Many of the DWTS Professionals started with USA Dance. Under USA Dance, Adult Amateur Val Chmerkovskiy with his partner Daria Chesnokova won three United States International Latin titles. Here they are dancing in the 2010 USA Dance Nationals. Photo by Carson Zullinger.

‘Dancing With The Stars’ Making Dancers

By Rose-Ann Lynch
Managing Editor
Photos by Carson Zullinger
USA Dance President Interviewed by Parade Magazine

Recently, I read a fun Parade Magazine story about the television reality show ‘Dancing With The Stars’ (DWTS). The article — “‘Dancing With the Stars’ Transforms Celebrities Into Dance Champions! Here’s a Look Back at Every Winner, Including This Year’s Mirrorball Champ,” by Jeryl Brunner – can be found at:

The story, which includes quotes from USA Dance President Ken Richards, credits the 17-year show with making ballroom dancing a household topic of discussion in the United States. As of November 2022, the show has had 31 highly successful seasons, and is still going strong. It is true that DWTS has brought many people to the dance floor, and the dance community owes a lot to its popularity.

Mark Ballis and Julianne Hough were regulars on the USA Dance floor as Amateurs. Check out Carson’s article to learn some dance photography tips and to see who else was a USA Dance Amateur. Photo by Carson Zullinger

Included in the article is a listing, with photos, of the 17 season winners and their professional dance partners. Certainly, the show has offered a “second coming” for actors, athletes, performers, models, bachelorettes, and many more celebrity stars. It also offered a lot for many young talented dancers.

I wonder in writing the article, if Jeryl Brunner realized how connected DWTS really was to USA Dance. In July, American Dancer photographer extraordinaire Carson Zullinger wrote an article providing tips for photographing dancing: His article included beautiful photographs of past USA Dance Championships, and many of the dancers looked very familiar, including DWTS professionals Val Chmerkovskiy, Mark Ballis, Julianne Hough, Pasha Pashkov, Daniella Karagach, and Anna Demidova. They, and others, all started with USA Dance, as Amateurs.

If you are interested in a trip down DWTS memory lane, the Parade Magazine article will definitely make you smile. If you missed Carson’s Story, which includes more photographs “carouseling” at the conclusion of the piece, you should take a look. You will learn how to take better photos at competitions and might be surprised who else you see!  [As a side note: one of the photos is of an unidentified couple in pink and black. American Dancer will recognize the first person who identifies them for us. No guessing, you must be positive…now you have a challenge.]

So, what’s in the future? DWTS is still going strong, and celebrities keep learning how to ChaChaCha. As for the dancers? Perhaps one of these days we might see Alessandro Scalora & Madeleine Mravkarov, Christopher Affonso & Holly Hatleberg, Dennis Matveev & Anna Jonczyk, or one of our other talented young couples as the next set of professionals. Who knows!!! I guess we can only keep watching to see.

Parade Magazine article:

Carson Zullinger’s article:

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