People

Cloris Leachman and Corky Ballas - Dancing With the Stars 2008

Cloris Leachman
PROFESSION:
Actress

BACKGROUND:
Actress Cloris Leachman’s storied career has been recognized with nine Emmys , a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award . She has the distinction of being the only woman to win eight Primetime Emmy Awards and one Daytime Emmy . Leachman has starred in a wide range of theater, television and motion picture projects, creating such indelible characters as Phyllis in the TV series Phyllis and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein, Nurse Diesel in High Anxiety, and Ruth Popper in The Last Picture Show (for which she won an Oscar and a BAFTA). In 2008 she has already completed three new films; The Women, American Cowslip and New York I Love You. She is in the process of writing her memoir and is currently touring the U.S. with her one-woman show CLORIS!

Corky Ballas
ACHIEVEMENTS:
7 time undefeated US International Latin Champion
1996 Open To The World International Latin Champion
2007 Pro Am Champion

STATS:
Style: Latin
Nationality: American
Based in: UK/Texas. In LA for the show.
Status: Retired from Competition

BACKGROUND:
Corky has been dancing since he was six years old. Growing up his father owned and operated one of the largest dance studios in the world. His mother was a famous Flamenco Dancer who appeared in films and studied alongside Carmen Amaya. His father owned the largest (64,000 sq ft) dance school in the world, with 125 teachers on the payroll. He later went on to invent The Weed Eater.

Corky only started training for International Latin Dancing when he was 22. Here he met his dance partner Shirley (Mark’s Mom) who also trained him and would eventually become his wife. Corky’s mentor didn’t believe it when he said he would become a World Champion. Later that year, he became the United States Pro/Am Champion and then went on to win the World Professional Championship from 1995 1997.

Together Corky and Shirley made up one of professional competitive Latin Dance’s most successful couples ever.

Corky has also produced over 60 videos on the subject of Latin Dancing, which has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide as well as produced the “Passion” DVDs.

Corky is known worldwide for his choreography, music editing, music creation, costume design and much more.

Maurice Greene and Cheryl Burke - Dancing With the Stars 2008

Maurice Greene
PROFESSION:
Olympic gold medalist

BACKGROUND:
The winner of two gold medals, in the 100m sprint and the 4x100m relay at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics, track star Maurice Greene was dubbed the “World’s Fastest Man” during his career. In addition to being the former world record holder in the 100m sprint, and winning multiple world championships, he also won silver and bronze medals at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. He is the current Indoor World Record holder in the 60m at 6.39 seconds.

Cheryl Burke
ACHIEVEMENTS:
2005 World Cup Professional Rising Star Latin Champion
U.K. Championships
4th in U.S. in the Under 21s

STATS:
Style: Latin
Nationality: American
Based in: Los Angeles
Status: Not Currently Competing

BACKGROUND:
Cheryl is the first two-time winner of Dancing with the Stars. Cheryl and her partner singer Drew Lachey stole the show on Season 2 and sensationally won the competition. Season 3, Cheryl was partnered with football legend Emmitt Smith, and together they won the competition. Season 4, Cheryl made it to the semi-finals with actor Ian Ziering, placing fourth. In Season 6, Cheryl and Cristian de la Fuente made it to third place, while in Season 5, Cheryl and Wayne Newton finished 10th.

Growing up in San Francisco, California, Cheryl came from a family who all loved to dance. At four years old, she began taking ballet lessons and performed throughout the Bay area until she was ten. It was at that time that she discovered that ballroom, “wasn’t just for old people” and decided to change her focus. She hung up her ballet shoes and began training in both standard and Latin. By the age of 13, Cheryl was traveling and competing throughout the world, later moving on to win several championships.

In the spring of 2008 Cheryl opened her first dance studio, the highly successful Cheryl Burke Dance, in San Francisco and has plans to open another studio this fall.

Rocco DiSpirito and Karina Smirnoff - Dancing With the Stars 2008

Rocco DiSpirito
PROFESSION:
Celebrity chef, author and reality TV star

BACKGROUND:
The James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef and author Rocco DiSpirito combines his world-class cooking with a passion for empowering home cooks. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Rocco opened the 3-star Union Pacific in New York City in 1997. In 2003 he launched Rocco’s for the reality series, The Restaurant. Rocco will next appear on the A&E series, Rocco Gets Real, beginning in October, along with its companion cookbook, Rocco Gets Real: Cook at Home Every Day.

Karina Smirnoff
ACHIEVEMENTS:
Five-time U.S. National Champion
World Trophy Champion
Asian Open Champion
Ranked second in the world

STATS:
Style: Latin
Nationality: Russian
Based in: New Jersey
Status: Not Currently Competing

BACKGROUND:
During Season 3, Karina partnered actor Mario Lopez into second place. Season 4, she partnered singer and actor Billy Ray Cyrus into fifth place. In Season 5 she partnered Floyd Mayweather into 9th place, and finished Season 6 with singer Mario in 5th place.

Born in the Ukraine, Karina came to the U.S. with her family at age 12. She began ballet lessons at the age of 5 before moving on to figure skating which she studied for an additional five years. At the age of nine, Karina was introduced to ballroom dancing and fell in love with it.

After high school Karina graduated from Fordham University with a law degree but put her academic studies on hold to pursue her ballroom dancing career in the United Kingdom.

She recently appeared on Hannah Montana with Billy Ray Cyrus.

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.

Toni Braxton and Alec Mazo - Dancing With the Stars 2008

Toni Braxton
PROFESSION:
R&B star and Broadway actress

BACKGROUND:
The winner of six Grammy Awards, Toni Braxton is a Billboard chart-topping singer and actress, selling over forty million records worldwide. Her U.S. number-one hit “Un-Break My Heart” is the second biggest single by a female artist in history. She has also appeared in two Disney Broadway shows: Beauty and the Beast and Aida. Dancing with the Stars marks her return to the spotlight after a six-month health hiatus.

Alec Mazo
ACHIEVEMENTS:
Emerald Ball Latin Amateur Champion
1st Place – 2001 International Grand Ball (San Francisco)
1st Place – 2001 Holiday Ball (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Six-time U.S. National Finalist

STATS:
Style: Latin
Nationality: American (originally from Russia came to the US aged 12)
Based in: Los Angeles
Status: Not Currently Competing

BACKGROUND:
Alec is the first professional champion of Dancing with the Stars, having partnered Kelly Monaco to first place in Season 1.

Alec has been dancing since he was five years old. Alec moved to America from Russia with his family when he was 12. His mother ran a dance studio, and today Alec runs two ballroom dance schools, one in San Francisco Bay Area and another in Los Angeles.

Alec and his partner Edyta only turned Professional in 2005, having been successful amateur Latin competitors for the previous five years. They were married September 1.

Alec has also studied acting at Playhouse West. He has appeared in the Vanessa Williams movie Dance With Me as well as numerous commercials. He has a BA in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley.

Kim Kardashian and Mark Ballas - Dancing With the Stars 2008

Kim Kardasian
PROFESSION:
Actress, model and reality television star

BACKGROUND:
Actress, model and reality television star, Kim Kardashian shot to stardom after the first airing of her hit E! reality series, Keeping up with the Kardashians. The series follows the exploits of Kim, her siblings, her mother Kris, and her stepfather, Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner. Kardashian recently completed her first feature film, Disaster Movie and will also be seen on The N’s series Beyond the Break.

Mark Ballas
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

STATS:
Style: Latin
Nationality: American
Based in: London, England
Status: Not Currently Competing

BACKGROUND:
After a stunning elimination in Season 5 with partner Sabrina Bryan, Mark partnered Kristi Yamaguchi to the championship in Season 6.

Mark was born in Houston, Texas to Corky and Shirley Ballas, two of the biggest names in dance. When he was very young, they moved to London, England where he began his performing career. He joined the Italia Conti Academy of Dramatic Arts Associate School at age 4, where his training in acting and singing/dancing began. At age 11, he earned a full-time spot at the Academy. He also earned a full scholarship to the college and won performer of the year in 2005.

Mark has also performed in theater. He played the lead in the musical Copa Cabana, as well as playing roles in Maria de Buenos Aires, The Buddy Holly Musical and at the London Palladium.

His dancing partner, Julianne Hough, and her brother Derek Hough moved to England when they were young and lived with Mark and his parents. There, they were trained by Mark’s parents, Corky and Shirley Ballas. They became close friends and still are to this day.

Mark’s biggest passion is his band “Almost Amy.” Together with his best friend and fellow dancer, Derek Hough, they write and perform all their original music. This season Mark’s father, Corky, is also on Dancing with the Stars.

Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer - Dancing With the Stars 2008

Lance Bass
PROFESSION:
Pop star

BACKGROUND:
Lance Bass has sold over 50 million records as a member of the phenomenally successful pop group *NSYNC. He also executive produced and starred in a number of film and television projects. In 2002 he successfully trained to be a cosmonaut at Russia’s Star City and was certified by both the Russian Space Program and NASA for a mission aboard a Soyuz capsule. Lance has also released his memoir, Out of Sync, for Simon Spotlight Entertainment.

Lacey Schwimmer
ACHIEVEMENTS:
2007 – 1st Place: World Swing Dance Championships
7 time US Open Swing Dance Champion
2007 – So You Think You Can Dance Finalist
2006 – 1st Place: US National Youth Latin Championships
2006 – Emerald Ball Youth Latin Champion

CELEBRITY PARTNER:
Lance Bass

STATS:
Style: Latin and West Coast Swing
Nationality: American
Based in: Studio City
Status: Not currently competing

BACKGROUND:
Lacey was born into a family of championship dancers and grew up in Moreno Valley, California. Her parents are Laurie Kauffman and noted West Coast Swing dancer, Buddy Schwimmer. She is the younger sister of Benji Schwimmer, winner of the second season of So You Think You Can Dance.

Although she began dancing at age 6, it wasn’t until she hit her teens that she realized that this was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She was chosen as one of the Top 20 contestants for season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance on FOX. Schwimmer has finished top at the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships and has won numerous U.S. titles.

Some of her appearances include Christina Aguilera’s pop video clip “Candyman” as a jitterbugger, a cameo appearance in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody in the episode, “Loosely Ballroom”, and Jon Chu and Adam Sevani’s Biggest Online Dance Battle against M&M.

Lacey danced at the MTV Movie Awards 2008 alongside Adam Sandler and was cast to dance in Adam Shankman’s upcoming film Bedtime Stories starring Adam Sandler. Currently Lacey is part of the iHollywood Dance faculty and is also teaching master classes in Norway. She is going to be judging the World Swing Championships in September 2008.

Brooke Burke and Derek Hough - Dancing With the Stars 2008

Brook Burke
PROFESSION:
Actress, host, entrepreneur

BACKGROUND:
A host, actress, entrepreneur and celebrity mom, Brooke Burke has truly done it all. She has graced numerous magazine covers, has her own top-selling swimsuit calendars, and is regularly ranked in men’s magazines as one of the sexiest women in the world. Recognized worldwide as host of the hit travel series Wild On!, Brooke has since hosted several high profile network series, including Rock Star: INXS and Rock Star: Supernova. On the acting front, she has guest-starred on such television series as Las Vegas, Less Than Perfect, Eve, It’s All Relative, The Bernie Mac Show, Monk, Rock Me Baby and That’s Life. Brooke is a mother of four and recently launched her own babystore BabooshBaby.com, a site where she shares her secrets (and some products she used) to get back in shape after giving birth.

Derek Hough
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

STATS:
Style: Latin
Nationality: American
Based in: London, England
Status: Not Currently Competing

BACKGROUND:
In Season 6, Derek and partner Shannon Elizabeth finished sixth, while in Season 5, Derek and partner Jennie Garth reached fifth place.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Derek has been dancing since he was 11 years old. He moved to London at the young age of 12 with his sister, Julianne, to live and train with his dance coaches, Shirley and Corky Ballas. While living in their house, he became best friends with their son, Mark Ballas, with whom he also started a band.

In addition to a successful dance career, Derek also performed on London’s West End and played the lead in Footloose. He tried to juggle dancing and theater, but found it to be too difficult. He recently took a break from competing to focus on acting and singing.

Derek is young, charismatic, and loves to entertain. He was one of the dancers on the first Dancing With the Stars Tour and is currently a choreographer on the BBC (UK) hit show, Dance X. He’s looking forward to bringing all of his creative visions to the Dancing with the Stars ballroom.

Jeff Ross
PROFESSION:
Comedian

BACKGROUND:
Comedian Jeffrey Ross a.k.a. the “Roastmaster General,” has delivered numerous show stopping performances at celebrity roasts honoring the likes of William Shatner, Hugh Hefner, Donald Trump, Pamela Anderson, Bob Saget and Emmitt Smith, inspiring New York Magazine to crown him The Meanest Man in Comedy. As a comic, Jeff has appeared on several late night and morning shows Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The View. Jeff’s other TV credits include Weeds and C.S.I. He has also appeared in such films as the Farrelley Brothers’ Stuck on You, and the critical sensation, The Aristocrats. Jeff’s comedy special, Jeffrey Ross: No Offense – Live From New Jersey, was shot in his home state before a live crowd in Atlantic City. It aired on Comedy Central in August and will be released on DVD in October. Jeff continues to tour regularly.

Edyta Sliwinska
ACHIEVEMENTS:
Emerald Ball Latin Amateur Champion
1st Place – 2001 International Grand Ball (San Francisco)
1st Place – 2001 Holiday Ball (Las Vegas, Nevada)

STATS:
Style: Latin
Nationality: Polish
Based in: Los Angeles
Status: Not Currently Competing

BACKGROUND:
Edyta most recently reached the finals with partner Jason Taylor in Season 6, finishing second. She partnered boxing champion Evander Holyfield in Season 1, where they came in 5th place. In Season 2 she and George Hamilton also came in 5th. During Season 3, she partnered actor Joey Lawrence and they came in 3rd place. Season 4, Edyta partnered actor John Ratzenberger into 6th place. She is the only professional dancer to appear in all seven seasons of Dancing with the Stars.

Edyta comes from a working class Polish background and has made many sacrifices to pursue her dream to become the world’s greatest Latin dancer. She misses her family greatly but feels she is on the road to stardom in the dancing world so the sacrifice is worth it.

Ted McGinley
PROFESSION:
Actor

BACKGROUND:
Ted McGinley’s extensive television credits include Married with Children, Hope & Faith, Happy Days, recurring roles on the critically-acclaimed series The West Wing, Sports Night, Charlie Lawrence, Dynasty, and The Love Boat. He has also starred in such films as Pearl Harbor, Daybreak, Dick, Major League: Back to the Minors, Wayne’s World 2, and the cult hit Revenge of the Nerds.

Inna Brayer
ACHIEVEMENTS:
2007 – Current US Amateur 10 Dance Champion

STATS:
Style: Latin
Nationality: Russian
Based in: Brooklyn
Status: Competes with partner Pavel Pashkov

BACKGROUND:
Born in Moscow and raised in America since the age of 2, Inna has been dancing since the age of 7. Her life has been a whirlwind of events from the very beginning, from travelling around the world to compete to practicing long hours on a daily basis.

Dancing was never just a hobby for her, but more of a lifestyle. Inna and her partner, Pavel, placed 11th at the World Championship in Tokyo, and placed 9th at the World Cup in Vancouver. The couple represented the U.S. at 6 world championships and are 3 time U.S. Amateur Champions. Taliat and Marina Tarsinov have been a major impact on their career together. They are still competing after 5 years, and are the current representatives to the worlds.

Pavel Pashkov & Inna Brayer started dancing together in 2003 as Youth Currently they are registered as a couple in USA. They dance in Amateur.

Now that drew has made it to the top 9 you must vote to keep him in the compition!! Vote for him as many times as you can,If you wan’t him to stay that is.Please don’t let him leave the show earlier than he should VOTE VOTE VOTE!