There will be a familiar face missing from the ballroom when “Dancing With the Stars” returns for Season 23. When the 2016 cast was revealed Tuesday on “Good Morning America,” Mark Ballas’ name was missing from the roster.
Even though Mark had teased that he wanted Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez as his partner, the ballroom dancer won’t be lacing up his dancing shoes this season on the ABC series. (Hernandez will be dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy).
On Wednesday, Mark took to Twitter to explain his absence sharing a hand-written note that said he would be instead focusing on other projects he has lined up.
“I wanted to hand write this letter to personally thank each + every one of you for the support over the years. I am incredibly moved + grateful for all of your messages over the past 24 hours I know many of you are concerned + curious,” he wrote. “I want to wish my DWTS comrades luck this season. I’ll miss competing + creating outside the Box, however I am looking forward to this new chapter + venture that is beginning shortly. I will soon have news for all on where you can fine me, I hope to see many of you there.”
He continued: “I Love you all so much + couldn’t be more grateful for your loyalty + support. You mean the world to me. See you soon…….”
Mark isn’t the only pro stepping away from the ABC show. Tony Dovolani revealed in an Instagram post last week that he wasn’t returning for Season 23 and would spend his time away “traveling” across the country to meet fans, spending time with his family and working on his foundation. “After 21 consecutive seasons on DWTS, I consider them my second family and I look forward to watching all of my friends and family dance their hearts out this season,” he posted. It’s not clear if Tony and Mark plan on returning to “Dancing With the Stars” for future seasons.
During the cast reveal it was announced that Cheryl Burke was returning. She’s partnered with Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. In a lengthy Instagram message, Cheryl told fans that while she was in Japan working on her show “Love on the Floor,” she realized how much she missed being on “Dancing With the Stars.”
“I’ve become inspired again and have a renewed love of dance, all genres of dance,” she said. “I owe a lot of credit to the dancers on LOTF and to my creative partners Paul Morente and Jeri Slaughter for reviving that within me. Dance has always been my passion and while in Japan, I realized that I wasn’t ready to close the door with DWTS, that I still had a lot of performing and creating left to do.”
“Dancing With the Stars” returns for Season 23 on Sept. 12 at at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.