Valentin Chmerkovskiy ends his competitive career

Valentin Chmerkovskiy ends his competitive career

Posted on Monday, 22 Aug 2011, 16:05 by ballroomuk
Read: 37,887

We have received a following message from Valentin Chmerkovskiy:

I’m writing this letter to let you know that I have decided to end my competitive dance career. It truly has been an amazing journey for me. I have been so very blessed with the incredible partners that I had the pleasure of growing and competing with. To them I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Endless gratitude to the coaches that have given me so much, I am forever in debt. The knowledge that was shared with me, throughout the years, is worth more than any trophy I have ever won. The experience I gained from the countless hours of practice and performances, the character I built from the disappointments and failure, alongside with the love I gained for movement, music, and self-expression is something that has shaped me into the man I am today.

I was a 7 year old child when I was dragged against my will into a world of high heels, tight pants, and shiny shirts. I was a 12 year old boy when I went to my first oversees competition (German Open), and was one of only 2 US couples there (my brother being the second). I was a 15 year old adolescent when I won my first IDSF World Championship, and became the first and last American to ever do it… I was a 19 year old “young man” when I had the privilege of lifting the Blackpool trophy, which was an honor I only dreamed about. But as a 23 year old man I was told I couldn’t compete at the Dutch Open. Then as a 24 year old man I was told that I couldn’t compete against some of the best dancers in the world, because of reasons I had no power of influencing. The world I believed in, loved, and was willing to give up my last penny for was changing… and changing for the worse.

I was a 25 year old man when I realized I was powerless. I held on to my love for dance to steer me through the lack of motivation, my disbelief in everything that was happening, and the sheer loneliness. I am so lucky that I got to witness the “Golden Years” of the 90s early 00’s, when dancers danced. When you had brilliant innovators performing for themselves, for the audience, and most importantly to influence and motivate the younger generation. The incentives were clear, and dancers gave up EVERYTHING to reach them. Well things aren’t so clear any more.

I don’t know everything, if anything at all. But what I do know is there are young dancers out there that are confused, betrayed, and ultimately discouraged by these changes. I hope that things will resolve themselves, but as of right now the changes have divided competitors, separated friends, alienated coaches, and sanctioned competitions. However the biggest casualty of it all is INSPIRATION. Inspiration comes from our surroundings. Every dancer in the world knows the huge challenges that come with pursuing the career of ballroom dancing. Why make it even more difficult? When we are surrounded by regulations that tell us what WE CANNOT DO instead of all the things WE CAN, that is when individuals lose inspiration. I unfortunately lost mine.

I am who I am because of dance, music, and self-expression. I will continue on my journey of self-enlightenment through dance, music and self-expression, but it will be through different avenues. I will forever champion the principles I acquired through the world of Ballroom Dancing. I will forever be grateful for the memories I was so fortunate to have. I walk away from competition a humbled man, a grateful man, but most importantly an inspired man. I am inspired to reach new heights and pinnacles in my future endeavors; however, I will never forget the world that raised me, and shaped me into the man I am today.

juniormum Tuesday, 25 Oct 2011, 13:14

Very wise but unfortunately sad words. I have three children who dance and one by one they have given up competing for the exact same reasons. Hopefully one day the governing bodies will see exactly what they are doing to the beloved dance world and put aside their differences before we loose any more talented youngsters and amazing adults competitors that have inspired them.

gingermist Wednesday, 07 Sep 2011, 22:34
jazz Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011, 23:22
ballroomuk Wednesday, 24 Aug 2011, 05:32

re: rmakow's comment about losing dancers to politics... I'd say this has already happened quite a lot already.  A lot of former competitive dancers have moved on to television and theatre.  Certainly the chance to earn a better living is part of it, but I'm sure they don't miss the annoying politics from the competitive dance world.

Would also be interesting to figure out how many lower grade potentially amazing dancers have left dancing due to politics.  Or specifically in the UK, how many have not moved from the medalist competitions to the open competition circuit  because of politics between those 2 parts of the UK dance scene.

Valentin is a high profile competitor who has made a high profile exit from competitive dance.  His exit will cause a bigger splash than the unknown masses that have left, but sadly I'm not convinced it will lead to any big changes.

Sambatogo Tuesday, 23 Aug 2011, 16:21 An excellent letter. Surely there are many out there that feel the same? And may contemplate the same actions? A long career with much experience. But he has seen a reality that exists unfortunately. If Val put as much effort into ANY other field he would be very successful also. Probably even more so!
barnes Tuesday, 23 Aug 2011, 14:52

Hard to compete when inspiration is gone, the dancer's and fans will miss you. Seems like all industries outside of the dancer are standing on our backs, we call it riding the "gravy train".

vividjane Tuesday, 23 Aug 2011, 07:07
Lennygouwerok Tuesday, 23 Aug 2011, 05:23
rmakow Tuesday, 23 Aug 2011, 00:42

Wow.. Very powerful words, and I am glad Val is making such a stand, but at the same time it is very sad to see the end of his competiive career as it's been an inspiring one!  Something needs to change in the Ballroom world as it's now truly affecting all of us dancers.  I hope the organizations don't take this lightly because we have lost one amazing dancer to these politics and we might lose more as a result... 

vividjane Monday, 22 Aug 2011, 19:45
newyorker11 Monday, 22 Aug 2011, 19:08

Very well said! I hope this moves others like it has moved me, so that we may band together and return dancing to its former glory. If not for that sake, then at least to return Val to the dance floor once again!