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Pro hoofer Maksim Chmerkovskiy quitting 'Dancing With the Stars'

Sep. 21, 2012 at 11:37 AM ET

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Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy danced his way into our hearts, but he's ready to move on. He will not return to "Dancing With the Stars" after his contract expires, his rep confirms to E! News. He has three cycles of the show (two after the all-stars season) left to compete.

"What else do I have to do there after 15 seasons?" he told the New York Post.. "It makes total sense. The audience can't expect for me to want to stick around, and the producers can't expect for me to want to stick around."

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"I loved doing it. But to be honest with you, at 32, I am at what-about-me time," he said.

Meaning? Acting, of course!

"I caught the bug, as they say," he said. "This is something I really want to do."

They're back! Celebrities from seasons past — including Bristol Palin, Gilles Marini and Pam Anderson — are returning for another shot at the coveted mirror ball trophy.

But fret not. We don't have to say goodbye to Maks on the dance floor quite yet. He and season 12 partner Kirstie Alley will be competing in the DWTS all-star season beginning on Monday.

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"We may have had a couple of weeks last time that we cruised on popularity or fan appeal or whatever," he said. "But I am not really sure that is going to work for us this time. I am not sure people are going to vote for us just because it is us."

We'll make sure to cast our votes.

"Dancing" fans, what do you think about the departure of ballroom's bad boy? Will you miss him? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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