Mark Ballas

Mark Ballas Headshot

Dancer • Singer • Musician • Actor

Birth Date: May 24, 1986

Age: 38 years old

Birth Place: Houston, Texas

Texas-born Mark Ballas, Jr. showed a keen interest in dancing when, at a very young age, he and his parents, Corky and Shirley Ballas - two of the biggest names in dance instruction - moved to London, England, where he promptly began setting the stage for his future career. He joined the Italia Conti Academy of Dramatic Arts associate school at age four, where his training in acting, singing and dancing first began. At age 11, he earned a full time spot at the Academy, as well as a full scholarship to the college. Topping things off, he won performer of the year in his graduating year (2005). Ballas also squeezed in theater productions, playing the lead in the musical "Copa Cabana," as well as roles in "Maria de Buenos Aires" and "The Buddy Holly Musical" at the London Palladium. Interestingly, Ballas' dancing partner at the time, Julianne Hough - as well as her brother, Derek Hough - had both moved from America to England when they were children to live with Ballas and his parents who trained the siblings in all forms of dance. The threesome became close friends and would go on to work together on "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ).

In between that time, Ballas would go on to earn numerous awards of recognition, including British Juvenile Ballroom and Latin American dance champ; U.S. Open to the World, British Open to the World and International Open to the World Junior Latin American Champ; Junior Olympics Gold Medal Winner; and British Open to the World and U.S. Open to the World. Ballas danced with three partners prior to coming on the show, including Hough and Daria Zviagina, with whom he won Blackpool with both. He also won International Championships with both Hough and Yulia Mossikhina. Known for his impressive Latin moves on "Dancing," Ballas really stood out from the pack with fifth season celebrity competitor, "Cheetah Girls" star, Sabrina Bryan. After the couple was surprisingly voted off early that season, they went public with their real-life romance. For the sixth season, it was announced Ballas' partner would be Olympic Gold Medal-winning figure skater, Kristi Yamaguchi, with whom he would win the coveted trophy. One year later, he would repeat the win with gymnast Shawn Johnson. Outside of his work on "Dancing," Ballas' biggest passion was his band, Ballas Hough Band. Together with best friend and fellow "Dancing" co-star, Derek Hough, they wrote and performed all their own original music.

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