-By Veronica Dudo
Mark Ballas and Cheryl Burke hosted a pool party at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City over the weekend of June 25-26. The pair mingled with fans and rested in cabanas at The Pool After Dark nightclub. The professional dancers are currently on hiatus from the hit reality TV competition Dancing with the Stars and are touring for the summer as they concentrate on their own projects.
The pro dancing pals both started out in the industry very young and have captured the hearts of many. 25 year old Ballas moved to London at a young age to begin his performing career. In the fall of 2007, he debuted as a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars. He also recently released a music record and has been spotted with American Idol contestant Pia Toscano!
Dancing since the age of four, Burke holds several championship titles. With over 18 years of dancing experience, the 26 year old has opened several dance studios and continues to develop new business ventures.
The energetic duo spoke with me about their upcoming projects, what it’s like working on Dancing with the Stars, bringing back ballroom dancing and their love lives!
What projects are you working on this summer?
MB: What a lot of people don’t know is I went to music school for a long time and I’ve been playing music since I was 10 years old and I just had a solo record come out. It’s a singer/songwriter kind of pop-rock record. I wrote the whole thing myself, its on iTunes it’s called “Hurt Love Box” so I’m going to be playing lots of shows in the summer and just doing a lot of music stuff.
CB: I have my shoe line coming out on Home Shopping Network July 5 that we’ve been preparing for, for the last year. They’re for women that always have problems wearing heels because their back hurts it’s supposed to be as comfortable as a dance shoe. The product in the shoe, the actual sole of the shoe is formatted differently than normal. I have a clothing line as well–a fitness line. I’m developing it right now and it’s coming out in July and it’s going to be through Jazzercise as of right now but we’ll be in different boutiques as well.
You appear very close with your Dancing with the Stars fellow cast mates do you have a special bond?
MB: Yeah, a lot of us are really close.
CB: Absolutely! We’ve gone through this whole journey together; it’s been ups and downs but you know what, we’ve become so close and we’re here and we’ve known each other since before the show started so we’re really in it together.
How has Dancing with the Stars impacted the world of ballroom dancing?
MB: I think it’s been revitalized. It was really big back in the day, you know Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly kind of thing and then it kind of died out for a minute; I think people kind of forgot about it and I think it’s been a pleasure and an honor for all of us, myself and Cheryl and all the other pros to be a part of a show that’s kind of brought it back to life because it’s fun, it’s a great workout, it’s a great way to get in shape and it’s also good for the soul and it keeps you revitalized so it’s been an honor to be a part of this show.
When you’re on hiatus from Dancing with the Stars are you able to relax?
CB: It’s the opposite. We work year round because we all have other things that we’re doing individually and that’s the only time to do it, is on our hiatus and we do two seasons a year so it gets pretty crazy traveling a lot but we got to strike while the iron’s hot right now so we’re trying to do that.
Mark, are you and Pia Toscano officially an item?
MB: We’re good. We’re good, I’ll give you that! (Laughs)
Anyone special in your life right now Cheryl?
CB: I am single (laughs) a single girl.
MB: She’s single and she’s ready to mingle!
BUZZ @ THE BEACH
Over the Fourth of July weekend, Borgata welcomes R&B and funk band Earth Wind & Fire, rock guitarist Nils Lofgren, and comedian Dennis Leary and friends. Paul Rodgers of Bad Company will be at the Hilton. The Atlantic City Summer Fest-4th of July Hip Hop Bash debuts with a line-up including Rick Ross, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, Meek Millz, B Stacks, Beanie Sigel and State Property. Erykah Badu will perform at the House of Blues while Jamie Foxx appears at Caesars for Foxxhole Comedy Jam featuring Earthquake, Charlie Murphy, Aries Spears and Tony Roberts. Sade with special guest John Legend has a concert at Trump Taj Mahal. A Capella group Straight No Chaser headlines at Harrah’s. Resorts Casino showcases Engelbert Humperdinck and The Duprees have an engagement at Trump Plaza.