“It’s not something we’ve ever seen on DWTS before,” the pro dancer says of Cirque du Soleil week on the ABC reality dance competition.
Burgess and her partner, IndyCar racer James Hinchcliffe, will dance a quickstep inspired by the Cirque du Soleil Broadway show Paramour.
“They’ve also given us two Cirque performers to be in the number,” says Burgess. “I didn’t have everyone in the same room until Sunday for camera blocking. That was really nerve-racking, but now going into Monday I am so excited.”
Burgess says she was worried about Hinchcliffe being outshined by the acrobatics going on around him during the routine, but “when James gets into a character, it’s almost magical.”
But even though his character performances have kept the couple at the top of the leader board, Burgess is even more excited for fans to get to know the real Hinchcliffe.
“James is refreshingly normal and real. What you see is what you get,” she says. “He has a very self-deprecating humor, which we’ve seen a lot of, but I don’t think you’ve gotten to see how competitive he is.”
That competitive nature, she says, is what allowed the race car driver to rebound after a near-fatal accident on the track in May 2015.
“Being a competitor helped him recoverer and get back in the driver’s seat just four months after flatlining on the table,” says Burgess, who adds that the audience will hear more about her partner’s accident if they make it through to next week. “That experience changed him and I think hearing that story will make people understand how and why he lives for every moment and finds the light in every situation. He, more than anyone, knows that life is too short.”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.