Cheryl Burke

October 26, 2008

“Dancing with the Stars,” which airs its third season this month, will once again star Cheryl Burke, who was crowned last season’s champ with celeb partner Drew Lachey. Her new partner had not been announced at presstime.

Since the end of season two, late last February, Burke has been busy. Requests to make appearances with Lachey were so overwhelming that she hired a publicist and an agent. The pair appeared on talk shows hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Tony Danza, Ellen DeGeneres and others. Burke also landed a gig in the Philippines and an acting and dancing role on the Disney Channel’s “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.”

Burke started studying dance with ballet classes at age 4 and switched to ballroom after watching a competition at age 11. She studied both standard and Latin styles, but quickly took to the latter. “It was more fast-paced, and more hip and young,” she says. By the time she was 13, Burke had a dance partner with whom she practiced every day and attended youth competitions. After graduating from high school, she trained and competed as an amateur in Denmark and Provo, UT, before moving to NYC where her coach Allan Tornsberg partnered her with José Decamps, with whom she decided to go pro at age 19. Decamps is still dancing in NYC but Burke hasn’t competed professionally since signing with “DWTS” last season.

Burke is thrilled to be part of the resurgence of the artform in a high-profile capacity, though. “I think the show gave such great exposure for ballroom dancing,” she says. “From what I hear, a lot of studios have been packed with people wanting to learn.”