WATCH: Mark Ballas’s First ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Performance After 5-Year Hiatus

mark ballas

ABC/Andrew Eccles Mark Ballas DWTS

Mark Ballas is a fan-favorite “Dancing With the Stars” professional dancer who was absent from the show for half a decade. Now, the star has made his return to the ballroom.

Ballas first joined “Dancing With the Stars” during season five of the show and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography in 2011, and it was a surprise to fans that he was set to return after a five-year absence.

For season 31, Ballas has been partnered with TikTok superstar Charli D’Amelio.

Watch Ballas & D’Amelio Perform Their First Dance

Ballas and D’Amelio danced to “Savage,” and they performed a Cha Cha. The dance put them at the top of the leaderboard, earning 8s from each of the judges. The two had a ton of energy in their dance, and fans were excited to be able to see Ballas’s choreography in the ballroom once again.

When asked how it felt to be in the ballroom, D’Amelio had nothing but kind words.

“It feels incredible, I’ve watched this show since before I could even form memories, let’s be honest, this has been a huge part of my life, so to just be able to dance again… is incredible,” D’Amelio said after her dance.

She also said that she was proud of her mother, Heidi D’Amelio. And, as a fun fact, Alfonso shared that D’Amelio was just 4 years old when Ballas won his first Mirrorball in 2008.

Why Did Mark Ballas Return to ‘Dancing With the Stars’?

Conrad Green was an original executive producer on “Dancing With the Stars,” and he returned ahead of season 31.

Ballas said he was in once Green called him to return.

“I got a call from Conrad Green,” he said in an interview with Us Weekly. “I worked with Conrad back when I joined, back in the day, and he was like, ‘would you be down to do it?’ and I was like, ‘it sounds like fun,’ and that’s why I’m here.”

From Green’s perspective, he wanted someone to really come back to challenge D’Amelio.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly ahead of the season premiere, Green revealed that he wanted Ballas to come back because he wanted his creativity in the ballroom, but he also wanted someone to really challenge TikTok superstar Charli D’Amelio.

“Charli has got a ton of potential,” Green shared. “She’s got a lot of dance background. So, we wanted to make sure that whoever worked with her was really pushing her and being imaginative and I can’t think of a dancer who is more imaginative than Mark. I reached out to him and said, ‘Are you interested?’ and he thought about it and said, ‘Yeah, let’s go for it.’ He loves the show.”

He added, “He’s obviously got his music and acting and all the other things he’s been doing. But he just thought, ‘Why not? Let’s give it a go.’ I can already see the competition in his eyes. You can take the boy out the ballroom, but you can’t take the ballroom out of the boy.”

“Dancing With the Stars” airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Disney+ on Monday Nights.

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