Olympic ice dance gold medalist Charlie White poses for a "Dancing with the Stars" promotional photo.
Charlie White’s current lifestyle makes training to win an Olympic gold medal look like a walk in the park. The ice dancer, who won gold and bronze medals in Sochi two months ago to complete his medal collection, is now traveling to a different city nearly every day as he balances two full-time jobs: performing on the 20-stop Stars on Ice tour and competing on “Dancing with the Stars.” White and professional dance partner Sharna Burgess began the reality television show at the top of the leaderboard and have consistently placed among the top teams each week. Their stiffest competition includes White’s ice dance partner of 17 years, Meryl Davis, and Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy.
White recently spared some time in his and Davis’ packed agenda to give TeamUSA.org a glimpse into his schedule, and discuss his favorite dance and “Dancing with the Stars” cast members.
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|Charlie White and professional dance partner Sharna Burgess
perform a tango during week two of "Dancing with the Stars"
on March 24, 2014.
So where in the world is Charlie White right now? (Note: Interview took place Friday, April 11.)
Right now I’m in Providence, Rhode Island.
You’ve been balancing “Dancing with the Stars” and Stars on Ice for a solid week now. Take us through what that schedule has looked like.
Starting April 1, we were doing rehearsals all week long for our Stars on Ice show and then we were squeezing in four hours either in the morning or late at night to do our “Dancing with the Stars” rehearsals. That was Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
Friday we also had to do our dress rehearsal for the Stars on Ice show, then the first show in Fort Myers. Saturday was the Fort Lauderdale show and Sunday we had the show in Orlando, and then we had to fly straight to Los Angeles after the show. We got to LA probably 2 in the morning on Monday.
We flew into LA, then they picked us up pretty early Monday morning to go to the studio because we had to do our camera blocking, which we hadn’t had the opportunity to do, being away. That led right into the dress rehearsal for “Dancing with the Stars,” right into the live show. After the live show we did some interviews and because we’re not really there, then they like to get a main interview in. We went a little more than 12 hours straight on Monday.
First thing Tuesday we flew out to Newark, then we were able to get in a solid four hours of rehearsal that night. Then Wednesday morning we rehearsed and then had our show in Newark, which was great. So far the crowds have been really excellent. Then after the show we have a meet and greet, which has really been awesome getting to hang out with all the fans and talk to them about the show. From there we got on the bus with our cast members from Stars on Ice and drove to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Thursday morning we got in our five hours of dance with our professionals and then pretty much drove straight to the rink in Hershey to do our show, and then again that night we had the meet and greet followed by a pretty substantial bus ride of five or six hours to where we are now in Providence.
We have the night off, which is incredible. We’re getting ready for dance rehearsals, which are going to be from 1-6 p.m. Then we’ll take the night, and tomorrow we’ll rehearse in the morning and our show will be in the evening. Sunday night we’ll do the show in Long Island and fly back to LA.
Wow! How tired are you?
I’m tired, honestly. Very, very tired. But we’re having so much fun with everything that it’s making it a lot easier to deal with our tiredness. It’s a lot of awesome people and a lot of awesome opportunities, and we’re definitely making the most of it.
Are you getting your ballroom dance confused with your ice dance yet?
Not yet! I don’t think we will. We’re so comfortable on our ice and our programs are the same every show. Also, we’re on the floor where it’s still uncomfortable and we’re trying to figure out what we’re doing, and each week is different. But no, no confusion so far.
|Charlie White and Sharna Burgess perform a jive during week
three of "Dancing with the Stars" on March 31, 2014.
I think so far the dance I did to Pharrell’s “Happy,” the jive, suited me the best, and it’s gotten me the best feedback as well. It really was a blast to do. I worked hard to make it look good.
Which dance has been the most challenging?
There’s struggles with all of them. The Latin dance, the rumba, has been the hardest for me personally, but it’s exciting because it means I have the most room to grow there as well.
How has your relationship been with your dance partner, Sharna?
Sharna’s been great. Since we first started, we’ve had a really good working atmosphere. She’s always been patient, which is good because it’s not always easy to learn something new, and I’m appreciative of that. We both like to joke a lot and, at the same time, work hard, and I couldn’t really ask for much more than that.
What do you think about Amy Purdy’s performances on the show?
Amy is just an amazing girl. Obviously her story is so inspirational and her work as a Paralympic athlete is just impressive. What she’s been able to accomplish is nothing short of a miracle, and I think it’s made even more impressive because she’s such an amazing person. That’s the most important thing. Getting to be with her on the show has been awesome because she’s funny, she’s great, and she’s a great dancer.
I think that’s what’s so impressive is she just feels the beat. It’s obviously not easy coming from a snowboarding background to have that kind of connection. Meryl and I have at least some experience with the musicality, but she’s stepping in there and just looking like a complete natural, which is amazing. I think what’s so great about the atmosphere of “Dancing with the Stars” is all the stars are rooting for each other and I feel like we definitely have special connection with her, being Olympians. And we’re really pulling for her.
Meryl and Amy aside, are there other celebrities you’ve bonded with on the show?
I think my favorite so far has been Drew Carey. I didn’t know what to expect — if he was going to be how he seemed on TV or somehow different. I’m so pleasantly surprised to see he’s the most normal, fun-loving, good guy, and just a lot of fun to be around.
Any plans to be on “The Price is Right”?
Ha! Yeah, I’ll try to get my way on there.