dancing with the stars cheryl burke

Dancer Cheryl Burke was a fixture on Dancing with the Stars for eighteen seasons on ABC, but she's been absent from the show for the past four competitions. She was 30 years-old when she kicked off Season 19, and she'd been dancing on the series for an entire decade. Burke felt then that the time was right to move on. However, now she has decided to come back to Dancing with the Stars for Season 23. Cheryl Burke had this to say why she chose to return to the DWTS stage once after taking time to pursue other dance opportunities:

I had such an amazing time learning new skills and dances and really thinking outside the box. But through all that, I still made sure to watch DWTS and keep up with the family I had created on the show. So, now I'm so excited to bring back all that new life experience to DWTS. In a way, it feels like I'm doing the show for the first time. I'm excited again - and I'm ready to go out there and give it my best shot.

It was disappointing when Cheryl Burke made her decision to leave Dancing with the Stars. Still, it was hard to blame her. Ten years and eighteen different partners had to be exhausting. She turned in killer performances week in and week out, but her heart might not have stayed in it if she went against her instincts and stuck around for Season 20. Burke may well come back better than ever after taking a break from the series. The enthusiasm that she shared in her People blog post is definitely encouraging.

Cheryl Burke will certainly be in the spotlight when she comes back. Her partner for Season 23 is Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, who has been making headlines for fabricating a robbery story while in Rio for the 2016 Olympics. Lochte was actually in talks to join Dancing with the Stars prior to the fake robbery report; ABC chose not to rescind the offer in the wake of the controversy. There's no saying at this point how well his athletics as a swimmer will translate to dancing with Cheryl Burke, but he already looks like he's fallen for his new partner. We can probably expect some spectacle out of the duo for however long they last on DWTS.

If Ryan Lochte is lucky, he'll have enough raw talent as a dancer to keep up with Cheryl Burke. She has already guided eight past partners into the top three finishers, and she actually won in Season 2 with Drew Lachey and in Season 3 with Emmitt Smith. Who knows? Maybe her triumphant return to Dancing with the Stars and partnership with Lochte will result in another victory. Hopefully she has a better experience with Lochte in Season 23 than she did with Ian Ziering in Season 4.

Dancing with the Stars returns to ABC for Season 23 on Monday, September 12 at 8 p.m. ET. Check out our fall TV premiere schedule to see when your other favorite shows will be back in the near future.

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