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Dancing Lessons: How I Found Passion and Potential on the Dance Floor and in Life Hardcover – February 1, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"All of my fears and insecurities, the adrenaline rushing through my body, the perspiration on the palms of my hands—it all came to a boil. Then the music started, and like so many times before, the nerves vanished. The minute and thirty seconds I had to dance . . . was magic."

On February 26, 2006, professional dancer Cheryl Burke and pop singer Drew Lachey were declared the winners of Dancing with the Stars on Cheryl's first season with the show. As the media parade began, it was a unique moment of validation and transformation for Cheryl that marked the start of an exhilarating new stage in her life and her career. How did this once shy girl, a girl who loved to dance but gave up ballet because she didn't have a "ballet body," overcome numerous insecurities to realize her dream of a successful dance career and become a champion—twice—on one of the most popular shows on television?

In Dancing Lessons, Cheryl Burke invites you into her life to experience her remarkable journey, from her first dance steps to ballroom dancing competitions around the world to Dancing with the Stars. Cheryl shares the glamour and excite- ment of the ballroom dancing world as well as the grit and hard work it demands of competitors.

Leading you into the rehearsal studios and backstage at Dancing with the Stars, Cheryl tells surprising stories about her celebrity partners and what she has learned from each of them. You'll find out how she and Drew Lachey came up with the sexy moves of their winning freestyle dance routine and how Tom DeLay really felt about wearing rhinestones, as well as what Emmitt Smith taught her about respect and which Dancing with the Stars partner Cheryl came close to dating.

Speaking candidly about her long struggle to transform self-doubt into self-confidence, Cheryl opens up in this book about her body issues and her difficulties in dealing with the media spotlight on her weight. She also tells the truth about the press's attempts to portray her as a party girl. At every stage, her family played an important role in keeping her focused on her future even while they sometimes disagreed about whether that future would include making a living from dance.

As irresistible as the tango and as uplifting as the jive, Dancing Lessons is an engaging story of courage, passion, and persistence. Read it and let Cheryl inspire you to give yourself permission to dance, as she tells her students, and pursue your own dreams, one step at a time.

From the Back Cover

Dancing Lessons

"Cheryl Burke shares her inspiring story of how she overcame a painful past to fulfill her dreams. Not giving up and healing past resentments are why she is not only an amazing dancer, but a kick-ass woman to look up to."
Jenny McCarthy

"Cheryl has fascinated me since the first time I watched her dance. If you're a fan of Dancing with the Stars, I'm betting you feel the same. Who wouldn't want a chance to get to know her better?"
Tom Bergeron

"In Dancing Lessons, Cheryl Burke shows us not only how she got to be such a great dancer, but how she came to be such a terrific person. I enjoyed reading this book, and I know you will, too."
Emmitt Smith

"Cheryl has inspired millions of people to get up and dance. In Dancing Lessons, she shares with us her inspiration and the ups and downs that have led to her success."
Drew Lachey

"Only a few people in my life have made such an impact as Cheryl has, both professionally and personally. From my first day on Dancing with the Stars to the end of the show, she was a great teacher and an even better friend."
Gilles Marini

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470640006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470640005
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,158,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I sat down this morning with my book club selection and thought about reading some more of it but I knew that this book had been delivered to my Kindle a few days ago and was dying to get a taste. I'm a crazed DWTS fan and have always respected Cheryl's immense talent, but was leery that this book might be a trivial let down, I was wrong!!!

I decided I'd sneak a taste and that turned into a 4 hour cover-to-cover read with YouTube stops along the way. What a treat!!! Her words made me laugh and they also brought a few tears to my eyes as well. Cheryl and I share the same hometown of the Bay Area and I'm also half Asian and Caucasian, so I've always kind of related to her on some level and although I'm 19 years her senior, I've always felt a kinship to her. This book is a really easy, entertaining, heartfelt and self-actualized read. I was tremendously surprised at her maturity and overall sense of accomplishment, not just in her professional life but at the adversity she has had to rise above. She seems to be a woman who's really tried and succeeded at learning the lessons we all learn in our twenty's and not making any excuses for them or justifying any lack of responsibility for their existence. I commend her as there are many people far older still trudging that beaten road!

If you are a fan of dancing in any way, I think you will find this a fulfilling way to spend a few hours! And thanks Cheryl, for your honesty and candid words, they were a joy, as are you.
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Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Dancing With The Stars, I was interested in reading the two-time champion Cheryl Burke's memoir "Dancing Lessons." And if you're a fan of Cheryl or the show, there's certainly some interesting insight inside. Born to a Filipina mother and an American father, Cheryl grows up in a multi-cultural household. Although Cheryl grows up without her father, she gets cared for by nannies and encouraged by her entrepreneur mother. Post high school, however, Cheryl attends some classes at a community college and realizes that she hates it. Fueling the only passion she has known since childhood--her passion for dancing--Cheryl decides to become a professional dancer and moves to New York City to achieve her dreams.

A big chunk of the book is devoted to Cheryl's Dancing with The Stars experience--including a typical day on the set, and Cheryl's take on all her partners (Drew Lachey, Emmitt Smith, Rick Fox, Gilles Marini, and Tom DeLay to name a few) on the show, and the lessons she took away from them. Cheryl also shares some intimate moments from her life, such as childhood abuse and bad relationships.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this memoir and learning a bit more about Cheryl. As the title hints, each chapter begins with a "dancing lesson" (description and brief history of various ballroom dances), which was an interesting touch. Because Cheryl is so young (Tom Bergeron notes in his introduction of the book that he was in his fifties before he began writing his own memoir), it would be interesting to see if she succeeds in any of the endeavors she mentions in the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Summary: Cheryl Burke, former professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars, tells about her experience working on Dancing with the Stars as well as her childhood, including sexual abuse by a family friend.

Pros: I'm a big fan of Cheryl and Dancing with the Stars so I was very interested to read this biography. I learned some interesting things I didn't know about Cheryl, such as she was very camera shy when she first started on television. I am also a childhood sexual abuse survivor, so it was inspiring to read about Cheryl's experience, particularly when she went to trial to testify against her abuser. This was very similar to my experience, and so I was particularly interested in this section.

Cons: The book is slightly disjointed and jumps around following styles of dance, rather than anything chronological. The book was also written awhile ago, so there is nothing about her recent partners. There is also very little new information about Dancing with the Stars or much a fan wouldn't already know. It seems that the book was written too early. I think Cheryl's career and life will continue to become more nuanced and interesting and I would rather read a book written by her five years from now versus one from a few years ago.

Conclusion: If you are a fan of Cheryl, you will enjoy the book but you won't learn much you didn't already know.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was very well written. From the heart. Would be a good read for teenage girls who are shy and haven't yet found themselves. Cheryl's story is very moving. Loved how she is so loving of her Mother and gives her much credit for who she is.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nice behind the scenes description of the relationships formed between professional dancer and contestant.
I bought this as a prelude to the new season that was to start in a month. I was disappointed that Cheryl was not one of the professionals in this season. It was great however to see all the projects and activities that are making Cheryl flourish on her own! It was also very interesting to read how her childhood and relationships helped her to grow into the person she is today. I look forward to seeing her on the show again in the future!
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