He and his former partner Gaynor Fairweather were 16-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 Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1991 Birthday Honours. 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.
Since 2005, he has been President of the World Dance Council. He is a winner of the Carl Alan Award for outstanding services to dance. 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 also appeared during week 7 of the 12th season of Dancing with the Stars.
- "World Dance Council". Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
- 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.
- "No. 52563". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 1991. p. 12.
- world Dance Council. "Presidium". Archived from the original on 29 May 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
- world Dance Council. "Presidium". Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- Donnie Burns' web-site