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'Dancing With the Stars' pro Val Chmerkovskiy: 'I'm very grateful' to dance next to Maks

Steffen Thalemann / Today
"Dancing With the Stars" pro Val Chmerkovskiy.

"Dancing With the Stars" pro Valentin 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!"

This week, Zendaya and I are very privileged to have my brother Maks and Anna Trebunskaya joining us in our Argentine tango. It’s really exciting. The number is great, the dance is really strong, really passionate.

On a personal level, it’s huge ... I’m very grateful for the opportunity to perform side-by-side with my brother, just simply for all our fans and my family, particularly. I had a conversation with my grandma Thursday and she was just ecstatic that she’s gonna get to see Maks and I dance together. 

But the most important thing is Zendaya and her dance, making sure that we don’t sidetrack into something that’s not as important. The goal is to make sure Zendaya looks great, and that’s why I feel really lucky to have Maks and Anna join us because they really helped out with this number.

The truth is I never danced the Argentine tango before in my life. It’s a dance that I’m familiar with, I’m a big fan of, but when it comes to ... maybe teaching it, I’ve never done that. At the same time, I’ve never done contemporary before either, and that was quite successful for me.

Argentine tango, yes, traditionally it’s something that’s very passionate toward the relationship between a man and a woman. But that’s traditionally. We have a song that has a different energy about it, so that allows us to still be passionate, still have the strength and the attitude of an Argentine tango, still have proper technique. But we’re passionate about a completely different topic. There’s going to be a theme to the dance, and I don’t want to reveal before you watch it and that will all make sense as to why there is aggression, why there is passion, why there is a struggle. It’s going to be great, but it doesn’t always have to be about love. Even love has very different angles. We celebrate the love for dance!

This dance has been a lot – a lot – more challenging than any other dance we’ve done this season. The most challenging part of it is the speed, the precision, the intricate footwork. The technique of the dance is like no other. The posture is like no other. The frame, the lead ... so that’s been challenging. The choreography, most importantly, is very, very challenging. I don’t know if it’s going  to be noticed by the judges, but most certainly I know that the fans are really going to appreciate.

The dance turned out amazing so far. We took huge risks this week with tricks and choreography. And obviously, there’s a moment in the dance where we’re dancing side-by-side, which is a huge risk because no matter how talented Zendaya is or I am as a teacher, Anna is a professional ballroom dancer. That’s what she does, better than most people. That comparison’s going to be interesting. You don’t have to be the best dancer to be a great performer, and that’s what I really want to showcase in Zendaya this week. I think this tango’s going to do that better than any other dance we’ve done this season.

I think the side-by-side challenge is great.  It shows how committed production is to our fans and the viewers. A number danced by one person will never – no matter how incredible it is – will never have the same power and or impact as a group of four people. It’s just the collection of energy that really speaks to the audience and has the opportunity to create a lot more dynamic because there’s more people. It’s going to look cool.

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