"Dancing With the Stars," Mark Ballas
Credit: ©Disney+/Courtesy Everett Colle

With the news he’s retiring from DWTS after 20 seasons and three wins, fans are left with one question: Why is Mark Ballas leaving Dancing With the Stars?

Ballas was a professional dancer on Dancing With the Stars from seasons 5 to 22, and seasons 25 and 31. He won the series’ Mirrorball Trophy three times: season 6 with Olympic figure skater Kristie Yamaguchi; season 8 with Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson; and season 31 with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio. Ballas also came in second place three times on Dancing With the Stars: season 14 with opera singer Katherine Jenkins; season 19 with Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson; season 22 with mixed martial artist Paige VanZant; and season 25 with violinist Lindsey Stirling. He came in third place three times: season 11 with political figure Bristol Palin; season 12 with former Disney Channel star Chelsea Kane; and season 18 with Full House actor Candace Cameron Bure.

After 20 seasons, Ballas announced he was leaving Dancing With the Stars at the show’s final date for season 31 at the Palm Casino Resort’s Pearl Concert Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 13, 2023. “I started this journey when I was 21, 22. Honestly, being able to dance and perform for you fans, you guys are the best fans. Thank you,” Ballas said in a video recorded by a fan, noting that his parents, in-laws and wife, BC Jean, were in the audience for the DWTS tour’s final date. “So, I just wanna finish by saying this will be the last time you see me dance in this capacity. I’m coming to a close tonight. This is gonna be my last dance.”

Ballas announced the news while on stage with D’Amelio, his season 31 partner whom he won his third and last Mirrorball Trophy with in November 2022. “I had the best time ever this season, and this freestyle was just a great way to finish it off. This song means the world to me, Charli means the world to me, the D’Amelio family, you guys mean the world to me. Thank you for everything,” Ballas said. “I’m not saying this is the end, [but] this is the last time I will be dancing with a [celebrity] partner. And I wanted to finish this with Charli, and I appreciate you guys so much. I wanna do this freestyle for you one more time. Thank you for everything, I appreciate it.”

So why is Mark Ballas leaving Dancing With the Stars? Read on for what we know about why Mark Ballas is leaving Dancing With the Stars and the real reason he’s quitting as a professional dancer on DWTS.

"Dancing With the Stars," Mark Ballas

Why is Mark Ballas leaving Dancing With the Stars?

Why is Mark Ballas leaving Dancing With the Stars? In an Instagram post after his Dancing With the Stars season 31 win with Charli D’Amelio, Ballas revealed that he was “leaning towards saying no” to joining season 31 after five seasons off of the show. “I was extremely hesitant about joining this season & was leaning towards saying no as I felt this chapter of my life had come to a close. After receiving the offer & thinking about it a while, for some strange reason I took the leap & said yes,” he wrote. “After 5 years of not creating in this arena the ideas started flooding out quite quickly, then I had my first meet w/ @charlidamelio. As shy & timid as she was for those first few weeks, I knew there was something extremely special in there, which became even more apparent after our first performance.”

He continued, “Over the following weeks we built a bond, friendship & trust that was unique & unbreakable. Charli.. you are truly one in a million, a total diamond 💎 the thing that impressed me most about you aside from your natural talent & gift was your STELLAR attitude, you worked so hard, put in extra hours, were never on your phone in rehearsal go mode & had total trust in me and all my wild ideas. Not once did you question me, whenever I ran an idea by you or asked you which direction, song, costume or move you liked, you would always say ‘I trust you so… whatever you think will work best’”

Ballas also commended D’Amelio on she treated his family and fans at Dancing with the Stars live shows. “You were so kind & polite to my wife & family & would make sure you got pictures with every single child & person that wanted one after the Monday night live shows,” he wrote. “I will miss our daily car rides to and from practice, hittin up the McDonald’s drive through, Introducing you to Brittish Grime & 90s Alt music (you’re welcome by the way) & the many laughs we shared.”

He concluded, “We always had fun but also knew when to focus & I don’t think I heard you complain once, even when your feet were literally bleeding. We created a body of work that I will always be proud of & to say that I’m proud of you is an understatement. Enjoy this moment with your whole heart because you deserve this Char. I feel honored & privileged to have been your coach, partner, friend & big brother.”

Ballas also hinted at his retirement from Dancing With the Stars in an interview with Us Weekly in November 2022 after his win on season 31. “I don’t know [if I’m coming back],” he said. “You know the older I get, I try to stay very present in the moment, you know, and I think that was like a big part of creating these dances.” He continued, “Every week I put, I tried to put every aspect of creativity, care, musicality, nuance into each one. I think you can only do that by staying totally in the moment of each time. So, right now I’m in this moment with Charli and … my body couldn’t even fathom a thought of doing this [in] six months, so I’ll let you know down the line.”

Ballas left Dancing With the Stars for the first time after season 22 in 2016. In an Instagram post at the time, Ballas explained that he was leaving Dancing With the Stars temporarily because of a new project. That same month, Ballas announced that he would play Frankie Valli in the Broadway cast on Jersey Boys. 

“I wanted to hand write this letter to personally thank each and every one of you for the support over the years. I am incredibly moved and grateful for all of your messages over the past 24 hours,” he wrote. “I know many of you are concerned and curious. I want to wish my DWTS comrades luck this season. I’ll miss competing and creating outside the box.” He continued, “However, I am looking forward to this new chapter and venture that is beginning shortly. I will soon have news for you all where to find me. I hope to see many of you there.” The Texas native concluded: “I love you all so much and couldn’t be more grateful for your loyalty and support. You mean the world to me.”

While it’s unclear if Ballas is leaving Dancing With the Stars for a new project in 2023, he is a member of the band, Alexander Jean, with his wife, BC Jean. The duo, which debuted in 2015, released their most recent single, “God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen,” in 2020. Ballas also has a long career on stage. Along with Broadway’s Jersey Boys, he also starred as Charli Prince in Broadway’s Kinky Boots in 2018, as well as Teen Angel in Toronto’s revival of Grease in 2018.

Ballas has also been injured several times on Dancing With the Stars. One of his most significant injuries was in season 18 when he suffered a shoulder injury after he fell to the floor while rehearsing a freestyle dance with his partner Candace Cameron Bure. “I’m not sure exactly what happened but I think it kind of came out and went back in,” said Derek Hough, who was a professional dancer at the time, told ABC News. “What makes me nervous a little bit is that he’s had a serious shoulder surgery before, on the other shoulder.” Ballas was treated at a hospital and was released with his arm in a sling. Ballas suffered another injury to his back in season 22 in 2016. “He injured his back at camera blocking rehearsal on Sunday,” a source told People at the time. “It’s an old injury that he aggravated. It’s up in the air if he’ll be able to perform tonight.”

Dancing With the Stars is available to stream on Disney Plus.

For more on primetime shows, check out our photo gallery on the best nighttime soaps ranked