Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Hi everyone!

Hope you're all having a great 2011 so far. Are you ready for Season 12?

Everything is going great so far. As you now know, Kirstie Alley is my partner. We are having a blast. She is doing really well. What I like is that she's a lot better than I expected. I'll be honest: I came in and said to her, "You are out of shape." She said, "I am and I'm not hiding it. It's a great opportunity to get into shape. I don't want any limits. Do whatever needs to be done. It's a learning experience." I said, "Great!" And I came back with a routine and choreography like I would with anyone else and she gives me 100 percent in rehearsals every day.

Kirstie has a lot of natural dance ability. But we need to get into good enough shape where we're able to capitalize on that. We're utilizing the training period, not only learn how to dance to set her up for the rest of the season, but to get her to a place where she's comfortable. She's getting a lot stronger. From where we started to where we're now, it's like a totally different person. The first practice, it was 20 minutes and done. Now, we can rehearse for a few hours and we were dancing the entire time. The part I love the most is how much she loves it. She's been saying it: "I don't want to say corny or anything, but it's exhilarating. I want to do this for the rest of my life." People are always asking who's my ideal partner. I've been fortunate to have great partners and she's definitely one of the top ones. She's doing it for the right reason. She wants to get better. She's trusts me and trusts in me.

Our first dance is the cha-cha. We done with the routine, so we're just polishing it now. I'm following the same pre-season plan as I've always done. We spent the first week doing the first number and now we're working on the second dance. It works for me. It's been like that with everybody. I think she's going to be fine for the premiere. She's very ballsy. One thing I'm looking forward to seeing in the first show is our video package. They are going to be insane! I almost beat myself each week. Kirstie's so quick and so witty. Her humor is hilarious and smart. She talks a billion words a second. It hits you unexpectedly. We have a great relationship. We couldn't be more different. At first, I didn't know how we were going to be and what kind of partnership we would have. So she just told me to call her "G" and she calls me "daddy." It's definitely going to be the partnership to be remembered this season.

As for the rest of the cast, I think we have a very talented bunch. We certainly have a lot of very able people. The bar is going to be raised from the beginning. It can go either way. There are a few big stars, some unknown and everybody in the middle. We have accomplished athletes again and actresses. I'm very excited about this season and I truly think it's going to be great.

I know at the end of last season I sounded very down about everything and suggested I may not come back. All I can say is, I'm still the same Maks, but I've changed the way I've embraced this experience and helping someone else understand this part in their journey. I'm very proud of this show and having an opportunity to change. I spent the past three months really looking internally and thinking about things. I have a great team of people behind me not letting me make bad decisions. I'm one of those people who cannot sit still. I have to always be busy. I've never been the one to hold on to something. I'm always looking forward to new adventures and new risks. To all the fans out there, I love the support I've gotten from you. I don't want you to feel disrespected. I know with the way I am, it almost feels like I don't appreciate the opportunity. I do. I feel like after doing something for 10 seasons, it's hard to do the same thing. The person changes, but the format is the same. I needed to find inspiration. The off-season, when you do find that inspiration, you come back better for it. Next thing you know, you're back.

I also think that when you get someone really able, like Brandy or Erin, a lot of people pencil you in to go all the way. That's when you come across problems. The show is not easy, but the bar is raised so high in everybody's eyes. It makes it harder to enjoy the whole experience. With Kirstie, I think our bar is not raised that high. We're just having a blast. I love working with her. I love seeing her get stronger and the physical and mental changes within her. I want everyone to know I'm back because I've found that inspiration for this.

Outside of the show, everything is great. We're starting to franchise Dance with Me and we've signed Tony to our company, so we've taken our friendship to the next level. He's like a brother to me, so to have him on our team is the greatest asset. We're looking at other cities and we're working currently on some of the cities. We have a few studios in other areas that we want to convert. We're busy and we love it. I love sharing business with my family and my closest friends. it's the best way of doing business.

Once last thing, again, I just want to thank all the fans. It's 2011, the media age. Everyone's well-connected. I've been getting a lot of positive messages. There was a lot of hate, but there was overwhelmingly more love. i just want to thank all the fans. You guys are like an extended family and i just want to thank all of you. There were moments when I was a bit down, but between my family and the fans, we're back. We're good. I just hope this season is going to be different than the past ones. This is still the little show that could. I can't believe it's been 12 seasons, but without the fans, we wouldn't be here, so thank you.That's all for now.

Thanks for reading!

Maks