Dancing With the Stars' reigning pro champion, Sharna Burgess, is taking a break from the ABC dance competition show after taking home the Mirrorball Trophy with partner Bobby Bones in a highly-contested win last season. During Wednesday's Season 28 cast announcement on Good Morning America, the Aussie dancer was noticeably absent from the pro line up.
Competing this year alongside a seriously star-studded cast are pros Peta Murgatroyd, Cheryl Burke, Gleb Savchenko, Val Chmerkovskiy, Jenna Johnson, Lindsay Arnold, Sasha Farber, Alan Bersten, Witney Carson, Emma Slater, Daniella Karagach, Keo Motsepe, Pasha Pashkov and Brandon Armstrong.
Burgess' absence from this season doesn't mean she harbors ill will toward the show — just earlier this month she took to Instagram with a lengthy note about how much it's meant to her over the past nine years.
"What an incredible almost 12months of new adventures, new challenges, being outside my comfort zone and realizing the things I am capable of," she wrote in part. "It has been thrilling, terrifying, satisfying, soul feeding and dream making. ... When I reflect I can’t help but be grateful for [DWTS] and for the the opportunity it gives me to grow, learn, and create for all of you guys to make you smile, cry and laugh. To work with someone and get to show them how to share their story through dance like I’ve known my whole life. It’s beautiful, it’s a gift and I treasure it. I treasure the life DWTS has given me. A life I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams."
That doesn't mean it wasn't a tough win for Burgess and Bones last season, with the two getting a lot of hate online after walking away with the win despite getting significantly lower scores from the judges than their competitors.
“The people on the internet that loved that show were brutal to me,” Bones told PEOPLE of his win afterwards. “If people love dance, you didn’t love me on that show. If people love people going on and trying something new and putting their heart on their sleeve and being uncomfortable, then I think that’s who I was able to connect with. No one who was a ballroom fan was ever going to like me.”
Dancing With the Stars Season 28 premieres on Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo credit: Getty / Paul Archuleta