Texas-born Mark Ballas, Jr. showed a keen interest in dancing when, at a very young age, he and his parents, Corky and Shirley Ballas - two of the biggest names in dance instruction - moved to London, England, where he promptly began setting the stage for his future career. He joined the Italia Conti Academy of Dramatic Arts associate school at age four, where his training in acting, singing and dancing first began. At age 11, he earned a full time spot at the Academy, as well as a full scholarship to the college. Topping things off, he won performer of the year in his graduating year (2005). Ballas also squeezed in theater productions, playing the lead in the musical "Copa Cabana," as well as roles in "Maria de Buenos Aires" and "The Buddy Holly Musical" at the London Palladium. Interestingly, Ballas' dancing partner at the time, Julianne Hough - as well as her brother, Derek Hough - had both moved from America to England when they were children to live with Ballas and his parents who trained the siblings in all forms of dance. The threesome became close friends and would go on to work together on "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ).