Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Hi everyone,

How are you? Hope you had a great week!

Brandy and I are still hard at work on our dances. I feel like a broken record, but everything is going great. I have my game plan that I'm going to stick with. I've done this for so long now that I know that these three weeks of rehearsals can go one or two ways. If the person is not very good at picking up choreography, they need as much time as they can get. If they are more comfortable with dancing, moving their bodies and interpreting music, which is what dance is, they have an easier time obviously. If that person does have an easier time, what do you do with three weeks? We are just given our first two dances — Viennese waltz and the jive (not the cha-cha anymore!) — and I personally think it's pointless introduce the celebrities to more than that in the first three weeks.

In Brandy's case, she's doing very well. We just finished our Viennese waltz. It's great and good enough for the first show to be safe, to move on and to impress the judges, but at the same time to kind of set a precedent and say "We are here." Brandy's like, "I need more time." She wants to rehearse more and I admire that. I think it's amazing that I got someone who wants to stay in the studio and rehearse. After the season starts, we're going to need as much time as we can possibly get. But for now, I want her to be hungry and not to be burned out once the show gets going and she knows what the process is like. Injuries are not really my concern because you can be the most amazing athlete and get injured. My concern is the mental work. That's equally, if not more important, than picking up something you've never done before, which, let's face it, is difficult in itself. At the same time, I don't want us to be too casual and rest on our laurels and say: "I've done it before, it's all good, blah, blah, blah." You never know what's going to happen. So it's still nonstop education, just in different increments.

Brandy and I are having such a fun time together. She's a very enthusiastic student, which is perfect for me because I want somebody who wants to do it. We started our jive yesterday and she was so pumped. She was like, "This is going to be my dance!" I think you're going to see a lot of comedy from us. We do argue, but I don't know what we argue about. It's a trend with Maks — the arguing! But I feel like it's not them; it's me. I just stand my ground and everybody's like, "Why are you so hard-headed?" I'm not. I'm just standing my ground. I don't understand why people argue with me. They don't have to argue with me because nothing's going to happen and you're not going to learn anything while you waste time arguing. But nothing's been that drastic between us. They're very small tiffs and everything's been amazing overall.

I have not seen anyone else dance yet. We've only rehearsed one time in the Dancing with the Stars studio because Brandy lives a bit little outside of L.A. Everybody else is at the main studio. We saw most of the cast that one time, but we didn't see people dance. It It seems like everybody's working, which is usually the case. Personally, I don't care that we're not there to check in on everyone. It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing; you should be focused on yourself. Plus, everyone works differently. Erin liked privacy. She hated when people watched her dance. Brandy is different. When we were in the studio, I asked to use the large room to rehearse one time through and she was like, "Everybody's watching. I can't do it!" But she did it and did it well in front of a bunch of people. That showed me that she was capable of putting it together under pressure, so I'm excited for you all to see what she can do. I really think it's going to be one of the more memorable seasons.

Last season, there were some changes to the show, but I don't think you're going to see many differences this year — nor do I think the show needs it right now. There are a lot of different things to the show. There are a lot of different parts. To think, "Hey, why don't we do this differently?" is not necessary. There were many things we wanted to change in the beginning. They've been addressed, as far as the length of dances, the types and whatnot. I don't think the show needs to reinvent the wheel every season. People embrace us and embrace the show. I don't think they look for innovation every time. Every time we make a change, you're risking people liking the change.

As for the judges, I never pay attention to the judges. They're their own entity and we're our own entity. They want stability and progress. Mostly, I just want everybody to stay positive. Last season was amazing. It was so fun and happy. I want the same this season.

Outside of the show, I have a lot of stuff going on, which is exciting. As I mentioned last season, I am putting together my own show. I wrote a script and have put together a team to carry it out. The show is choreographed in my head and it's amazing, if I do say so myself! Right now, we have to finalize the visual presentation. I'm working with some really big names in the industry I'm fortunate to have met. The show is going to be one act and will be based on Latin-American styles and life. Every character has his or her own dance style that he or she will communicate with. At the end, it'll be a story told through the different types of dances. There'll be everything. I'm so excited! I actually thought of it after I was asked to come with a show for something else. I started writing and I started developing and didn't want to give it to the original people. It became a lot bigger, so I kept this idea and did something else on a smaller scale for the other people. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. There have been so many steps I took in the last 10 years that I believe led me here and to my own show. I remember back then when people were like, "You're crazy. You're opening a studio at 16?" Now I have a couple of studios and staff who came out of my studio. I was unaware of what I was doing then, but now I realize how valuable it all is. The great thing about my staff is that we now share the same mindset. I also think it's great that we somehow we ended up working together when people were doubting us. Now, we have all these opportunities. I guess the moral of the story is to keep an open mind. If you're young, keep multi-tasking and stay creative. Maybe your passion changes. That's OK, just keep going and try to make something happen. With the market and financial situation, it's an entrepreneur's wonderland. People become billionaires by inventing Twitter. You don't go to school to invent Twitter. So everyone, stay creative.

My family was here a few days ago. Everyone's doing well. I feel like we don't spend enough time together since lately I've been all over the place. But every day is a moment invested in everyone's happiness. I would do anything for my family. We stay very close. I'm definitely giving myself a little more time with this craziness and afterward I would want to be more anchored in one place — definitely New York. My family is in New York, so home will always be there. At the end of the day, money means nothing without love and support. But for right now, bring on the craziness!

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!