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'Dancing With The Stars' announces pro dancers battling to win Mirrorball Trophy

by jmaloni


Wed, Aug 13th 2014 01:35 pm

Brand-new celebrity cast to be revealed Sept. 4, exclusively on "Good Morning America"

"Dancing with the Stars" premieres live Monday, Sept. 15, on ABC

The competition is already beginning for the coveted Mirrorball Trophy. "Dancing with the Stars' " new cast of pro dancers was revealed this morning exclusively on "Good Morning America."

This season's crop of professional dancers includes ballroom favorites, fresh new faces, and an international champion that will be sure to bring the heat to the dance floor. The 12 dancers will be paired with a brand new cast of celebrities, which will be announced live on "Good Morning America" Thursday, Sept. 4 (7-9 a.m.).

As announced this morning on ABC's "Good Morning America," the 12 pros returning to the dance floor on season 19 (in alphabetical order) are:

MARK BALLAS - Mark is an Emmy-nominated choreographer, actor and musician. As part of the professional cast of "Dancing with the Stars" for the past 14 seasons, he has proven to not only be a fan favorite, but is also no stranger to the coveted Mirrorball trophy. He is a two-time champion and a seven-time finalist - winning season six with Kristi Yamaguchi and season eight with Shawn Johnson.

Follow @MarkBallas

CHERYL BURKE- With more than 20 years dancing experience and several championship titles under her belt, this Emmy-nominated professional dancer has tangoed and sambaed her way into the hearts of millions. Cheryl recently became the show's first professional dancer to appear in the finals seven times and the semifinals 10 times. She is a two-time winner - with Emmitt Smith in season three and Drew Lachey in season two.

Follow @CherylBurke

WITNEY CARSON - Witney was born and raised in a small town called American Fork, Utah. She started her dancing career at the age of 3. Being trained in many different dance styles, including ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, lyrical, tap, Latin and standard ballroom, she has competed and performed all over the world.

At the age of 18, Witney made top six (top three girls) on "So You Think You Can Dance" season nine. She then joined ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" Pro Troupe Team, where she performed and choreographed every week for two seasons. In 2014, Witney was promoted to a pro dancer and was paired with partner Cody Simpson. 

Follow Witney @WitneyCarson

ARTEM CHIGVINTSEV - Originally from Russia, dancing has taken Artem all over the world. In 2010, he made his professional dancing debut on the original UK version of "DWTS," "Strictly Come Dancing." Paired with Kara Tointon, they went on to win the coveted Mirrorball Trophy, making Artem one of the first professionals to win the series as a first-time pro.

Additionally, Artem was one of the choreographers on the British second series of "So You Think You Can Dance," and a finalist on "SYTCD" in the U.S. In 2014, Artem joined the troupe on "Dancing with the Stars" and this season, joins as a first-time pro.

Follow @artemchigvintse

VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY - Val joined the cast of professional dancers on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2011. The 13-time U.S. national champion and two-time world dance champion quickly rose to stardom, becoming one of the show's fan-favorites for impeccable performances that showcased not only immense talent and creativity, but an undeniable charisma to match.

Val co-founded Dance With Me Studios, one of the nation's leading Latin and ballroom dance studios, where he also lends his expertise as the venue's art director. The success of the first studio ignited a passion for teaching his craft, leading him to pursue his latest endeavor, Dance With Me Juniors, a program he proudly designed to keep kids healthy, focused and active.

Follow Val @iamValC

TONY DOVOLANI - Tony is balancing fitness, dance and family while capturing the hearts of millions each season on "Dancing with the Stars." Born in Prishtina, Kosova, Tony was proficient in Albanian folk dancing by age 3 and was inspired by watching Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly films. After immigrating to the U.S. as a political refugee from his native Kosovo, Tony trained at a Connecticut Fred Astaire dance studio and eventually became one of the most dominant competitive dancers in the country.

During the "Dancing with the Stars: All-Star Season," season 15, Tony and dance partner Melissa Rycroft won the show and took home the Mirror Ball Trophy. Tony and fellow dancers Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy are partners in the Dance With Me USA Dance Studios in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Follow @TonyDovolani

ALLISON HOLKER - Allison is an Emmy-nominated dancer and choreographer. She was nominated with Derek Hough for a 2013 Outstanding Choreography Emmy for their work on "Dancing with The Stars." She also was a featured dancer in two of the other nominated pieces that year. Along with her fellow Emmy-nominated choreographers, Allison prepared a piece that was performed to rave reviews at this year's Primetime Emmy Awards with Neil Patrick Harris.

Holker first burst onto the scene when she competed in season two of "So You Think You Can Dance." Her skill & popularity led to an invitation to return as an All-Star in season seven, where she met fellow dancer Stephen "tWitch" Boss. They were married in December 2013.

This is Allison's first year as a pro on "Dancing with the Stars."

Follow @AllisonHolker

DEREK HOUGH - Derek, the only five-time champion in franchise history of the hit ABC show "Dancing with the Stars," started dancing in his hometown of Salt Lake City at age 11. Just one year later, he moved to London to live and train with the top dance coaches in the world, and attend performing arts school where he studied theater, music and dance.

A multi-talented entertainer and Emmy Award-winning choreographer, Hough was one of the featured dancers on the "Dancing with the Stars Tour," and a choreographer on the BBC hit show, "Dance X."

Follow @DerekHough

KEOIKANTSE MOTSEPE - Born in South Africa, Keo started dancing at the age of 5 after his best friend suggested they try it out for some fun. At 7, he knew it was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. In 2004, Keo teamed up with his coach and mentor, Rafick Hoosain, and garnered every national title in South Africa.

In 2012, Keo made history becoming the first South African to join the "Burn the Floor" World Tour. He quickly became the male principle dancer in the cast, and was handpicked to perform as a soloist during the shows residency at the Shaftesbury Theatre on the West End.

Follow @KeoDancer

PETA MURGATROYD- Peta was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and raised in Perth, Western Australia. She studied classical ballet from the age of 4 and trained for 12 years under former principal dancer of the Kirov Ballet, Madame Lubov Nikonorenko.

In 2004, Peta was chosen to be a cast member of "Burn the Floor," where she toured the world for six years. "Burn the Floor" then landed on Broadway in August 2009, where Peta was the lead female dancer.

Peta joined "Dancing with the Star's" in season 13, where she was eliminated in the first round, but she returned with a vengeance as she and Donald Driver won the Mirrorball Trophy in season 14.

Follow @PetaMurgatroyd

EMMA SLATER - Emma started dancing at the age of 5 when she joined a local stage school in her hometown of Tamworth, England. In 2005, at age 16, Emma joined the cast of "Simply Ballroom," touring the U.K. (including London's West End) United Arab Emirates and South Africa, where she also appeared on "Strictly Come Dancing."

In 2007, Emma played one of Sophie's (Amanda Seyfried) friends in the film "Mamma Mia" and also sang on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for the movie. She went on to join Tony-nominated "Burn The Floor" for the show's debut on Broadway and continued on for the 2010 world tour.

In early 2012 Emma joined "Dancing with the Stars" as a troupe dancer and choreographer and later went on to become a pro dancer. She took her partner, Bill Engvall, to the finals.

Follow @EmmaSlaterDance

KARINA SMIRNOFF - Originally from Ukraine, Karina made her way to the U.S. with her family at the age of 12. At the age of 9, Karina was introduced to ballroom dancing and fell in love with it. After graduating from Fordham University with a double degree, she put her academic studies on hold to pursue her ballroom dancing career in the U.K.

American audiences first fell in love with Karina during season three of "Dancing with the Stars," when she swung into a second place finish with partner Mario Lopez. The next season she finished fifth with Billy Ray Cyrus. In season 13, she went all the way, winning the Mirrorball Trophy with J.R. Martinez as her partner.

Follow @Karina_Smirnoff

Hosted by Emmy Award-winning host Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, "Dancing with the Stars" is the hit series in which celebrities perform choreographed dance routines that are judged by renowned ballroom judge Len Goodman and dancer/choreographers Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba.

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