Former Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke is returning to the dance world in a big way. The two-time Mirrorball Trophy champ is starting a new show, Love on the Floor, in Tokyo. It has been a “passion project,” Burke, 32, tells Us Weekly exclusively.
“I’ve seen so many shows on Broadway, I’ve been to so many other dance shows, but I’ve never quite seen a show that just tells a story through movement. I really wanted to be able to do that,” she explains to Us about her new project.
Love on the Floor tells the story of a relationship from beginning to end. “It’s very artistic and very unique, but love is such a universal theme, I believe it could be shown anywhere in the world because everyone has gone through it,” the dancer, who left DWTS after 18 seasons in 2014, says. “Whether you’re from Tokyo or India or the U.S., you’ll be able to take away something from this. It doesn’t have to involve singers or actors, it just tells a story through movement.”
Dancing alongside Cheryl will be Olympic skaters and former DWTS contestants Charlie White, Meryl Davis and Kristi Yamaguchi, as well as Olympic bronze-medal-winning skater Daisuke Takahashi.
Why ice-skaters? Burke tells Us, “I’ve been close to Meryl, Charlie and Kristi for a long time. And the Japanese culture really loves ice-skating and they really appreciate people with great talent, and they really respect the arts. They really love seeing the skaters dance on a hardwood floor and not be skating. And I’ve always loved dancing with athletes because of their discipline, work ethic and their talent.”
Burke believes DWTS fans will be surprised to see her in a new light. “This is not a ballroom show,” she says. “I tried to make this show completely different from what people brand me as. I wanted to think outside the box for me as a dancer and a creator — there’s so much more out there other than ballroom dancing.”
Yet Burke explains that going out of the comfort zone is also why she left ABC’s long-running dance competition. “I think DWTS — they opened my eyes. Part of the reason I left was because I felt insecure about not knowing these different styles of dance they started introducing to the show. And I didn’t really know what I was doing, and if I don’t know what I’m doing, how am I going to teach my celebrity what they’re supposed to be doing?” The pro hoofer explains to Us.
“Another reason why I felt like my time was up was because I wanted to achieve my goal as a performer. … I’m 32 years old. I felt like, ‘How about me? What can I do to make myself as a performer think outside the box and grow and motivate and inspire myself before my hips stop working?’” she continues.
"Now I’m dancing with kids — and now I know how the celebrities feel!” Burke says. “Not only am I directing, I’m creating, I’m editing the music, I’m coordinating everyone’s schedule — I feel like I’m running a start-up company!”
The dancer says performing with younger artists has also inspired her again after the lack of time to do anything new led her to think she wasn’t a great dancer. But she isn’t blaming her time on DWTS for creating the self-doubt.
"I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t done DWTS, and I love DWTS,” She says. "But everything is meant to be. DWTS has given me a platform to be able to do something like this.”
And after her Tokyo residency? Burke says she'd “love to take the show and do a residency in Vegas! I could see it on Broadway as well.”
Love on the Floor premieres in Tokyo on June 30 and ends July 9.