He and his former partner Gaynor Fairweather were 14-time World Professional Latin champions: this is by some way the record for this title. They were also eleven times International Latin American Dance Champions, and this is also a record. On their competitive retirement both were honoured by appointment as MBE. Donnie was undefeated in any competitive dance contest for nearly 20 years of continuous competition, a record in any major category of ballroom dance; this is now in the Guinness Book of Records. During this period he won major titles in countries throughout the world.
He is now President of the World Dance Council. He is a winner of the Carl Alan Award for outstanding services to dance and is widely considered the "Michael Jordan" of ballroom dancing. In 2008, Burns married swing dance and International Latin dancer Heidi Groskreutz.
Burns was the hero of the character Mr. Aoki in the 1996 Japanese film Shall We Dance?.
Burns appeared during week 7 of the 12th season of Dancing with the Stars and made an error in his scoring of the final dance of the night, giving Romeo and Chelsie Hightower's Samba a 7 but holding up the 8 paddle when the judges revealed their scores.
- World Dance Council
- Published sources and records, such as the programme of the 57th International Championships 2009 (which lists all previous results, to third place, in all categories), provide verification of these assertions.
- world Dance Council. "Presidium". Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- Donnie Burns' web-site