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    Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:15


Val Chmerkovskiy


CELEBRITY PARTNER: Sherri Shepherd

BACKGROUND:

Valentin Chmerkovskiy is the brother of Dancing with the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Val has appeared on Dancing With the Stars as a guest dancer and is now taking center stage as a pro just like Maks. Oh brother!

Val was seven years old when he started dancing and at the age of 12, he went to his first oversees competition, the German Open, as one of only two U.S. couples there (his brother being the second). At 15, Val won his first IDSF World Championship and became the first and last American to ever do it.

Val has been a US champion an incredible 14 times over his 15 year dance career. His accomplishments include winning the German Open, Asian-Pacific Chamiponships, US Open, Blackpool and the World Championships 2-times (Junior and Youth). Val is currently the United States Amateur Latin Champion with his partner Daria Chesnokova.

Without a doubt, Val is one of the most accomplished Amateur Latin dancers in the history of Dancing with the Stars! We are excited to welcome Val back for his second season.

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNER:

• Elisabetta Canalis
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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:16

Tristan MacManus




CELEBRITY PARTNER: Gladys Knight

BACKGROUND:

Tristan MacManus began dancing his home of Dublin, Ireland before moving on to compete around Europe, eventually winning numerous Juvenile, Junior and Amateur competitions.

After appearing in Ella Enchanted, he performed in theatre productions throughout Ireland, most notably in Cork City Opera House and The Gaiety Theatre, including Bryan Flynn's production of Oliver! and Aladdin, among others. Next, he joined the UK tour of Simply Ballroom and, after a successful tour in London and Las Vegas, went on to Australia and America where he toured as a featured dancer with Burn The Floor and Floorplay.

After numerous world tours and a year teaching Ballroom and Latin dancing in Boston, he returned to Europe to join the cast of Dirty Dancing as Dance Captain. He then went on to do a second stint on The West End stage in London.

We welcome back Tristan's for his second season of Dancing With The Stars.

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNER:

• Nancy Grace
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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:18

Tony Dovolani





CELEBRITY PARTNER: Martina Navratilova

BACKGROUND:

Be still our beating, ballroom-dancing hearts—Tony's back for Season 14 of DWTS, and you can bet he's gonna bring a little extra fire to the floor this fall.

 

Born in Kosovo, professional ballroom dancer, instructor and judge Driton "Tony" Dovolani began folk dancing at age three. When he was 15, his entire family moved to the United States and Tony got the opportunity to attend the New England-based Fred Astaire Dance Academy. From that moment on, he knew he had found his passion.

Since that time, Tony has traveled the world and won several championships. Tony also had a featured role in the hit film Shall We Dance, and spent time coaching Jennifer Lopez.

Dovolani made his Dancing with the Stars debut in Season 2, when he was paired up with professional wrestler Stacy Keibler. And Tony was partnered with Melissa Rycroft in Season 8, where they came in third place.

How far will his fancy footwork take him this time?

ACHIEVEMENTS:

• 2005 and 2006 World Rhythm Champion
• 2006 PBS American Ballroom Challenge Rhythm Champion
• 2006 Emerald Ball Open Professional American Rhythm Champion
• 2005 Ohio Star Ball American Rhythm Champion
• Current world and undefeated United States Open champion

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNERS:

• Chynna Phillips
• Wendy Williams
• Audrina Patridge
• Kate Gosselin
• Kathy Ireland
• Melissa Rycroft
• Susan Lucci
• Marissa Jaret Winokur
• Jane Seymour
• Leeza Gibbons
• Stacy Keibler

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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:19


Peta Murgatroyd


CELEBRITY PARTNER: Donald Driver

BACKGROUND:

Peta Murgatroyd was born in Auckland, New Zealand and raised in Perth, Western Australia. She studied classical ballet from the age of four and trained for 12 years under former principal dancer of the Kirov Ballet, Madame Lubov Nikonorenko.

Peta became the Australian State Champion within three months of beginning ballroom training. She has competed around the world, placing 2nd in the Great World City Championships, was a semi-finalist in the Lion City Championships in Singapore and was a finalist in the Australian Open Championships. She placed 3rd in the world at the British Youth Latin Championships in Blackpool 2006.

In 2004, Peta was chosen to be a cast member of Burn The Floor, which has sold in excess of 4 million tickets in over 30 countries and 160 cities worldwide. She toured the world with them for six years. Burn The Floor then landed on Broadway in August 2009, where Peta was the lead female dancer. Impressive!

After achieving her lifelong goal of being on Broadway, Peta ended her run with the production in January 2010 to pursue a career in film and television in Los Angeles. What better way to do that than as a pro on Dancing With The Stars! And we're happy to welcome back Peta for her second season on the show.

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNER:

• Ron Artest



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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:21


Mark Ballas


CELEBRITY PARTNER: Katherine Jenkins

BACKGROUND:

Coming from a family of international dance stars, it's no surprise that Mark has two shiny disco ball trophies at home. He even beat out his dad, Corky, and tied with childhood friend Derek Hough, for the wins.

Mark joined the show in Season 5. Despite their stellar performances, he and partner Sabrina Bryan were eliminated in week six. It was so controversial that various websites voted it 2007's Most Shocking TV Moment.

Despite the Season 5 upset, Mark came back to win the DWTS title in Season 6 with partner Kristi Yamaguchi, and again in Season 8 with Shawn Johnson. Born in Houston, Texas, Mark moved to London with his family as a child and joined the Italia Conti Academy of Dramatic Arts Associate School where his training in acting and singing/dancing began.

He grew up with fellow DWTS pros Derek and Julianne Hough, who lived and trained with his parents. He says they are more like family than friends. "We get along like brothers...we fight like brothers." Mark and Julianne partnered to win Junior Latin American and Junior Olympics dance championships.

As an actor, Mark has played the lead in the musical Copacabana. He also took on roles in the UK tour of Maria de Buenos Aires, and was an understudy in the London Palladium production of The Buddy Holly Musical. Plus, maybe you caught his guest star appearance on the 2008 season premiere of Samantha Who?

When he's not dancing, Mark focuses on his other passion, which is music. He rocks out with his band on tour and in the studio, and has released two CD's as a solo artist and one as the Ballas Hough band.

ACHIEVEMENTS:

• British Juvenile Ballroom and Latin American dance champ
• US Open to the World, British Open to the World and International Open to the World Junior Latin American Champ
• Junior Olympics Gold Medal Winner
• British Open to the World, US Open to the World, International Open to the World twice, United Kingdom, Youth Latin American Dance Champion

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNERS:

• Kristin Cavallari
• Chelsea Kane
• Bristol Palin
• Shannen Doherty
• Melissa Joan Hart
• Shawn Johnson
• Kim Kardashian
• Kristi Yamaguchi
• Sabrina Bryan


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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:23


Maksim Chmerkovskiy


CELEBRITY PARTNER: Melissa Gilbert

BACKGROUND:

"The Bad Boy of the Ballroom" joined the show in Season 2, competing with partner Tia Carrere. We fell for Maks instantly. Known for his bold moves and even bolder mouth, he's the one we love to hate and hate to love.

 

Maks has come close to getting that shiny disco ball three times. He made it to the finals with boxing champ Laila Ali in Season 4, finished in second place in Season 5 with Mel B, and in season 10 a close third with Erin Andrews. So close!

Ladies love to look at Maks. "I know my assets so I don't have a problem opening my shirt," the dancer says. "I notice women looking at my chest all the time. If you want to look at my chest, go ahead." Don't mind if we do!

Maks is a big part of the DWTS family. He toured in the national production and is part of the DWTS: Cardio Dance DVD. He starred on ABC's sports competition show The Superstars and played himself in an episode of All My Children.

Outside of DWTS, Maks choreographed for famed director Franco Dragone's Le Reve, and performed in the Broadway show Burn the Floor.

Currently a board member for the non-profit organization DanceTeamUSA, Maks is dedicated to inspiring American kids to get involved in DanceSport. He started the Rising Stars Dance Academy, which is the premier youth ballroom dance school in the United States. He also organizes performances all over the world through his company Maksim Chmerkovskiy Productions.

ACHIEVEMENTS:

• 2005 Yankee Classic Professional Latin Champion
• 2004 Manhattan Dancesport Professional Latin Champion
• 2003 Ohio Star Ball Latin Champion
• Ranked 2nd in the US

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNERS:

• Hope Solo
•Kirstie Alley
• Brandy
• Erin Andrews
• Debi Mazar
• Denise Richards
• Misty May-Treanor
• Mel B
• Laila Ali
• Willa Ford
• Tia Carrere


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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:24


Kym Johnson


CELEBRITY PARTNER: Jaleel White

BACKGROUND:

If you're wondering who to thank for introducing Kym to the world of ballroom dancing, look no further than her immediate family. No, it wasn't her parents. It was her brother! Apparently, he thought dancing would be a good way to meet girls, so Kym was dragged along to the lessons. Way to go, bro!

It wasn't long before Kym was dancing competitively. In December 1998, she and then-partner Tomas Atkocevicius came second at the Australian DanceSport Championships in the Open Amateur Modern Ballroom.

However, we got our first DWTS glimpse of Kym she was paired with Jerry Springer in Season 3. Remember how Kym and Jerry were such fan favorites during their impressive run, which ended with a 5th Place finish? She stepped things up in Season 4 when she dazzled us on her way to a second place finish with Joey Fatone. Loved it! Then in Season 9, Kym took parter Donny Osmond all the way to the Mirror Ball Trophy. She then repeated her victory in Season 12 with Hines Ward.

You could say Kym "got down under" when she appeared on Dancing with the Stars (Australia). She also appeared in several TV ads as well as a sexy modeling shoot for FHM magazine. But even though the camera loves her, you can't keep Kym off the dance floor for long, as she also performed on the world tour of the modern ballroom stage show Burn the Floor.

Other highlights of her successful career include dancing at Elton John's 50th birthday party and appearing in the hit movie Strictly Ballroom. But we'll always love her for Dancing With The Stars!

ACHIEVEMENTS:

• Former Australian Amateur Ballroom and Latin champion
• Finalist U.K. Ballroom Championships at Blackpool
• Burn The Floor world tour
• Dancing With The Stars Australia - Seasons 1, 2 and 3

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNERS:

•David Arquette
• Hines Ward
• David Hasselhoff
• Donny Osmond
• Jerry Springer
• Joey Fatone
• Mark Cuban
• Warren Sapp
• David Alan Grier


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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:25


Karina Smirnoff


CELEBRITY PARTNER: Gavin Degraw

BACKGROUND:

Karina was born in the Ukraine before she made her way to the U.S. with her family at the age of 12. And speaking of her family, we're giving a great big shout out to Karina's folks for getting her started with ballet lessons when she was five. Think they had any idea what they started?!

At the age of nine, Karina was introduced to ballroom dancing and fell in love with it. After high school, she graduated from Fordham University but put her academic studies on hold to pursue her ballroom dancing career in the United Kingdom.

We first fell in love with Karina during Season 3 when she swung into a second place finish with partner Mario Lopez. Not bad for a DWTS rookie. The next season she finished fifth with Billy Ray Cyrus. The two would team up again after their last dance when Karina guest starred on Hannah Montana. And in Season 13, she went all the way, winning the mirror ball trophy with J.R. Martinez as her partner.

Karina and her former partner Slavik Kryklyvyy shared tremendous success winning the U.S. Championships and many other world titles and were ranked second in the world in the Latin division.

Back for her eleventh season, we just can't to see Karina burn the floor on the DWTS stage!

ACHIEVEMENTS:

• Five-time U.S. National Champion
• World Trophy Champion
• Asian Open Champion

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNERS:

• J.R. Martinez
• Ralph Macchio
• Mike Sorrentino
• Aaron Carter
• Mario Lopez
• Billy Ray Cyrus
• Floyd Mayweather Jr.
• Rocco DiSpirito
• Mario
• Steve Wozniak


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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:27


Derek Hough


CELEBRITY PARTNER: Maria Menounos

BACKGROUND:

Derek started dancing at age 11. Just one year later, he and Julianne left their hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah, and moved to London to live and train with their dance coaches Shirley and Corky Ballas. He and their son Mark Ballas, also on Dancing with the Stars, are still best friends and perform in a band called the Ballas Hough Band.

 

"In dancing, there's a lot of acting involved, and you have to combine both of them (the dancing and the acting) to put on a show, because that's our job."

A multi-talented entertainer, Derek also performed on London's West End and played the lead in Footloose. One of the dancers on the first Dancing with the Stars Tour and a choreographer on the BBC (UK) hit show, Dance X, he recently took a break from competitive dance to focus on acting and singing.

Derek danced with Polish dancer Aneta Piotrowska, who appeared on the Polish version of Dancing with the Stars. Derek says, "I loved doing the Rumba. It was amazing because everything was 100% genuine." Professionalism really comes into play when both partners are talented, but have no chemistry with each other. He feels as long as both people come across like they're having a good time, they can have a successful partnership.

Derek would rather lose a competition knowing that he danced his absolute best, than win thinking he didn't deserve it. Even though he was not always technically the best in competitions, he concentrated on his connection with his partner and the audience. That said, Derek has two Mirror Ball Trophies under his belt: Season 7 with Brooke Burke, and Season 10 with Nicole Scherzinger.

He really loves the recognition from his all his fans, especially the Latin dance fans who know the hard work and dedication it takes.

ACHIEVEMENTS:

• World Under 21 Latin American Champion
• Two-time Open British Champion (Blackpool)
• Two-time International 'Open to the World Champion'
• Two-time US Open Champion

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNERS:

• Ricki Lake
• Nicole Scherzinger
• Joanna Krupa
• Lil' Kim
• Brooke Burke
• Shannon Elizabeth
• Jennie Garth


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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:29


Cheryl Burke


CELEBRITY PARTNER: William Levy

BACKGROUND:

Cheryl has won over audiences with her creative choreography and effervescent personality. We suspect her dangerously low cut dresses might have something to do with it, too.

Joining the show in the second season with a bang, Cheryl won back-to-back disco ball trophies with partner Drew Lachey in Season 2, and then with Emmitt Smith in Season 3, and was most recently had a second place finish with Rob Kardashian in Season 13.

But don't let her sweet smile fool you—this girl has some sizzling hot moves and knows just how to show them off! "We want people to think something is going on, on the dance floor," says Cheryl. "You want people to be so uncomfortable watching it because we are going to be so sexy."

Cheryl started ballet lessons at age 4 and was soon performing throughout her native Bay Area. "But at 11, I went to a competition and saw the costumes, heard the music, and loved that the dancers had partners," Burke explains. Incidentally, these are all the same reasons why we love DWTS!

By the age of 13, Cheryl was traveling and competing throughout the world, later moving on to win several championships. Some of her triumphs include being the 2005 Ohio Star Ball Rising Star Champion, 2005 San Francisco Open Latin Champion and 2005 World Cup Professional Rising Star Latin Champion. Burke also clinched several UK Championship titles, and scored a fourth place showing in the U.S. "Under 21s" division.

Capitalizing on her success with DWTS, Cheryl ha started her own line of clothing and dance studio, Cheryl Burke Dance, with several locations throughout California. You also may have seen her as a guest star on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

ACHIEVEMENTS:

• 2005 World Cup Professional Rising Star Latin Champion
• 2005 San Francisco Open Latin Champion
• 2005 Ohio Star Ball Rising Star Champion
• U.K. Championships
• 4th in U.S. in the Under 21s

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNERS:

• Rob Kardashian
• Chris Jericho
• Rick Fox
• Chad Ochocinco
• Tom DeLay
• Gilles Marini
• Maurice Greene
• Cristián de la Fuente
• Wayne Newton
• Ian Ziering
• Emmitt Smith
• Drew Lachey


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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:31


Chelsie Hightower

CELEBRITY PARTNER: Roshon Fegan

BACKGROUND:
We're all pretty impressed that Chelsie has accomplished so much at such a young age. Do you realize that ever since she began competing at a high-level in ballroom, Chelsie has been in the finals and ranked as one of the top three couples in the country?! Not bad. Not bad at all.

In 2006, Chelsie was a finalist on TV's So You Think You Can Dance where one judge said, "You move so well, you could make a mannequin look good." That's good news for some of the guys around here who look quite wooden whenever they try to bust a move.

Chelsie has been helping other learn to dance since she was 15. She moved to North Carolina to teach and would fly to New York on weekends for lessons. She has been teaching at Center Stage in Utah where she's helped many students win national titles. She also teaches abroad. As busy as you are, Chelsie, we're so glad you found some time to do a little Dancing With The Stars!

ACHIEVEMENTS:

• U.S. Representative to the Worlds - 2005
• U.S National Standard Finalist - 2005
• International Latin Finalist - 2006
• 10 Dance National Youth Champion - 2005

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNERS:

• Romeo
• Michael Bolton
• Jake Pavelka
• Louie Vito
• Ty Murray
 


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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 15:33


Anna Trebunskaya


CELEBRITY PARTNER: Jack Wagner

BACKGROUND:

 

A native of Russia, Anna has been dancing ever since she was six years old. We're thinking it was only natural, as her parents owned a dance studio. She took part in her first competition at the age of seven. And guess what? She won! It was the start of a trend, as she's been winning awards and accolades as an amateur and pro ever since!

Anna moved to the U.S. with her parents in 1998 when she was 17. Both mom and dad were professional ballroom dancers, and her mother still makes her costumes today. Way to keep it all in the family, Anna!

In Season Two of DWTS, Anna paired with football great Jerry Rice to make the finals, and ultimately a second place finish. In Season Five, she paired with model Albert Reed and in Season 6 she danced with actor/funnyman Steve Guttenberg. And in Season 10, Anna made it to the finals, finishing second with Evan Lysacek.

But none of those pairings compare to the one she has offstage. We just love the fact that Anna is married to fellow DWTS pro Jonathan Roberts. Wonder if they carpool to work.

ACHIEVEMENTS:

• International Grand Ball Champion
• U.K. Championships
• International Grand Ball Champion
• 2004 USA Rising Star Latin Champion
• 2003 Blackpool Rising Star Latin Finalist
• 1998 USA Amateur Youth Standard (Ballroom) Champion 

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNERS:

• Carson Kressley
• Sugar Ray Leonard
• Kurt Warner
• Evan Lysacek
• Chuck Liddell
• Jerry Rice
• Albert Reed
• Steve Guttenberg


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