Valentin Chmerkovskiy From Dancing With The Stars Fame Talks About Being A Co-Founder Of The Company Dance With Me

Val first immigrated from Ukraine at a young age with very little to his family’s name, an experience he detailed in his March 2018 memoir “I’ll Never Change My Name.” Since arriving in America, he has built up an incredible career in dance, eventually becoming a 14-time US National Champion and two-time World Dance Champion.

Val is also a philanthropist and co-founder of Dance With Me, one of the nation’s leading dance studios with the mission of keeping people active, healthy, and creative regardless of their age, ability, or economic circumstance.

Photography by William H. Cudd

Describe Valentin Chmerkovskiy in 5 words.
Passionate. Poetic. Principled. Polite. Discontent.

If you had a magic wand, what would you do with it?
I would give my folks another 50 years of good health and an infinite amount of resources.

Which time period would you visit in history?
I’d visit the 18th century. I’d want to be a part of the American Revolution. What an exhilarating time that must have been for the founding fathers and everyone that was involved in fighting for America’s independence. Well not everyone, I’m sure the British would disagree with the above sentiment.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen lately?
I saw Hamilton on Broadway a few weeks back and I’m still thinking about it. Enough to have answered the previous question the way I did. It inspired me like nothing has inspired me in a while.

Photography by William H. Cudd

Who was your role model when you were a child?
My father and no one else has ever come close.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I’m still trying to figure that out.

What is the best praise or advice you’ve received?
Those are vastly different things in my eyes. The best praise was probably that I’m an ever so slightly above decent husband, son, brother, friend. Some good advice was that if I wanted to be the best, I’d have to outwork the best. I gave that advice to myself.

Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
A father, who’s able to provide for his family beyond the average means. An artist, who’s able to create beyond the average art. And hopefully healthy enough to enjoy both of the above.

Photography by William H. Cudd

Which skill would you love to learn?
I’d love to find time to learn how to cook properly. And also pick up the violin more regularly. I played for 15 years when I was younger, and I would love to get that skill back.

What was the biggest learning moment for you in life?
Every day is a learning moment. If you have an open mind, your biggest learning comes daily.

Captured by William H. Cudd: Styling by Guvanch Agajumayev
Grooming: Gabrielle Steves: Hair Stylist: Hiro Furukawa: Casting by Andre’ Adkins