How Sharna Burgess Tailored Her 'DWTS' Skills To 'Flirty Dancing'
Updated: Apr 26
On Wednesday's episode of Flirty Dancing, the show brought on two Dancing with the Stars pros, Sharna Burgess and Val Chmerkovskiy, to help contestants find love on the dance floor. For Sharna, it was her work on So You Think You Can Dance that got her the gig on Flirty Dancing.
"I was working on So You Think You Can Dance at the time. [SYTYCD executive producer] Mike Yurchuk, who is also on Flirty Dancing, approached me," she told Dance Network. "We had a chat, along with [producer] Mike Riccio, about the whole idea of the show and what it could be. I was very excited by it and said I'd love to."
Sharna has two episodes in Season 1, so fans can look forward to another night of her choreography before the end of the run. She explained how her work on Dancing with the Stars, teaching non-dancers how to dance, prepared her for some of the rehearsals.
"So I had the wonderful gift of really honing in on my teaching skills with nine years on Dancing with the Stars," she explained. "It was the most unbelievable practice of my craft I could have had, especially in the teaching area and also choreographing for people that don't dance."
She also knew that Flirty Dancing brought a different set of challenges than DWTS.
"Walking into Flirty Dancing, I was confident, but also incredibly nervous because this is different. I don't get to put them together until they see each other for the performance," Sharna revealed. "On Dancing with the Stars, we have a week of constant rehearsal to get a non-dancer dancing with a professional dancer. Here, I have two non-dancers who weren't seeing each other [all week] and they have to perform with cameras."
Since Flirty Dancing relies heavily on emotion through movement, Sharna tailored her rehearsals to work on those special moments in the dances.
"For me, it was not only trying to be very clean and come with the teaching, but also just instill confidence," she said. "Not to put too much pressure on it, let them know that it is not a competition and mentor them through finding how to be themselves in the dance. That was my angle with the whole thing."
Sharna is also soaking in all of the opportunities that came her way after it was revealed that she wouldn't be participating in Season 28 of Dancing with the Stars. What seemed like a setback at the time turned out to be a set-up for even more success.
"I'm incredibly grateful that so much wonderful work has come to me. It has made 2020 very exciting so far. It was beautiful because, as we know, the decision [about DWTS] came very late in the game for me," she shared. "I was, of course, worried because I thought all of the work was booked. It was that short-term income and work that I was concerned about. Somehow the universe provided this and the universe was ready for it before I was."
The momentary disappointment wound up giving her new confidence when other jobs started to line up and fill her fall schedule.
"It made me believe in my talent that people have seen and appreciated what I've done over the years and are ready to just bring me on to the next job," Sharna explained. "That's kind of amazing. And that fills me with a lot of pride for myself and a lot of gratitude. It felt good."
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