Mark Ballas and Lindsey Stirling are opening up about the key to their drama-free Dancing With the Stars partnership and how they “jam” together to shake off moments of frustration.
The pair invited ET’s Cameron Mathison to dance rehearsals this week, where they shared how a love of music has helped them stay focused on the competition.
“The good thing for us is we get along really well,” Ballas said. “We're both musicians as well, so if we're ever having a day where we're like, ‘This is frustrating,’ I usually have the guitar and she usually has the violin and we can jam together and forget about it for a minute. There have been moments where I get frustrated, there have been moments where she gets frustrated and instead of letting her go to that place of frustration, [I’m] like, ‘No, no, you got this.’”
“We’ve learned to read each other very well,” Stirling added, noting that the duo is “pretty chill” together. “I feel like we're very good at being supportive, but also giving enough space [and] just learning to read the person that you're working with.”
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While Ballas might be the dance pro, he said he was a fan of dancer and violinist Stirling prior to DWTS and welcomes her creativity as the pair work together on choreography. He also doesn’t let ego get in the way of continuing to learn.
“If you see some of Lindsey’s work she's done over the years, it’s very creative, very out-of-the-box,” Ballas said. “I've been a fan of what she's done for a long time, so her coming to this realm -- the two brains together just works and clicks. We push through [and] there's never tension. We just have a good time and dance and jam.”
“Just because you're a coach doesn't mean you can't stop learning yourself,” he added. “So even for me, I welcome new ideas and new ways of looking at things. As I've gotten older -- and also I'm married now -- [I have] a whole other perspective on everything.”
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Monday’s episode of the ABC competition series is the emotional "Most Memorable Year" night, and Ballas and Stirling -- who are currently on top of the leaderboard -- will dance a Viennese waltz in honor of Stirling’s father, who passed away from cancer earlier this year.
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold, who are second on the leaderboard, will perform a contemporary dance, while Vanessa Lachey and Maks Chmerkovskiy will rumba to “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)” by Vanessa’s husband and fellow contestant, Nick Lachey.
The dance will mark Maks’ return to the ballroom after missing last week’s show amid reported drama with Vanessa.
Speaking about dealing with stress in a dance partnership, Stirling said that having the same goal is vital to preventing drama from escalating.
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“If you have the same goal in any relationship, you can work through a lot,” Stirling said. “You can work through personality differences and whatever it is. We both have the same goal of, ‘I'm here to learn, he's here to teach, we're here to go out every Monday and do something awesome.’”
See more on Stirling in the video below.