EXCLUSIVE: Why Mark Ballas said no to returning to 'Dancing With the Stars'
Dancing With the Stars fans are pretty bummed that dancer Mark Ballas won't be appearing on season 23, but ET has learned that Ballas has clinched an exciting new gig!
A source tells ET that the 30-year-old dancer is actually moving to New York City this month where he'll be living for a year, so that he can appear in a main role on Broadway's hit show Jersey Boys. The musical tells the behind-the-scenes story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, the band responsible for such classics as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Walk Like a Man."
Ballas hinted at his new career opportunity in a heartfelt, handwritten letter to his DWTS fans, which he posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
Here are the celebrity contestants for the upcoming "DWTS" season:
"I wanted to hand write this letter to personally thank each and every one of you for the support over the years," Ballas wrote. "I am incredibly moved and grateful for all your messages over the past 24 hours. I know many of you are concerned and curious. I want to wish my DWTS comrades luck this season."
"I'll miss competing and creating outside the box," he added. "However I am looking forward to this new chapter and venture that is beginning shortly. I will soon have news for you all on where you can find me, I hope to see many of you there."
Ballas started competing on season five of DWTS in 2007, and hasn't missed a season since. He's won the mirror ball trophy twice, once with figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi in season six, and again in season eight with gymnast Shawn Johnson.
The dancer is also no stranger to acting in musicals. He played the lead role in the musical Copacabana, and also had a role in the U.K. National Tour of Maria de Buenos Aires.
While DWTS fans will undoubtedly miss Ballas, plenty of popular pros will be back for the hit ABC show's upcoming season. Aside from Maksim Chmerkovskiy's big return, Cheryl Burke and Derek Hough are also back. Hough, who took the spring season of DWTS off after winning season 21 with partner Bindi Irwin, was originally set to play the lead in the Broadway revival of Singin' in the Rain, but unforeseen circumstances caused a delay in plans.
"I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason," Hough, 31, wrote on Instagram announcing his big return.
-- Additional reporting by Brendon Geoffrion