As Cheryl Burke prepares to retire her ballroom heels and sparkly costumes, her Dancing With the Stars colleagues are remembering her 26-season career.
“It’s been a wild ride 🕺🏼 So proud of all you have achieved and overcome,” former pro Derek Hough, who joined the DWTS judging panel in 2020, wrote via Instagram comment on Sunday, November 20. “Forever left your mark on DWTS. It’s been a pleasure.”
Peta Murgatroyd, for her part, admitted that she was already “tearing up” over the 38-year-old choreographer’s retirement plans.
Burke announced hours earlier on Sunday that her appearance on the Monday, November 21, finale, would be her DWTS swan song.
“I am sitting here full of so many conflicting emotions about the words I am about to write. Tomorrow night will officially be my final dance as a pro dancer on @dancingwiththestars. This has been one of the absolute hardest decisions of my life & I am also confident that it is the right one,” she captioned her Instagram post. “This show has been my 2nd family since I was 21 years old. The cast, crew & fans have seen me through my highest highs & some of my lowest lows, & I honestly don’t know who I would be today without them.”
She continued in her post: “I also know that it is time for me to begin the next phase of my career, although dance will always be a part of me. I am excited about the idea of evolving, about being challenged in new ways, having the ability to expand my commitment to mental health advocacy, focusing on my newfound love for podcasting, & I’m ready to face the uncertainty.”
The Dance Moms alum — who has participated in 26 seasons of the competition and won the mirror ball trophy twice — went on to share her heartfelt gratitude to her “DWTS family” of former partners, fellow pro dancers, series hosts and the judging panel of Hough, 37, Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. (Season 31 will also mark Goodman’s final appearance on the Disney+ competition.)
“Love you boo. What an incredible journey. So proud to be part of your story,” Cody Rigsby commented, referring to their season 30 partnership.
Burke — who will perform a “farewell dance” during Monday’s finale — was paired with meteorologist Sam Champion for season 31.
“With this season in particular, there’s peace along with the whole elimination process,” Burke exclusively told Us Weekly last month of her partnership with the 61-year-old Good Morning America personality. “Like, normally I’m a nervous, sweaty wreck, but with Sam, if I’m looking at the actual ability of all the celebrities? We are very blessed to still be in this competition, to be quite honest, and Sam knows that.”
She added at the time: “Every season is a lot more challenging than the previous season. Everybody’s so talented. Everyone’s got their own thing. And Sam and I are just really happy to be here.”
Burke and Champion were eventually eliminated during the fourth week of competition but are set to reunite for the finale.
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Scroll below to see how the I Can Do That alum’s fellow DWTS pros have reacted to her retirement: