“Dancing with the Stars” has crowned 22 celebs with the Mirror Ball Trophy since it debuted in 2005, but the winner each season doesn’t just come down to their talent. It’s also about the fancy footwork of their professional dance partners, who train and nurture the celebs, sometimes from the ground up. Because while some stars come with prior experience with choreography, others are learning their dance moves from scratch. Click through our photo gallery above to see who have been the best pros ever on “DWTS.”
There are unique challenges that some “DWTS” pros face. The reigning “Dancing with the Stars” champ, model Nyle DiMarco, won the Mirror Ball Trophy even though he was born completely deaf, so his pro partner Peta Murgatroyd deserves much credit for figuring out ways to hone his rhythm. Other contestants have had uncommon challenges, like amputees Amy Purdy (season 18) and Noah Galloway (season 20). They both made it to the finals thanks to the creative tutelage of their respective partners, Derek Hough and Sharna Burgess.
The pros are not just rewarded by taking home the “Dancing with the Stars” trophy. Sometimes they’re also feted by the Emmys in the race for Best Choreography. The show has been nominated 16 times in that category, winning twice: once for Derek Hough on his own (2013) and once for Derek with his sister Julianne Hough and Tessandra Chavez (2015).
When all these factors are taken together, who are the best pros in “Dancing with the Stars” history? Check out our gallery above and let us know if you agree with our rankings.