Cheryl Burke with Juan Pablo Di Pace. Courtesy ABC

Cheryl Burke on Being an Introvert and Finding Her Voice Through Dance

The last thing you'd expect to hear about a 22-season "Dancing with the Stars" veteran is that she's actually a serious introvert—but that's who I am!

When I was young, I was really quiet and found it hard to express myself with words. But sharing emotions through movement finally brought me out of my shell. Still, it wasn't easy to be vulnerable. Classes became like therapy sessions for me, and my teachers became like life coaches who I turned to for everything.


On "Dancing with the Stars," I've become the teacher and can finally reciprocate that for other people. Every partner that I've had on the show has a different goal. Some want to lose weight, some want to gain confidence, some want to make a loved one proud. It's always about so much more than just teaching the steps.

When you're forming a partnership through dance, you have to build trust. With so many of my partners, I've become their rock. They can know the steps like the back of their hand, but still feel insecure, and we have to get down to what's really making them feel that way. It's everything I went through growing up, and it's been so rewarding to share my experience.

The quiet, introverted little girl that I used to be is still there. But the performer you see on TV is the expres­sive artist that dance allows me to be. Dance will always be my purpose and my passion. I just have to keep growing, learning and finding more ways to help people through dance and movement, the same way that it's helped me.

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Studio Bleu students Jaxon Keller, Samantha Halker and Alia Wiggins. Photos by Chris Stark

How Turning Boards and Practice Mats Can Revolutionize Your Dance Training

When it comes to equipment, dancers don't need much—just shoes and whatever can fit in their dance bag. But between rehearsals in the studio and performances on stage, one major piece of equipment often goes overlooked—the floor.

Dancers too often find themselves warming up on the concrete or carpet backstage, or wanting to practice in a location without a proper floor. For years, Harlequin Floors has offered a solution to this problem with its innovative turning board, offering a portable and personal floor that can be flipped between marley and wood. Now, they've revolutionized portability again with their practice mat, offering dancers the option to roll up their own personal floor and sling it over their shoulders like a yoga mat.

We spoke with experts from every corner of the dance industry to see how Harlequin's products have become their everyday essentials:

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