Why Dancing's Maks Won't Be Back


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by Deborah Starr Seibel

Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Dancing with the Stars

This may break a million hearts, but Dancing with the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy says he won't be returning for Season 6 in March. "The 25 million viewers are going to remember me whether I'm there or not," says Chmerkovskiy, who hopes to return to professional ballroom competition and is busy over the holidays choreographing a New Year's Eve show at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Chmerkovskiy, 27, says he's had a great time over the past four seasons teaching celebrities like Spice Girl Mel B. and boxing champ Laila Ali how to dance. But he's impatient to become a student again himself. "Other dancers on this show have aspirations to become actors and singers and they lose focus of where they came from," says Maks. "The second you close that door and stop educating yourself? You stop developing."

Maks' continuing education, he says, will involve bringing to this country a fantastic Russian dancer "who I personally want to dance with," he says. "We're going to start practicing. I want to go back to my coaches, to learning."

The fact that so many viewers care about his future just underscores the fact that this was the year that the Dancing pros finally came into their own. In this fifth season, some of them — notably Maks, Cheryl Burke, Julianne Hough and Edyta Sliwinska — were more famous than some of the celebrities on the show's roster, including models Albert Reed and Josie Maran.

But Maks says that instead of falling in love with Hollywood and all its trappings, the celebrity spotlight turned him off. "This is a very lucrative world," he says. "And I spent some time here just looking around and going, 'Wow, this is an amazing house.' But I'm a very analytical person. And right away, I looked past the curtains and I saw the drugs and the difficult lifestyles and the failed marriages. And I saw absolutely no family values — and that is the most important thing."

Maks, who is single, is quick to point out that his last two partners — both married — are not included in that description. "It's really important to me to maintain the relationship after the show," he says. "With Laila, I love her. But it didn't work because she's a very private, very reserved person. But this season, with Mel, this is a person I'll be able to call any time and say, 'Hey, I'm in town. Let's have dinner.'"

Maks and Ali came in third in the competition. Maks and Mel B. were the runners-up. Has not crossing the finish line first been another source of frustration? "I don't think a woman can win this competition," says Maks. Why not? "Because women don't vote for other women." Then he surprises you with the last thing you'd think would come out of his self-assured mouth. "Women, in general, are better dancers than men," he says. "Except for Mario Lopez and Emmitt Smith, in every other season, there were women who should have won."

Regarding Mel B., Maks says the two developed an instant rapport. "From day one, you saw us on that [video] clip where I said, 'Ready… set… go.' And she said, 'No!' And we laughed from then on. I told her, 'You have to let it go. That control.' And she told me later, 'You're probably the first man that I can say, "I just met you and I totally gave up control."' And it's a really big deal when you're being moved around and spun around and jerked around. For a grown person to just be led, it's a big deal."

He may be walking away from Hollywood, but that's one memory Maks will be taking with him. "The fact that she allowed me to really teach her means a lot to me."

Larinda McRaven

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Staff member
"http://www.tvguide.com/news/dancing-stars-maks/071204-05 I don't think a woman can win this competition," says Maks. Why not? "Because women don't vote for other women." Then he surprises you with the last thing you'd think would come out of his self-assured mouth. "Women, in general, are better dancers than men," he says. "Except for Mario Lopez and Emmitt Smith, in every other season, there were women who should have won."
Perspective from the inside.
Perspective from the inside.
There's a pretty insightful article about Maks in Sept/Oct issue of Dance Notes in case anyone is interested. First impressions of Maks on DWTS gives view of a pretty big ego, but you've got to respect the values he has for dance and other issues. His dancing with Mel this season on DWTS was awesome. The kids that come out of his Rising Star Dance Academy are equally awesome. I'll miss seeing him in next season of DWTS.


Active Member
That wasn't just a matter of first impressions pruthe. From people I've talked to who actually know him, he actually has changed a lot in the time (2 years?) he's been on the show. And all for the better. I had the same impression of him when he was first on, but then about halfway through with Laila really started to change my opinion.

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
I have always held a slightly different impression of him than the 'big ego" thing. As with most people at the top of the industry there is a certain amount of apperances to keep up with. And everyone plays right into.

But when you are around you can always see glimpses of the other side, and that is what I try to make my opinions based on. For better or for worse than the public image! And I always though that underneath the public veneer Maks was a much more deep person than he was given credit for. I have always had very down to earth and grounded conversations with him.

I think the time on DWTS has given all of them the opportunity to see how public impressions can be so pervasive. It is one thing if the dance world holds an opinion of you that is not entirely accurate. It is another altogether when you realize the entire country is judging your personality in a way that you do not hold true to deep inside. And they all have had the chance to change in various ways to show who they really are.
... and now he wants to come back. HUH!


It's because of things like this that I dont like him much.
One thing he hasn't learned is how to package a consistent image of himself and project it to the public. I don't mean that as a criticism! He says what he thinks in the moment and is open to change that as circumstances and/or his feelings change--just like a real person! It's just that we don't expect celebrities to appear like real people--we've been trained by the media to expect a simplified, consistent abstract of a person.


Well-Known Member
I completely understand his ambivalence! He's got multiple great choices, each with advantages and disadvantages.

Does he want to maximize his dance education and competitive career at this stage in his life, when he's at his physical peak, and return home to the family and studio he loves?


Does he want to continue with DWTS, a show which has brought maximum visibility to the art/sport he loves, has provided amazing opportunities for him to showcase his star pupils, given him a large, devoted fanbase, and could open possibilities of interesting side gigs?

I wish him great happiness in whichever path he chooses.


P.S. The ego thing is clearly largely an act, played up for humor. I must say, I really got a good laugh out of
MEL B: Gawd!
MAKS: Just call me Maks.


Active Member
I know students at my parents studio just want to make sure he makes time to get back to their studio for another class and coachings, whatever he does. :)

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