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Cheryl Burke Leaves ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Cheryl Burke dances as a pro for the last time Dancing with the stars Monday night.

The dancer and host of the long-running reality series, which pits celebrities against pro partners and competes to become the season’s winner, announced her departure in an Instagram post on Sunday.

“Tomorrow night is officially my last dance as a professional dancer on @dancingwiththestars,” she wrote. “This has been one of the absolute hardest decisions of my life [and] I am also confident that this is the right one.”

Burke, who joined the show in 2006 during its second season when she was just 21 years old, said the departure comes as she looks forward to “starting the next phase of my career.”

“I’m excited about the idea of ​​evolving, about new ways to be challenged, the ability to expand my commitment to mental health advocacy, focus on my new found love of podcasting, and I’m ready to face the uncertainty (though it’s scary as sh**) of what the future holds,” she wrote before adding, “I do have a few things up my sleeve, so don’t worry. ‘

The dancer called the series her “second family” and integral to her shaping as a person, seeing her through her “highest highs” and “lowest lows.” After encouraging fans to tune in to “tomorrow’s finale” for her farewell dance, she said she expects tears.

“I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to get through it without tears, but even with the heartache and emotions, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to perform this dance and do it with two of my favorite male pros to dance with , @pashapashkov & @louisvanamstel.”

The first DWTS pro winning twice and consecutively, Burke appeared in 25 of the show’s 31 seasons, the last of which saw the long-running production move from ABC to Disney+. She also appeared in one season of the show Juniors spinoff.

Burke got her first mirror ball win partnering 98 Degrees member Drew Lachey in the show’s second season, before winning her second with retired football star Emmitt Smith in season three, who would become a frequent face in the semifinals of the show.

Burke previously took a hiatus from the show after season 19, but returned to the show to compete again starting in season 23. From there, she would appear off and on for several seasons, eventually teaming up with Good morning America meteorologist Sam Champion for the show’s final season and her last.

Several stars congratulated Burke on her run with the show and highlighted the effort in replies to her announcement. That includes Jewel, Jordan Sparks, Amanda Kloots and Derek Hough. In the comments, the dancer also thanked several members of her DWTS family, including her long list of former dance partners, including Ryan Lochte, Rob Kardashian, Ian Ziering, and Drew Carey.

“It’s been a wild ride,” Hough wrote. “So proud of all you have achieved and conquered. Made your mark on Dwts forever. It was a pleasure.”

Burke’s departure announcement comes less than a week after the other Dancing with the stars mainstay judge Len Goodman announced he would also be leaving the show.

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