A few of our readers had some really good questions to ask Dancing With The Stars Pro Sharna Burgess. Sharna answers questions about the most important things she’s learned once she became a pro on Dancing With The Stars. Sharna also takes us through the process of how she assesses her partner’s dance potential. She also chats on her pre-show rituals, her guilty pleasures, her dance mentors, and how she learned to choreograph for television and the movies. Lots more below. Enjoy! Thanks Sharna for another awesome interview!!xx
What was the one most important thing that you learned about yourself once you became a pro on the show?
hmmm, thats tough! I think i learned greater patience, though I’ve always been a patient person, this show requires SO much of it. Patience is an art and a gift, and in tough situations it helps me stay calm, not sweat the small stuff and keep moving forward. Im such a passionate person that if my partner is not into it 150% i can become very frustrated. Dancing only works when you surrender to it and go all in, messing up is fine, but not trying is unacceptable. In saying that i have to remember that what can see like disinterest and disregard, is actually fear, and that is something that needs patience and nurturing if its going to be beaten.
Please tell Sharna I think she’s an excellent competing pro, and I love her innovative choreography.
When you begin rehearsing with your new celeb, how do you begin to assess their dance potential? Do you start without music and see how they handle some basic Latin or standard steps, or do you put some music on the CD player and see how they move to music?
Hi Cidra!!! thank you very much!
The very first thing I need to know is if they can count music, o rat least be taught to count music. Because if they can’t its a very different way i need to teach. After that i work on basic steps with them, learning how to walk like a dancer and keep strong posture, and the position of the arms, both in frame and open partner work. Its a strategy of building for me, they learn the basics and then we continue to add on choreography as he gets better. I will know in the first few days what the capabilities of my partner are and what i can do with them. Its about highlighting strengths and hiding weaknesses. This is a competition after all 😉
What inspires you to create a concept and theme for your choreography?
I thinks just something that i love to do. Since i was a kid, when i listen to music i see scenes in my head. Every song tells me a different story ad gives me a different feeling. When I’m creating a concept i like to think of what message am i trying to tell the audience, what am i making people feel? Every now and then there is a song that just feels like full out balls to the wall dance from beginning to end, with a party feel as opposed to a story, but for the most part, i love to sink my teeth in to characters.
What is your guilty pleasure?
lol, well in terms of TV shows its totally True Blood and Game of Thrones… ooo and lets not forget Sons of Anarchy!! And my gilty pleasure to eat is probably on the rare occasions i go to the cinema, i devour a medium popcorn and bag of M&Ms… i do the perfect mouthful with a little of both, salty and sweet goodness 😉 and yes… i feel ill when i leave lol
What (if any) are your pre-show (pre-performance) rituals? Do you have anything special that you have to do before you dance (besides stretching of course 🙂 )?
Hi Emily! Well, when i am in the competition, my ritual is getting together with my partner and going through the routine, focusing together and just breathing the same air. It helps us be in tuned with each other for the performance.
When I’m not in the competition, i would say that i don’t really have a ritual.. yes besides stretching of course 😉
Did you have a mentor on DWTS, someone who really taught you the ropes?
I have had a mentor for most of my career, though not on DWTS. I was very blessed to have already worked a lot in the industry to learn the ropes so to speak, DWTS is not the fist time i’ve worked in TV or Film. Jason Gilkison found me when i was 20 and put me on Burn The Floor. I toured with them for years and to be honest grew up a lot on tour. I learned more than i could ever dream from Jason, working with him on SYTYCD around the world taught me about choreographing for television, a skill that is SO valuable at dwts. After Burn the Floor i choreographed the movie Street Dance 2, and my mentors became Rich and Tone Talauega and Paul Kirkland, who taught me how to structure my choreography for a movie scene, something i fell in love with and can’t wait to do again.
These are links to my 2 fave scenes i created on the movie if you don’t mind showing them.
Instagram is of Sharna and Paul Barris dancing during the Dancing Pros stage show this past summer courtesy of former Dancing With The Stars pro Edyta Sliwinska.