Maksim Chmerkovskiy Denied ‘Dancing with the Stars’ 10 Times Before Becoming a Pro; Here’s Why

Maksim Chmerkovskiy won’t be performing in season 31 of Dancing with the Stars, but the professional ballroom dancer recently opened up about his experience with the live competition series. Speaking with Allison Interviews, Chmerkovskiy admitted he turned down the opportunity to do DWTS 10 times before finally accepting the offer. Find out why. 

Debi Mazar performing with Maksim Chmerkovskiy on 'Dancing with the Stars'
Debi Mazar performing with Maksim Chmerkovskiy | Adam Larkey/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Maks left ‘DWTS’ in 2018 but still supports the show 

Chmerkovskiy started competing on Dancing with the Stars in season 2. His first partner was Tia Carrere. He performed with the show through season 15, then took a break. Chmerkovskiy returned for season 18, 21, 23 and 24.

Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars was his last. He left to be a father to his son Shai Aleksander, who he shares with DWTS pro Peta Murgatroyd.

However, just because he’s no longer a pro on the show doesn’t mean he doesn’t support it. “My wife [and] brother [are] on it,” Chmerkovskiy said. “My sister-in-law is on it.” His brother Val and his wife Jenna Johnson, who are expecting, are also pros in the Disney+ competition series. “I feel like I’ll be waiting until one of our kids is joining it, in like 20 years from now,” Chmerkovskiy joked. 

Why Maks Chmerkovskiy wasn’t in the first season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ 

DWTS reached out to Chmerkovskiy because he was the top dancer in the world at the time. When he got the call to do the show, he immediately hung up. “Dancing with the Stars started their first season, and I remember it was a pilot season during the summertime and the phone rang, ‘Hey, it’s Dancing with The Stars,'” he explained, adding: 

“I literally hung up right away. There were another 10 calls and I just kept hanging up.” 

Maksim Chmerkovskiy, ‘Allison Interviews’

At the time, he said the televised ballroom competition series was not part of his “plan,” nor was it what he wanted to do. “It was nothing to do with my future,” he added. “My future had to do with winning the world title.” 

He wasn’t looking for fame or financial gain; he just wanted that title. When the second season came around, Chmerkovskiy no longer had a partner and was looking for a reset. Another call came in from DWTS producers and he said: “Well, why not?” Chmerkovskiy only planned to do one season, but he ended up forging a new career path out of it. 

Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s ‘DWTS’ career isn’t over 

Chmerkovskiy might be focused on his son right now, but he hasn’t put the idea of returning to Dancing with the Stars completely out of his mind. “I’m in perfect health and I try to stay that way for whatever comes at me,” he added. “If Dancing with The Stars comes to me and says, ‘We want you as a pro, let’s go back to shake that tail feather one more time,’ I’m in.” 

In the meantime, Chmerkovskiy keeps busy with other projects. “I’m definitely shaking it in other ways and on other platforms,” he said. The Chmerkovskiy brothers own and operate Dance With Me, a studio that offers personalized dance instruction. Chmerkovskiy is also involved with Dance & Co., an online dance and fitness studio. 

When he’s not “shaking his tail feather,” Chmerkovskiy works closely with Baranova 27, the charitable organization his family started to benefit Ukraine after his arrest in the country earlier this year. Overall, though, Chmerkovskiy isn’t done with dance. He concluded: “I have not danced my last dance yet, let’s just put it that way.” 

Watch Dancing with the Stars Season 31 beginning Sept. 19, 2022 exclusively on Disney+. 

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