Dancing With The Southlake Stars
Apr 19, 2018 03:57PM
● By Ashley Madonna
For their 26th season, Dancing with the Stars will bring out some of the country’s best athletes to compete for the beloved mirror-ball trophy. Big names like Winter Games’ favorite Adam Rippon, ex-figure skater Tonya Harding and NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will switch out their uniforms for sequin outfits that are sure to wow the judges. And with pros like Sharna Burgess, Witney Carson and returning champ Lindsay Arnold ready to guide them along the way, this season is sure to be a wild ride.
While Ukrainian-American professional dancer and Dance With Me owner Val Chmerkovskiy will not take the stage this time around, he does have his own impressive track record on the show. With two season wins, first with actress Rumer Willis on season 20 and then again with Olympic artistic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, Val knows what it takes to walk away with the beloved mirror-ball trophy. And this isn’t the first dance championship he won.
Val has had a wildly successful career, but he didn’t start out knowing he wanted to be a dancer. His older brother, Maksim, was already enrolled in dance class, so Val joined as well.
“Our parents couldn’t drive us to different places,” Val explains.
So he suited up and gave his all to dance. After continuing his studies and moving with his family to the states in 1994, Val made his way to the World Latin Dance Championship. And at the young age of 15, walked away as the winner. He was the first American to win the Italian-hosted competition.
“It was an awesome moment for a 15-year-old to experience,” Val says. “I associated the opportunity to dance with that feeling [of winning].”
Val knew he was starting to grow his dancing platform, especially after he joined the Dancing With The Stars cast alongside his brother. And after witnessing the show experience a great deal of success, he knew he wanted to give back.
“I felt this responsibility to not only promote dance but charity and the ability to make others happy,” Val says. “I look at it as a service that I am able to give and go. It’s a pleasure, an honor and a luxury.”
So Val started working with Pencils of Promise, for-purpose organization who works to build schools and provide quality educational programming to increase literacy rates in Ghana, Guatemala, Laos and Nicaragua. He now travels to raise money to build these schools and spread awareness of the organization’s efforts.
“It’s a responsibility that I have,” Val says. “It has been so inspiring and so fulfilling.”
Val and his family also have a number of Dance With Me locations spread throughout the country. While most of them are in his home state of New York, dance enthusiasts can find one right here in Southlake.
“It’s great that Southlake can embrace a bunch of these Yankees coming in,” Val laughs.
Dance With Me teaches everything from ballroom to Latin to contemporary dancing. And with privates, group classes and unique events, there's a lot going on at the Southlake studio. But every time you walk in, you’re sure to feel that warm spirit the family instills in each of their locations.
“We come from a tight-knit family and that’s part of our mantra in the studio,” Val explains. “We try to create that family environment.”
So whether you tune into the DWTS premiere on April 30 or try out a class in the Southlake Town Square studio, there are plenty of reasons to dance it out.