Dancing With the Stars returns with some of the series’ favorite pro dancers as part of the main cast. Fan-favorite Mark Ballas has come back to the series and troupe dancer Alan Bersten has been upgraded to a full-fledged cast member. Get the rundown on each of the pro dancers for this season, who they are paired with, and their background.
In the past, Keo Motsepe hasn’t lasted very long on the show with his performers. He’s been paired with celebrities including model Charlotte McKinney, Lolo Jones, and Chaka Khan. But, when he had Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin as a partner, he came in sixth place. This season on the show, Motsepe is paired with Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran.
Bersten has been a dance troupe member on the show and has also been a performer on the Dancing With the Stars live tour. On the show in the past, he has participated in trio dances and has acted as a sub for two prominent pros. When talking about his promotion as a full time cast member to People, Bersten said:
It’s a dream. I was 10 years old when the show first came out and I’d watch it with my grandma and she’d say, ‘One day you’re going to be dancing on there.’ She was so excited when I joined the troupe and I know she’s going to be even happier that I’m a pro now.
When Derek Hough was part of the cast, Bersten stepped in after Hough injured himself. And, last season, Maksim Chmerkovskiy suffered an injury, so Bersten was a sub once again.
For the season, Bersten is paired with Debbie Gibson.
Sharna Burgess is a fan-favorite and often makes it very far in the competition. This season on the show, Burgess is paired with athlete Derek Fisher. In an interview with Just Jared Jr., Burgess addressed rumors that have swirled about rivalries on-set among the pros and she said:
To be honest, I think the fans fight more than we do! The stories about bad blood and confrontation get blown out of proportion.
For Burgess’ first performance with Fisher this season, they are dancing the salsa.
Usually, Slater and fiance Sasha Farber compete as pros on the show, but this season, Farber is not a full-time cast member. The couple even got engaged on a live episode of Dancing With the Stars, but fans will probably see Farber on set, making appearances, or in rehearsals. Hopefully, he’s a troupe dancer this season, which means he could participate as a back-up dancer.
Slater is performing with Property Brothers star Drew Scott on the show this season.
Witney Carson has won the show in the past, when she was paired with actor Alfonso Ribeiro. Last season, she had a short run and was eliminated quickly with comedian Chris Kattan as her partner. This season, Carson is competing with actor Frankie Muniz and she has told Just Jared Jr. that she is very competitive. Carson explained:
At the beginning of the season we’re all so excited. Then, when it starts getting serious, I shut my door because I don’t want anybody to see my routine! I am super-competitive.
Carson was revealed to be competing with Frankie Muniz before the official cast announcement came out because they were photographed leaving dance rehearsals.
Last season, Lindsay Arnold won the mirrorball trophy with MLB star David Ross. He may not have been the best dancer in the competition, but he was the fan-favorite, which overrides all. This season on the show, Arnold is paired with actor, singer and dancer Jordan Fisher, so there’s a good chance she could make it to the finals on the show.
Mark Ballas is definitely one of the show’s favorite pros and he is also BFF’s with former cast member Derek Hough, who fans gush over as well. After taking a break from the show, Ballas returns as a married man. He was also previously starring in the Broadway production of Jersey Boys. Ballas is also a musician, so it’s probably exciting for him to be paired with another musician this season. His celebrity partner on the show for season 25 is violinist Lindsey Stirling.
Peta Murgatroyd & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Over the summer these two pro dancers got married at the Oheka Castle in Long Island, New York at the same time that DWTS judge Julianne Hough tied the knot. Last season, the couple was juggling being new parents and now they are newlyweds. So, why not pair one married couple with another married couple on the show? Celebrity couple Nick and Vanessa Lachey are on board and are paired with the married pros. For Murgatroyd’s first performance this season, she will be dancing a cha cha routine with Nick Lachey. As for Vanessa Lachey, she and Chmerkovskiy’s first dance will also be a cha cha. So, the couples will literally be going head-to-head.
In the past, Chigvintsev has had some great celebrity partners and also some disasters. Last season, Chigvintsev was extremely excited when he got Olympic icon Nancy Kerrigan, but their time on the dance floor was cut just short of the finals. This season, he is paired with WWE champion Nikki Bella, so this could either go very well or the couple could fall flat. Working as a pro wrestler takes a lot of discipline, so this could potentially be a great season for Chigvintsev.
With Nikki Bella on the road to the altar with her fiance John Cena, she has told People that she hopes Chigvintsev will choreograph her wedding’s first dance.
The hunky Gleb Savchenko has returned to the ballroom and now he is paired with former Pretty Little Liars star Sasha Pieterse. For their first dance on the show, the couple will be performing a cha cha routine. In an interview with People, Savchenko has talked about the rehearsals going into the competition and he stated that:
The beginning of the season is all about listening and learning about them and their strengths. As long as they are emotionally open to trying things and telling their story, then choreographing is very easy. There are fun dances, emotional dances and dramatic dances, so it’s different every week, and I enjoy pushing myself to my limits and trying new things.
In the same interview, Savchenko said that Pieterse is “very easy-going and fun,” so it sounds like rehearsals are going well.
Cheryl Burke previously retired from the show and recently, she has been cast to take over for Abby Lee Miller on the reality show Dance Moms. But, it looks like she can fit some time in for Dancing With the Stars as well. She is paired with athlete Terrell Owens and they are dancing the cha cha for their first performance. These two were the last couple to be revealed as part of the cast this season, so they may be at a disadvantage when it comes to time.
Chmerkovskiy is a seasoned pro, a favorite on the show and he is a mirrorball champion. This season, he is paired with paralympian swimmer Victoria Arlen, so he will have some new challenges in his teaching styles. Just last year, Arlen learned to walk after spending almost an entire decade paralyzed from the waist down.