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Dancing with the Stars’ Val Chmerkovskiy talks ‘Sway’ production (Includes interview)

Last month, Val won the 10th anniversary season of the Dancing with the Stars competition with his celebrity partner, actress Rumer Willis. “That was amazing,” he said. “I had a few partners in the past that I felt I could have won with, had I done a few things differently, but everything happens for a reason. I feel like it was truly meant to be now with Rumer, and I feel very lucky to have been her partner. When I met her, I knew that I had a gem in my hands, and I was very driven to do her and her talent justice. I am very happy that the world got to see what I saw and what I got to witness every single day. I am just glad that she got a mirror ball trophy to show for it now,” he said.

Regarding the “Sway” shows at the Hammerstein, he said, “There will be a lot of incredible dancing and performing. Rumer is going to be performing and singing there, so that’s cool. It’s a bit different from “Dancing with the Stars.’ There is such a camaraderie and a family environment with everybody involved, and it is so transparent on stage. When we come out, the energy for our hour and a half show, is immense, and it is a loving, family environment. That is a very important key element for the success of ‘Sway.'”

He will be sharing the stage with his brother, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, as well as Tony Dovolani, and he had nothing but kind words for both dancers. “Tony is like my older, older brother,” he said. “Tony is a sweetheart, and when he comes to the profession, he is fair and does a great job setting an example. With ‘Sway,’ it involves three teams that come together and obviously, there is no competitive nature between them.”

Val added, “My section is more modern than Tony’s. Mine is youthful, aggressive and hip-hop influenced, while Makim’s set is the ‘Latin Lover’ and passionate section. They are three very different sections and they capture very different aspects of ballroom dancing and I am very excited about that. I take pride in the diverse upbringing that I have had. I was born in Europe and it has a different energy than Brooklyn, New York, and I grew up being a classical violinist and ballroom dancer, while enjoying athletics and hip-hop and taking a huge interest in Shakespeare and poetry. I take pride in all those things, since they made me into the person I am. Tony’s section really exudes him as a classy person, and who he is, and he looks like a million dollars, always. He is a true gentleman. Ultimately, in the end, it all comes together, and it intertwines into the celebration of what we all love to do, which is dance.”

Dancing with the Stars  Val Chmerkovskiy

Dancing with the Stars’ Val Chmerkovskiy
Stefania Orru

They previously performed the “Sway” production at The Space at Westbury, which garnered him and his fellow dancers rave reviews from the fans and critics. “It was really awesome, and every show got better and better. ‘Sway’ was an idea that literally started as a conversation to create a platform for our staff and to have a moment to shine. We are a company made up of a lot of talents from all different walks of life. They work really hard and do a lot for our company, and we wanted to give something back. Tony, Maksim and I have the chance to pass that opportunity forward to the people that we love. We wanted to bring all the attention to the talent that is here and the talent that we are very proud of,” he said.

Each day Val is motivated simply by his sense of gratitude. “I am very blessed and lucky for the opportunities that I was given and the people that I was surrounded with growing up, my parents, my brothers and all the teachers that believed in me and guided me. As a kid, certain things stick with you, and one of those things was the belief in me and my talent and my capabilities, and they never gave up on me. This was my time to prove them right,” he said.

Val defined success as “the opportunity to leave something behind for my family and for the people that I love, and to provide.”

To learn more about world renowned dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy and his forthcoming dancing endeavors, check out his official Facebook page.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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