Dancing With the Stars viewers were surprised when they tuned in last week and learned that dance pro Mark Ballas would be sitting out that night’s performance due to a back injury. Mark has had some tests performed since then and we’ve all been eagerly awaiting news about whether or not he will be rejoining his partner, UFC fighter Paige VanZant, on the dance floor this week. E! Online is reporting that Ballas told them on Friday that he hasn’t made a firm decision on that at this point, but that he has been participating in rehearsals with the help of Alan Bersten.
Mark said that the doctors gave him good news, but he is still being cautious.
“They cleared me. There’s no fracture, thank god, but there is something other things going on that we’re just being careful of.”
The injury happened when Ballas felt a pinch in his back. He commented as soon as it happened.
“I think I just slipped a disc. My back just pinched funny. I’m hurting.”
It was the night before Mark was supposed to perform live on Dancing With the Stars and both he and Paige panicked. Choosing to be extra cautious in order to avoid making his injury worse, Ballas sat out last week. Luckily, Alan Bersten was able to step in and dance with Paige, but the pair was able to practice together for only a couple of hours before performing live.
“Allan stepped up and learned the routine very quickly. We had to change a lot of things, which was scary for me…everything was up in the air…I’m really happy I got to go out there and perform.”
When showtime arrived, Mark Ballas watched as VanZant performed with Bersten. Despite all the last minute changes and her nerves, VanZant’s salsa went off without a hitch and even earned high praise from Dancing With the Stars judge Len Goodman who called it the “best dance so far on season 22.” They earned a score of 24/30, one of the highest of the night.
Mark watched the pair and was as relieved as they were that their performance went so well. He commented about his physical status at the time.
“I had the MRI today, we’re going to get the results later on, and tomorrow they want me to have a bone scan and a CT scan, just to be safe. We’re going to get everything smoothed out, but I’m hopeful I’ll be back.”
While it’s great news that Ballas’s doctors have cleared him to dance, he is still hesitant to fully participate in rehearsals at this point, as he doesn’t want to make anything worse in his back. So Mark has been participating in rehearsals for tonight’s Dancing With the Stars broadcast, but with precautions. Alan Bernsten has been in rehearsals as well. Ballas describes their rehearsal method as “tag-teaming.”
“I’ve been shadowing and figuring it out as we go…I’m getting in there, but I’m not doing it 100 yet.”
Will Mark show up on tonight’s live broadcast of Dancing With the Stars? We probably won’t know until we tune in to ABC at 8 p.m. ET tonight. We’ll cross our fingers that he does.
Mark Ballas is 29-years-old. Although most of us know Mark as a Dancing With the Stars dancer, he is also a choreographer, singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. Ballas’s time on DWTS began in 2007. He was nominated for an Outstanding Choreography Primetime Emmy for some of his choreography on Dancing With the Stars in 2011. Bristol Palin was Mark’s dance partner that year. Ballas released his debut single “Get My Name” in May 2014. It landed at No. 24 on the iTunes pop chart according to Mark’s website.
Check out Mark Ballas’s first dance performance with Paige VanZant below.
[Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]