Sharna Burgess is no longer a pro dancer on Dancing with the Stars, but she knows all about the behind-the-scenes changes on the ABC celebrity ballroom competition. While viewers have seen firsthand the new voting system which no longer gives the audience as much control over who goes home, what they may not know is that the dancers have lost even more control.
In a new interview on the BobbyCast podcast, Sharna dished about major backstage changes on DWTS. The Season 27 mirrorball trophy winner, who was inexplicably let go from the show ahead of Season 28, got candid about the new rules for the ballroom, which have stripped the show’s seasoned pro dancers from almost all control of their dance routines.
“The dancers no longer get to design their dances. Every week, you know how I was in the creative process — the song, the set, the colors, the costumes, everything — came from my brain, was built with a team. Now the dancers just get their creative concepts given to them. They get told what they’re wearing, what their set is, what their song is, everything. So, they don’t have that creative say in these pieces anymore.”
Sharna went on to explain that the concept for the dances is “all done for [the pros] by the new creative director that’s working on the show.”
While she claims she has “no opinion” on the new rules because she’s “not in it,” Sharna admitted that were she still a pro dancer on Dancing with the Stars she would “struggle to give up that creativity and that part of the dance to someone else.”
View this post on Instagram
I was back in the ballroom last night but in a brand new way!! I gotta say getting to just watch, cheer on and interview my friends at the end of it was kinda freakin awesome. I loved it! And hopefully Extra will have me back to do it all over again. ☺️ Make sure you tune into @extratv today to see our coverage of @dancingabc S28 premier!!! And congrats everyone on an incredible week 1!
Sharna went on to say the new system seems “disjointed,” but she was sure to acknowledge that it seems like everyone is still creating great content behind the scenes. The changes are new to this season of the ABC dance-off.
Entertainment Tonight notes that it was just last season that Sharna was filmed while meeting with DWTS costume designers as she came up with creative ideas for her Argentine Tango with future mirrorball trophy winner Bobby Bones.
Sharna is not the first Dancing with the Stars veteran to weigh in on the new system. Last week, longtime DWTS dancer Cheryl Burke revealed that the dancers have no say at all when it comes to music or costumes, adding that it makes for challenges when it comes to choreography.
“When you don’t dance to authentic music or when you don’t wear the right costumes, it’s tough,” Burke told Us Weekly last week.
Burke, who recently had to withdraw from the Season 28 competition after her celebrity partner Ray Lewis suffered a foot injury, especially took issue with the show’s recent movie theme night. Last week’s show had some of the male dancers wearing tail suits to perform Latin dances to keep in line with the theme for the movie they were dancing to, even though it was the wrong attire for the dance style itself.
Burke also said that while it’s “great” that Dancing with the Stars producers want to stick to mainstream music, she thinks they really need to dig deeper to find the right songs for each dance.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.