Top 10 Dancing with the Stars Pros
Dancing With the Stars
Dancing with the Stars is an ABC reality series where professional ballroom dancers team up with celebrities in a dancing competition. Dancers are scored by both the judges in the ballroom and the viewers at home. Each week the couple with the lowest score is sent home. At the end of the season one professional and celebrity reign supreme and win the coveted mirror ball trophy.
The pros have to work with whatever talent and drive the celebrities they are given have. Some pros shine more than others using choreography and their own dancing skills to show off their celebrity in the best light possible. Below is my list – starting with #10 and working to #1 – of the best Dancing with the Stars pros.
10. Artem Chigvintsev
Artem is a Russian-American dancer who specializes in Latin dancing. His television career got started on the British show, Strictly Come Dancing. The American show, Dancing with the Stars, is Strictly's spinoff.
Artem was on series 8-11 of Strictly Come Dancing, winning series 8 with partner Kara Tointon. Artem then moved to America and joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars starting in season 19. Artem has tied for his best results in America so far in season 19 with his partner, Lea Thompson and in season 24 with ice skater Nancy Kerrigan. Both pairs came in 6th in their seasons.
Artem and Nancy Kerrigan Dance Jazz
9. Sharna Burgess
Sharna Burgess is an Australian ballroom dancer born in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. She has trained in many styles of dance as well as gymnastics. At age 15 she danced for Australia in the Standard and Latin World Ballroom championships.
Sharna first appeared on Dancing with the Stars on season 13 as a member of the troupe and stayed there through season 15. On season 16 Sharna was promoted to a pro on the show and has been one ever since. She has come close to winning the mirror ball trophy twice. Once when she and her partner, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, were the runner ups in season 21 and again in season 23 when she and partner James Hinchcliffe were also runner ups.
Sharna is a compassionate partner. She is tough, but encouraging, and a creative choreographer. She works well with the limitations of her partner and tries to show them off in their best light.
Sharna and Nick Carter's Freestyle Dance
8. Cheryl Burke
Cheryl Burke has been on Dancing with the Stars since season 2. She won both season 2 (with Draw Lachey) and season 3 (with Emmitt Smith), becoming the show's first back-to-back champion. Cheryl has been a finalist or semi-finalist on Dancing with the Stars over a dozen times.
Cheryl is a very well-balanced pro being equally skilled in performing and choreographing both Latin and ballroom dances. This versatility spreads to the other styles of dance the show sometimes demands. Her winning freestyle routine with Drew Lachey to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” is considered one of the best routines the show has ever seen.
Cheryl took a long break from the ballroom, but rejoined the cast in season 23.
Cheryl Burke and Drew Lachey
7. Peta Murgatroyd
Peta Murgatroyd was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. She trained as a ballerina while growing up – long before she took up ballroom dancing. In fact, only months after she took up ballroom, Peta was crowned the Australian State Champion. In 2004 she joined the cast of the ballroom show Burn the Floor. When the show hit Broadway, Peta was in the role of leading lady.
Peta became a troupe dancer on Dancing with the Stars in season 12. She became a pro on season 13 where she teamed up with celebrity Metta World Peace. They were the first team eliminated. However, the following season Peta teamed with Donald Driver and they took home the mirror ball.
Strict and exacting, Peta has a sophisticated style. Her routines are classic and sexy and she keeps a firm hand with her celebrities expecting the most out of them every week.
Peta is married to fellow Dancing with the Stars pro, Maxim Chmerkovskiy. They have one child.
Peta and Nyle DiMarco's Winning Freestyle Routine
6. Emma Slater
Emma is a British dancer who had a lot of success in her home country before coming to America to join Dancing with the Stars. She appeared in numerous plays and music videos including George Micheal's "Round Here," the West End's Burn the Floor, and the movie musical Mamma Mia!
Moving to America, Emma joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars in season 17, partnering wth comedian Bill Engvall. Emma's best finish was in season 24 when she won the coveted mirror ball trophy with partner Rashad Jennings.
Emma is a steady partner who always cheers on her stars. Emma is married to fellow Dancing with the Stars pro, Sasha Farber.
Emma and Rashad's Rhumba
5. Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Maksim is a Ukrainian ballroom champion whose family immigrated to America when he was a child. Maksim and his brother Valentin have both appeared as pros on Dancing with the Stars. Maksim owns five dance studios in the New York and New Jersey area.
Maks first appeared on Dancing with the Stars in season 2 with celebrity Tia Carrere. He has appeared on many seasons of the show, often partnering his stars to good results. He even won the mirror ball trophy wth Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis in season 18.
Maksim has a very volatile personality sometimes arguing with the judges when he disagrees with their opinions. Maks also argues with his partners and sometimes gets angry with them when they don't live up to his expectations. But Maks' choreography is very creative and fiery, pushing the boundaries of what a dance allows in order to make a performance better by getting all he can from his star.
Maksim and Meryl's Argentine Tango
4. Valentin "Val" Chmerkovskiy
Val is a Ukranian born dancer who specializes in the Latin dances. He is the brother of fellow pro dancer, Maxim Chmerkovskiy. Val is the 14-time U.S. National Latin Dance Champion.
Val made several guest appearances on Dancing with the Stars before joining the cast as a pro on season 13. Since then, Val has won the mirror ball trophy twice, first in season 20 with Rumer Willis. His second win was in season 23 with gymnast Laurie Hernandez.
As a dancer and teacher, Val is extremely energetic and driven. He is a strict coach, but he also shows a very caring side towards the stars he mentors.
Val and Laurie's Tango
3. Witney Carson
Witney Carson is the most junior dancer to make the list. She first caught my eye when she appeared on So You Think You Can Dance in 2012. After finishing 6th that season, Witney joined the Dancing with the Stars troupe for seasons 16 and 17. In season 18 she was promoted to Pro and partnered singer Cody Simpson. Witney finally won the mirror ball for the first time in season 19 with partner Alfonso Ribeiro.
Witney brings an infectious, bright energy to the ballroom. She keeps things positive with her celebrities and seems full of encouragement. Witney's choreography is inventive and fresh. Her choreography along with her all-American good looks is likely what got her promoted from troupe dancer to pro so quickly.
Witney and Frankie's Salsa
2. Lindsay Arnold
Lindsay Arnold is a professional Latin and ballroom dancer. She first came to national attention on the show So You Think You Can Dance, where she finished in the top 8 on the ninth season.
After So You Think You Can Dance, Lindsay joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars on season 16 as a pro. At the time she joined, she was the second youngest pro in the show's history (after Julianne Hough). She and her partner, boxer Victor Ortiz, finished eighth that season. Lindsay then spent the next four seasons in the troupe.
In season 21 Lindsay again joined the pro dancers. From season 21-25 Lindsay and her partners never finished lower than fourth place. Lindsay won her first mirror ball in season 25 with partner Jordan Fisher.
Lindsay and Jordan's Jive
1. Mark Ballas
Mark Ballas grew up in the ballroom dancing world. His parents are skilled ballroom dancers and his father, Corky Ballas, has appeared on Dancing with the Stars too. Along with partner Julianne Hough, Mark won the Junior Latin American Dance Championships and the gold medal in the Junior Olympics.
Mark has been on Dancing with the Stars since season 5. He is a dynamic partner who often squires younger celebrities like Sabrina Ryan, Bristol Palin, and Sadie Robertson. He won the mirror ball trophy in season 6 with skater Kristi Yamaguchi and in season 8 with gymnast Shawn Johnson. Mark has been the runner up four times with partners Katherine Jenkins, Sadie Robertson, Paige VanZant, and violinist Lindsey Sterling. He has been a finalist three times with partners Bristol Palin, Chelsea Kane, and Candace Cameron Bure.
Mark has been nominated for an Emmy for his choreography on the show.
With his immensely creative choreography, ability to maximize the strength of his celebrities, and his never-say-die attitude, Mark is a proven winner on Dancing with the Stars.
Mark and Lindsey's Freestyle
© 2014 Teeuwynn Woodruff