Maksim Chmerkovskiy: I’m Leaving Dancing with the Stars

Maksim Chmerkovskiy Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty images

Maks is packing his bags.

When Dancing with the Stars debuts its fifteenth season this Monday Sept. 24, it will a swan song — er, dance — for Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

The Ukraine-born professional dancer, 32, tells the New York Post that he's departing the ABC reality competition smash after his contract expires at the end of 2012.

"What else do I have to do there after 15 seasons?" Chmerkovskiy tells the paper. "It makes total sense. The audience can't expect for me to want to stick around, and the producers can’t expect for me to want to stick around."

The frequently hot-tempered dancer says he's scored his first leading role in a feature film, which stars shooting in January, and also hopes to star in a reality show with his brother Val, also a dancer.

Chmerkovskiy — partnered in season 14's All-Star edition with his season-12 partner Kirstie Alley — explains that he's ready to become a star in his own right.

"Essentially, 80% of our job is to give somebody another push in their career," he explains to the Post. "I loved doing it. But to be honest with you, at 32, I am at what-about-me time."

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Despite sometimes butting heads with the show's judges, his partners and producers, "I wish [the show] the next 50 years of success. But I have to do something else. I need to move on for me."

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