Corky Ballas

Mark Alexander "Corky" Ballas, Sr. (born December 25, 1960) is a retired competitive ballroom dancer who holds several Latin dance championship titles. His son, Mark Ballas, is a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars. His father was George Ballas, who invented the Weed Eater lawn-trimming device.

Personal life

Ballas was born in Houston, Texas. He is the son of Maria (Marulanda) and George Ballas, the inventor of the Weed Eater lawn-trimming device. He has Mexican, Spanish and Greek ancestry.

He has one son, Mark Ballas, with former wife and partner Shirley Ballas. Corky and Shirley Ballas also raised and trained Julianne Hough and Derek Hough.

Corky now teaches dancing in San Antonio via his dancing studio, and his website. His plans for the future include more television performances as well as an online interactive dance instruction via hundreds of videos.


Corky and Shirley were 1996 Open to the World International Champions, 1995–1996 Open to the World British Champions, twice British National Champions, Star - World Cup - UK - Champions[clarification needed], and seven times undefeated United States International Latin Champions. They retired in 1996.

Ballas judges professional competitions and teaches. He is based in Los Angeles, California and Houston, Texas.

Dancing with the Stars

Ballas has trained many of Dancing with the Stars' professionals including Karina Smirnoff, Julianne Hough, Derek Hough, Tony Dovolani, Edyta Sliwinska, Alec Mazo, Brian Fortuna, Jonathan Roberts, Anna Trebunskaya, Jessie DeSoto and, his son, Mark Ballas.

On August 25, 2008, the show's producers announced Corky himself would compete as a pro on season 7, alongside his son and former pupils. He was partnered with 82-year-old actress Cloris Leachman.

For Season 11 Ballas was partnered with Florence Henderson. They were eliminated in Week 5 of the competition.