We chatted with Sharna Burgessafter the Week 5 performance, and she dished on how she comes up with choreography for Andy, surviving their hectic schedule, and what it was like to have Maksim Chmerkovskiy back.
We're all huge fans of Andy's here at Wetpaint Entertainment!
Thank you so much. We really appreciate that. I think he really won the hearts of everybody. Everybody's really getting to see him in a different light, and seeing him commit every week to a new character, and a new performance and a new dance, it's just so much fun to watch. I have fun through the week with him, and then I get to go home and watch it afterwards. And even I'm blown away by what he produces on Monday nights.
What did you think of the side-by-side challenge, which was new this season?
Going into I thought, “Oh god, what are we doing here? The pros are going to outshine the celebrities.” But truly, it was so wonderful to have Sasha Farber and Emma Slater in our rehearsal. I think Andy learned so much from watching another man dance. I can show him the moves, but at the end of the day I'm still a woman. I think for him, seeing it first hand was brilliant. He really took in as much information as he could. I liked the challenge. I think it's a nice change-up from the trio. For me, it allowed me to create a mini-showpiece with a storyline, which is something I love to do. So I'm down for it. I say let's do it every season!
Speaking of choreography, fans have really fallen in love with you and, especially, your choreography, which has been excellent for Andy. How do you approach choreographing for him?
I always go in with a game plan. I listen to the song, and I have to plan out a character for Andy. I have to make sure I have the storyline the whole way through, so he knows what his character is, and where he can give his energy and his acting skills that make him so comfortable. As far as the moves and the steps go, I am governed very much by what Andy can do. We try a lot of things out in the first few days, and whatever looks great on him is what is the bulk of the routine. At the end of the day I don't look it as choreography where I'm trying to create the most amazing piece ever. I'm trying to make Andy look as amazing that he can. So it's a different sort of inspiration and drive to choreographing.
We hear you have a really crazy schedule. What's that like?
It has been insane, to be honest. Especially last week. It was crazy. We had the group number. We had our personal number. I also had a [results show] number, which took a lot of rehearsal time. Each week has been a lot less sleep and a lot more dancing. It's definitely made it tough.
We don't know how you do it!
It's amazing what you're capable of. Your body just runs into the next thing. I think it's what we're all so used to doing. You just keep going, you keep rolling with it. I think when the season ends I'm going to need to sleep for a week, though.
Yes! Very much so. It's wonderful to have him back here. I see him a lot outside of work anyway, but I love having him here. He's certainly missed. It's a shame to not have him around, because he's such a wonderful presence and strength in the cast, for us. To not have him here is sad.
Now that we're halfway through the competition, who do you think the frontrunners are?
Up there is definitely Val and Zendaya, absolutely. Derek and Kellie are very strong as well. And I think Jacoby. He was just incredible [on Week 5]. He's a true performer as well. I think that they may be our frontrunners for the finale. Of course, Andy and I will work hard to get there! But I think that those may be the faces that you'll see.
I heard a rumor that it might be a four couple finale. I don't know if that's solid. But it would be quite interesting. If it happens that there's another position open, who knows! It could be Aly. It could be anyone. It's anybody's game, that fourth position, right now.
Looking to the future, do you have any dream partners?
Absolutely! I think, if it was the sky is the limit, I would pick Hugh Jackman. I mean, he's already a dancer so it's kind of cheating, but he's an Aussie, and he's just incredible. I love his acting. From what I hear he's such a wonderful, down-to-earth person. It would be an Aussie-Aussie pairing, which has never been done on the show before. Something about that match, I would love to do. But that's if the sky's the limit!