LOS ANGELES --- The lovely and talented Cheryl Burke of Dancing With the Stars (DWTS) recently received the Voice Over Violence award from Peace Over Violence (POV) during its 39th Annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Dressed in a sexy black tube dress, the Filipina two-time DWTS champion said in an exclusive interview, “I am so honored to receive this award. Domestic violence is so near and dear to my heart. As a teenager, I was a victim of teen dating violence. I have come out and talked about it because I think it is very important to be open about it since it is a very serious matter.”
Cheryl, 26, who is of Filipino, Russian, and Irish descent, also brought along her Filipino mom, Sherrie Bautista-Burke, a businesswoman who first instilled in Cheryl the love for dancing when she was a youngster.
“Peace Over Violence is a leader in addressing abuse issues that affect all of our communities, and I am proud to be a part of this special occasion to help raise awareness and end the violence,” the two-time Prime Time Emmy 2006 nominee said.
According to Patti Giggans, executive director of POV, “We chose Cheryl to receive the said award because she has come out as a survivor of teen dating violence. She is the spokesperson for Allstate Insurance Foundation’s ‘Tell a Gal Pal’ program. We work a lot with teenagers too and Cheryl is a good example to the young people.”
“Cheryl is a shining example of how a survivor can turn her life around and inspire others to empower themselves,” Patti added. “POV is thrilled to honor Cheryl’s strength and courage in sharing her story and speaking out against relationship violence.”
POV is a non-profit organization that holds the annual gala to honor community leaders in the struggle against sexual and domestic violence. Formerly known as the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women, POV is a social service agency dedicated to building healthy relationships, families, and communities free from sexual, domestic, and interpersonal violence.
Rick Fox, the former Los Angeles Lakers basketball player and Cheryl’s former partner on DWTS, presented the Voice Over Violence award to Cheryl, who will be releasing her book, Dancing Lessons: How I Found Passion and Potential on the Dance Floor and in Life, next year.
“My book addresses my personal experience with relationship abuse as well as how dancing has affected me in positive ways,” the charming 5’4” tall dancer disclosed. The book will be available on February 8, 2011, from all Barnes & Noble bookstores.
The star-studded event included special guests Calista Flockhart, who is POV’s national spokesperson; Jennifer Love Hewitt; Kristi Yamaguchi; Agnes Nixon, the creator of “All My Children”; and the cast of the show. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and former state legislator Sheila J. Kuehl also attended.
The annual event brings together a diverse group of leaders from the public sector, community organizations, private corporations, and the entertainment industry to raise awareness on youth and adult sexual and domestic violence.
During our exclusive interview, Cheryl updated us on her dance studios. “My dance studios are doing well,” she disclosed. “I have the Cheryl Burke Dance Starlite in Mountain View, California, the Cheryl Burke Dance Studio in San Francisco and a newly-opened dance studio in Laguna Niguel in South Orange County.”
When DWTS recently polled their audiences to choose their all-time top 10 dance favorites for the past 10 seasons, the audiences chose two Cheryl Burke dance routines as their top two favorite numbers: (1) her Freestyle number “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” number with Drew Lachey in Season 2; and (2) her Argentine Tango “Assassin’s Tango” with Gilles Marini in Season 8.
Cheryl also attributes her success to her Filipino fans. She said, “I credit my success to my very supportive Filipino fans. I am very thankful for their support. I know I have a huge Filipino fan base and I am grateful to them. I am proud to be raised by a great Filipino family and I look forward to going back to the Philippines one of these days.”
She will also star in the internationally celebrated dance spectacular, Luis Bravo’s “Forever Tango,” a highly acclaimed tango company that travels all over the world. “I will start with them in December for two weeks and will perform in Los Angeles for a week next January at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills,” she said. “And hopefully, we can perform in the Philippines in a year from now,” she added.
Cheryl’s fans in the Philippines will definitely look forward to that performance.
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(Photos by PRPP)