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'Dancing With the Stars' pro Val: Maks and I aren't connected at the hip

Steffen Thalemann

"Dancing With the Stars" pro Val Chmerkovskiy.

"Dancing With the Stars" pro Val Chmerkovskiy will be blogging about his experiences and thoughts on his fourth quest for the mirror ball trophy in The Clicker throughout the season. The 14-time US champion in dance is paired with 16-year-old Disney star Zendaya, who plays Rocky Blue on "Shake It Up!"

Hi, everyone! Thank you for reading my second entry to this season’s blogging. I really appreciate the comments and the positive feedback, and I’m inspired to keep writing and keep thinking about my experiences with this season of “Dancing With the Stars.”

Everybody’s aware that this season, my brother, Maksim, is not on “Dancing With the Stars,” and I’ve been getting a lot of questions coming my way about what it would be like to have this experience for the first time without my brother, without somebody that obviously opened a lot of these doors for me and created these opportunities for me. To finally be doing it on my own, how is that going to feel?

My answer to that is: Obviously, it’s going to be different. One of – if not the most rewarding things about this experience for me was getting to do the show every day with my brother being there. I don’t think a lot siblings have been given this type of opportunity. Not many can say that they worked on such an incredible project, and not only work on that project, but they work on that project together, shared this humongous stage that is “Dancing With the Stars.”

And in terms of my family and my parents, I think that this was an incredible experience for them to see me and my brother be a part of. But at the same time, we’re not connected at the hip. We’re very different people.

It’s a funny dynamic that once I joined the show, it was, “Oh, there’s another brother. And it’s brothers brothers brothers brothers, Chmerkovskiy brothers.” It’s a title that I always took with great pride and the joy on my face when I was referred to as, “So, you’re Maks’ brother, right?” -- it was genuine and sincere and it was incredible. But to touch on that just a little bit, I’ve been on this show for four seasons already – this is my fourth season. If you’re a fan of the show, that means you watch the show, you’ve seen who’s on the show, and you’ve heard them being introduced by their names. So when you approach an adult, it doesn’t matter who he’s related to. I think in general, it’s common courtesy to approach them and refer to him by his name before you mention any sort of family relationships that he may have also on the show. I thought it was completely OK, “Hey! You’re Maks’ brother!” But four seasons later, I’m first and foremost Valentin, aka Val. I’ve earned to be referred to as my name, and obviously, I carry the “brother” title with a lot of pride.

Maks is such a dominating force and in general somebody that really has a massive amount of presence. But the first season that I came on the show, there was absolutely nothing that I offered to the show other than being Maks’ little brother. I got eliminated quite early, then I realized this is definitely not something that I ever saw happening. I definitely didn’t live up to my own expectations, forget everybody else’s expectations for me. At that moment, I realized, “Look, you’re here. You chose to do this. Nobody said it was going to be easy. These are the cards that you’re dealt.” And I said, “All right, cool. I’m going to dance and make sure I dance in every results show and every pro number there was. If I wasn’t able to shine as a personality, I’m most certainly going to expose my dancing and shine as a dancer.” So I think I did that.

Obviously, it’s going to be different to not have Maks on set and to not have him to bounce ideas off. It’s different but at the same time, we live together, we see each other and we communicate all the time.

He’s still going to offer his advice, and already has. Nothing’s changing in that sense. In terms of “Dancing With the Stars,” last season we found completely different ways and different interpretations on things and different techniques when it comes to teaching and performing – so yeah, it’s different.

One of the things that came out of last season that I was really happy about was, I think for the first time on the show, I was able to create my own lane. Maks had his own lane, and he and Kirstie and that dynamic allowed him to shine in his own way. And me and Kelly’s dynamic allowed me to develop my own personality and show America that I’m my own person with similar outtakes on things, maybe, but a completely different delivery and am a completely different person, really.

Yeah, I miss him. But at the same time, I’m excited for him. I’m very grateful to “Dancing With the Stars” for letting him go pursue other opportunities. This is not the end of his relationship with DWTS, by no means. But I'm glad he's letting someone else shine this season!

"Dancing With the Stars" premieres March 18 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Will you miss seeing both brothers on the show together? Tell us on our Facebook page!

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