What's Louis Van Amstel From 'Dancing With The Stars' Been Up To? He's Still Very Active In The Dance World

Lovers of dance have a reason to rejoice: Louis van Amstel makes a triumphant return to Dancing With the Stars this season. He will partner with Paula Deen, who will almost certainly make him wish he had retired for good. (Kidding!) The 43-year-old pro, who danced with celebs like Kelly Osbourne, Priscilla Presley, and Kendra Wilkinson, took a five-season hiatus from the show after not being asked back for Season 16 — rumor has it the reason may have been because van Amstel was too short to pair up with the female contestants, but DWTS never commented on whether that was true. Regardless, many fans are happy to see him return for Season 21, which is shaping up to be a whopper of a show, thanks to interesting celeb guests like Nick Carter, Chaka Khan, and yes, Deen.

Some folks may be wondering what van Amstel has been doing with his time these past few years and what experiences he'll bring with him to the stage. I should start off by saying that the dancer never actually left DWTS — the show has been in his heart, on his radar, and the subject of his blog on LaBlast Fitness since his temporary departure. Because of that, his return is going to be an effortless and (I hope) happy one.

With all that said, here's what van Amstel has been up to:

He Has Expanded LaBlast Fitness

After dancing with Lisa Rinna, van Amstel and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' star teamed up to offer LaBlast dance fitness classes in Los Angeles. He has since expanded LaBlast and now offers workout CDs and training retreats and sells apparel like t-shirts and workout gear.

He Has Been Reviewing DWTS

Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Who better to offer an honest perspective on DWTS and his former cast mates than someone who was actually part of the show? Van Amstel didn't hold anything back when reviewing Derek Hough, Artem, and company on his website — and it was refreshing to discover how often he actually disagreed with the judges' decisions. You may assume he went overboard with his criticism because, perhaps, he was angry about not being asked back on the show, but van Amstel addressed that point and set the record straight:

Btw, some of you think I’m bitter about not being on this season and therefor I keep bringing up the rules! News flash; I’m not bitter, but I do want to make it very clear I did NOT make those rules! All pros are given an agreement at the beginning of the season with all the rules stated. It’s not fair that some couples get away with them and others don’t. I’m trying to educate you guys, so you understand what those rules are. Of course, if I write critical comments about your favorite then suddenly I’m bitter or I don’t understand what I’m talking about. It’s funny, because when I write positively about the same couple, than suddenly I’m the best. Haha….As I have said many times, I’m writing about what I see from a professional dancer’s POV and from a POV of having been on the show many times.

He Taught Ballroom Dancing

Not only is van Amstel running a company that allows amateur dancers (and non-dancers alike) to learn basic moves and get in shape, he also used his time by teaching ballroom dancing to dance teachers, who can then turn around and offer their students salsa, jive, cha cha, and quickstep lessons. You gotta love a guy who gives back.

He Traveled

From New York City and Toronto to Indiana and Mexico, van Amstel enjoyed his free time by racking up frequent flier miles — mostly in conjunction with an LaBlast retreat or training event. Expect to see a relaxed, stress-free van Amstel on the show who is in the zone and ready to take on his competition.

He Enjoyed Good Food

Every other photo on van Amstel's Instagram is of a delicious meal that he has either made or enjoyed while dining out. I have a feeling a rich dessert like this lets us know that he and the Butter Queen (aka Deen) will get along swimmingly.

He Wore Sequins While Bowling

Is there anything better than this video of van Amstel bowling (totally not a strike, but still) in the dark while wearing a sequin shirt? The man knows how to make an entrance, exit, and an appearance. And it's OK that his ball sank right into the gutter because how many people can kill it while cha-cha-ing?

To sum it up: Sure, van Amstel has been enjoying his share of good food and fun, but he has never strayed too far from DWTS. Between his commitment to LaBlast and teaching and maintaining his connection with former co-stars, he will, once again, prove a natural as Deen's partner on the show.