Bristol Palin and dance partner Mark Ballis are still hanging in there on week six of Dancing With the Stars. Much of the credit for bringing the non celebrity/teen advocate Palin out of her comfort zone and into the spotlight goes to pro dancer Ballis.
Palin was criticized heavily when it was announced she would be one of the celebrities on Season 11 DWTS. Lines were drawn along political and religious persuasions and one well know female TV talk show hostess made the comment, “Bristol Palin isn’t a celebrity. The only thing she is famous for being an unwed teenage mother”.
Much of the judges’ constructive criticism on Dancing with the Stars has centered on Palin’s lack of confidence and shyness on the dance floor. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told Palin.” I am waiting for you to break out of your shell”.
Watching Mark Ballas and Palin during the judging and afterwards being interviewed by Brooke Burke, one can get a sense of the patience and support given to Palin by Ballas.
Ballas holds Palin close, caressing her arm, back or shoulders as the usually bad news is given. He can be seen giving her a peck on the cheek when Team Ballin’ managed to avoid being eliminated in week five, after having the lowest scores from the judges for the week. During interviews he offers encouragement and optimism to his dance partner.
Ballas is a two time winner on Dancing with the Stars, capturing the mirror ball trophy during season 6 with Kristi Yamaguchi and season 8 with Shawn Johnson. Ballas joined the cast of DWTS in season 5 and partners have included Shannon Doherty, Melissa Joan Hart and Kim Kardashan.
When Ballas isn’t working on DWTS he is a performing singer / songwriter/musician donating much of his time to worthy causes including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Both Ballas and Mom Shirley recently participated in the Los Angeles Chapters “Out of Darkness” walk to raise awareness on the issue of suicide prevention.
Under Ballas tutelage Palin is learning about the world, becoming a celebrity, shedding her shyness, and maybe becoming a dancer. Will team Ballin’ win the mirror ball? Probably not , but it is fun watching their journey.