"#Dancing With The Stars" Cheryl Burke praised partner #Ryan Lochte for improved scores last week. The couple's Cha-Cha beat James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess in a dance-off for immunity, but just barely. Burke says Lochte needs to get his head in the game for Cirque du Soleil Week on "DWTS." And the character dance Viennese Waltz just might give Lochte the confidence boost he needs to step up his dancing. 

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Protesters, posture, poor self-concept plague Lochte

Since his debacle at the Rio 2016 #Olympics, the swimmer has been dogged by protesters who have even followed him on the "DWTS" set.

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Lochte has also struggled to adapt his swimming posture for dancing--what works in the pool hasn't worked on the dance floor. Lastly, and probably most crippling is the Olympian's poor self-esteem. Cheryl Burke wonders if his past indiscretions have left him feeling vulnerable. He is self-conscious and it shows in his dancing. He barely managed to get one 7 in "Dancing With The Stars" season 23. 

Judges want Viennese Waltz not Radetzky March

"DWTS" judges look for a lot of attitude from dancers. Amber Rose was actually told her dancing made judge Julianne Hough "uncomfortable." Amber took it as body-shaming but really it was just Hough's way of saying put a little enthusiasm into it, girl! Lochte's Cha-Cha also was short on chutzpah, despite being the better in the dance-off.

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Judges said it looked like she was just dancing around him. Cheryl Burke says Ryan needs to take that review to heart and put it toward the waltz. 

Lochte could shine in Cirque du Soleil 

The swimmer's partner feels that the Cirque du Soleil could be just the spark to light his fire. The Viennese Waltz is set to tunes from the famous theatre/dance show and done with lots of costumes and props. Being a little shy, Ryan might feel more comfortable hiding in a character dance. This is a common phenomena in theatre--people who are awkward and socially insecure come into themselves when they play someone else. It might surprise you to know that many actors are really quite tongue-tied when they have to speak unscripted. Watch Johnny Depp in interviews for example. He has none of the usual bombastic enthusiasm and is really uncomfortable to watch. Will Lochte lose the wooden soldier and show some spunk on "DWTS"?