Although dramas and comedies provide audiences with shows of great depth, ingenuity, and creativity, there will always be a large viewership for reality television. In particular, competition shows like American Idol and The Voice have seen incredible numbers of viewers in the past decade. One of the longest running and most popular competition reality shows is Dancing With the Stars (DWTS).
This show pairs celebrities with professional dancers who are judged and voted off based on their performances of different styles of dance. Although the show provides fans with the fun of seeing celebrities displaying skills outside their comfort zone, it has also given a platform to the dancers. Mark Ballas has been one of the mainstays on the show as a professional dancer, although he will not be returning for the 23rd season. He is naturally an incredible talent when it comes to dance.
However, many people are unaware of the range of talents that he holds, as well as his unique background that brought him to where he is today. In order to provide his fans with a greater perspective on the dancer as a person, here are ten of the most interesting facts about Mark Ballas.
Dancing is in his blood
While Ballas has certainly worked extremely hard to become the success he is today, he owes part of this success to his genetics. His parents, Corky and Shirley, were extremely successful dancers themselves. They won the Dancesport Championship in England in the 1990s. Further, they owned their own dance studio in Houston. Although his work ethic is most likely the most important factor in his success, having such talented dancers as parents can’t hurt.
He was highly successful in his youth
For some, becoming an elite dancer only happens after a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice. For others, like Ballas, incredible skills emerge at a young age. Even at the young age of 10, Ballas was showing world-class dancing skills. He became the British Juvenile Champion for Ballroom and Latin American Dance. Further, his early talents opened doors for superior training. At age 11, Ballas earned a full scholarship to the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.
He was an extra in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Although his most high-profile work has been DWTS, Ballas also has credits in even larger productions. Oddly, this includes an appearance in the wildly popular Harry Potter series. His brief appearance in the series’ first movie occurred during the “Sorting Hat” scene. In this scene, Ballas was an extra, dressed as a Hufflepuff. While it was a brief appearance, having a credit in one of the most successful series in history is certainly an accomplishment.
His grandfather was an inventor
Ballas comes from an exceedingly talented family. Although he and his parents are exceptional dancers, his grandfather was a talented inventor and businessman. His career centered on the creation of the Weed Eater. The elder Ballas found the idea for this string trimmer while watching how a car wash cleans the car. Although Mark may be the most well-known Ballas, he is certainly not the only member of the family to touch many lives.
Mark Ballas Net Worth
As one of the main dancers on such a popular show, it is no surprise that Ballas has amassed a significant personal wealth. From his appearances on DWTS, as well as some other dramatic projects, Ballas has earned a net worth that is estimated to be around $2 million.
In addition to his performing skills, Ballas has also earned a great deal of money by renovating homes. In fact, he and Derek Hough flipped an LA home for well over $600,000. Although his career in dance and acting has provided him with a great deal of wealth, Ballas’ wealth will surely continue to rise with the help of this side project.
He has drama experience
Ballas is best known for his dancing. The vast majority of his fans know him from DWTS. However, he also has used his performance talents in order to dabble in the world of acting. Most notaby, he played Tony in Copacabana, which starred Barry Manilow. As well, he was the lead dancer in the UK tour of Maria de Buenos Aires.
He is very close to the Hough family
Ballas and Derek Hough do not just flip houses together; their families are extremely close. In fact, while Ballas is good friends with Derek, it is Julianne Hough with whom he has shared more notable moments. Mark and Julianne were dance partners in the 2003 Junior Olympics. The pair won gold in the competition. They later went on to star together in DWTS.
He started a band
Ballas has a far greater range of abilities than most people would assume. While his dancing has brought him great fame and fortune, he is also a talented musician. In fact, Ballas and Derek Hough even formed a pop-rock band called Ballas Hough Band.
He is one of DWTS’ most successful dancers
One could rightly assume that a person like Ballas, who showed both world-class skills and a great work ethic at a young age, would be highly successful as an adult. Being cast as a dancer on DWTS is an achievement in itself, but Ballas has stood out from the pack.
Most notably, he has won the entire competition twice, in Season 6 and Season 8. As well, he has appeared in the finals several times, including the last season. He has also set records on the show, such as the highest score in a premier show (with Kristi Yamaguchi) and being the partner of the youngest celebrity winner (Shawn Jordan.
He created a charitable organization
Nobody would fault Ballas for directing all of his attention and time to perfecting his craft. However, while Ballas consistently performed at the highest level on the show, he also found the time to help those in need.
He created The Ballas Foundation after his uncle committed suicide. He decided that people needed more education about mental illness in order to erase the stigma attached to these illnesses. Further, his foundation supports suicide prevention programs across the country.