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'Dancing With the Stars' pro Val Chmerkovskiy: Apartment fire didn't impact my performance

Oct. 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM ET

“Dancing With the Stars” pro Valentin Chmerkovskiy is blogging about his experiences and thoughts on his fifth quest for the mirror ball trophy on TODAY.com throughout the season. The 14-time US champion in dance is paired with former “Saved by the Bell” star Elizabeth Berkley.

I came home from rehearsal Sunday night and my building was on fire. It’s the place where I live when I’m in L.A. for the show. I thought my roommate had caused it so I was really nervous at first. But thank God it was not our fault. There was an electrical malfunction downstairs and something exploded. It combusted and the back end of the building caught on fire. There was smoke damage, but all my stuff is OK. 

I do have some treasured material items from my dancing career, but all that stuff is back in New York. I stay here and I love it here, but I live in New York. That’s where all my important things are. I wasn’t tripping on that possibility anyway. What matters is that everybody is safe and nobody was hurt. 

Honestly, I don’t think that there’s anything in my apartment in terms of material stuff that I would have cared about if it had been lost. I’m actually already back in the apartment. They investigated what happened. They cleaned up all day so I could go back home after the show on Monday night. The fire didn’t really affect my performance. I wouldn’t let it. Dancing is my escape from everything else. It’s why I do what I do. I love dancing. It takes me to a different place. Nothing bothers my performance. 

I loved incorporating the violin into our Argentine tango. I’m very proud of Elizabeth. She did a great job considering how much stress I put her under this week. I hope it was worth it to her.

My bigger goal when I’m on the show is making sure my relationship with my dance partner is a positive one. Last season, it wasn’t about my eyebrow (after I was accidentally hit there), it was about Zendaya’s performance. This year, it’s not about my apartment building catching on fire. It’s about Elizabeth’s performance. 

I thought Julianne Hough did a great job as a guest judge. As I said in my last blog, I think my brother (Maks Chmerkovskiy) would be a great judge too. He’s a professional through and through. He’s an incredible person and is very passionate about his craft. He’d never let any sort of outside relationships or history get in the way of his integrity. He has no agendas against anyone here. My brother’s one of the nicest dudes you’re ever going to meet.

Valerie Harper was voted off this week and I’ll miss her being on the show, but I don’t intend to miss her in my life. I want to see her and have lunch with her. It’s not the end of our friendship. I truly believe she became my friend on the show. I’ll miss her genuine enthusiasm for being here and how she’s in love with everyone on the set. She brought people together. She was that magnet. The best thing about being on this show isn’t the fame, money or opportunities. It’s about the people that you meet here and how your relationships with them change your life.

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