Sharna Burgess Reveals 'Hardest Thing' About 'So You Think You Can Dance' Choreography Debut (Exclusive)

Going from being on stage to behind the scenes is not as easy as it looks — just ask Dancing With the Stars pro Sharna Burgess.

ET caught up with the 33-year-old dancer last week, as she hosted the 2018 Industry Dance Awards, where she opened up about the challenges of making the leap to choreography.

“The biggest thing [about choreographing versus dancing] is that I’m not out there doing it,” Burgess told ET of her So You Think You Can Dance choreography debut. “I have no control. I create, I teach, I sit, I inspire and then I have to let it go. And that was the hardest thing for me.”

“Sitting in the audience, I couldn’t breathe, I felt nauseous,” she admitted. “But then they came out and it was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, everything I wanted it to be.” 

“It was so incredible to join So You Think You Can Dance; it was a long time coming,” she continued, explaining how her gig with the reality dance competition came to be. “I have been talking to their creative director and everyone for a long time, but I’m always on tour. I’m always away. So this was the first time we could make it happen.”

For the show, Burgess choreographed a flirty jive routine for contestants Genessy Castillo and Slavik Pustovoytov in the second week of the live competition. “They were phenomenal, and I couldn’t have asked for a better couple, more dedicated to doing it and enjoying that first experience with me.” 

Burgess is not the first DWTS pro to make an appearance this season on SYTYCD — Val Chmerkovskiy choreographed a cha-cha routine for the first week of live competition, while Emma Slater & Sasha Farber teamed up for another cha-cha for this week’s show [all three made their debut as choreographers last season] – and the two dance shows have featured crossovers between dancers and choreographers over the years.

But after Burgess’ showing, SYTYCD’s executive producer and head judge Nigel Lythgoe sang Burgess’ praises, proclaiming, “I want to thank Dancing With the Stars for sending us Sharna Burgess — cause if she keeps choreographing like that, I want to see her every week. That was a fabulous routine.”

For Burgess’ part, she’s all for a return to the show. “I’m obsessed. I love it and I want to go back and do it as many times as they will have me. I’m so in!”

Of course, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the upcoming season of DWTS! Burgess is set to return to the hit ABC series for its upcoming Season 27 — her 12th season on the dance competition show. After wrapping up Dancing With the Stars: Athletes, she skipped filming the Dancing With the Stars: Juniors season, which premieres Oct. 7 on ABC, but says the show is “honestly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”

When ET’s Lauren Zima exclusively visited the set of her Dance Cardio Series workout series last month, Burgess explained her reason for taking some time off. “I decided not to do the junior season because I wanted to really concentrate on building on this part of my life. This was the first time I’ve had time to do that. Between seasons and tours and everything else, it’s been difficult to dedicate [time to anything else].”

“And also, I took some me time,” she added. “I went on a retreat, I went on a vacation. All these incredible things to feed the soul that I’ve needed for so long, so it was like a reset. It’s been seven really busy years and I just needed a little me time and do a little something for myself so I can get straight back into it.”

“This next season, I just hope to really be creative and refreshed. I’ve had some amazing time off and I really can’t wait to come back,” Burgess teased of her return. “I’m not ready to leave my family or ready to talk about what the future holds for me with them and where else I can grow within that family with them, because I am not ready to leave that.”

Watch the video below for more of Burgess’ adventures outside of DWTS.

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