I'll Never Change My Name: An Immigrant's American Dream from Ukraine to the USA to Dancing with the Stars

I'll Never Change My Name: An Immigrant's American Dream from Ukraine to the USA to Dancing with the Stars

by Valentin Chmerkovskiy


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"Val embodies what it means to live the American dream." — Robin Roberts, Good Morning America

Valentin Chmerkovskiy, the world championship-winning and beloved Dancing with the Stars ballroom dancer invites fans into his life as never before, sharing the experiences, including the failures and successes, that have shaped him, from his early childhood in Ukraine to growing up as an immigrant in the U.S. to his rise to international fame.

Val has captivated viewers of Dancing with the Stars since his first performance in 2011. While DWTS demonstrates Val’s beautiful physicality, this moving memoir illuminates his soul, revealing a deep, thoughtful person who channels his emotions and socially conscious views through his art. The beloved dance champion and choreographer assesses his life and career so far—where he’s come from and where he hopes to go.

For the first time, Val looks back at his childhood in Odessa, Ukraine, and his Jewish family’s immigration to the United States—including what it was like to grow up as a stranger desperate to fit into a different culture, how he worked to become a premiere dancer, and, of course, the collaborations and competitions with his brother and fellow DWTS sensation, Maksim "Maks" Chmerkovskiy.

Val speaks warmly of his close-knit family and shares intimate and inspiring stories meant to offer hope and motivation not only to fans but to everyone with a dream. Enduring anti-Semitism in their native land, Val’s parents wanted a better life for their children—a desire that led them to leave everything they knew and start again thousands of miles away in a foreign country. It was a gamble that paid off—after years of practice and discipline, Val, along with his older brother Maks, have reached the pinnacle of success. Though he admits he sometimes still feels like an outsider, Val expresses his enduring gratitude for everything that America represents and pays homage to his adopted nation and the opportunities it has afforded him and his family.

Inspiring, heartfelt, and compulsively readable—and showcasing sixteen-pages of never-before-seen photographs, as well as a foreword by brother Maks—Val’s memoir is filled with the moments that have moved and shaped him, and is sure to touch readers’ hearts as well.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062820488
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/19/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 368,878
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Valentin “Val” Chmerkovskiy was born in Ukraine, immigrated to the United States at the age of eight, and grew up in Brooklyn. He is the first American to have won two IDSF World Championships, one in Juniors and one in Youth. He is also a fourteen-time US National Champion, a classically trained violinist, and a mentor. Val is a cofounder and creative director at Dance with Me Studios, a national chain of dance studios, which he cofounded with his brother and fellow DWTS pro, Maks. Most recently, Val won the Season 23 Mirrorball Trophy with Olympian Laurie Hernandez. He splits his time between Los Angeles and New York City.

Table of Contents

Foreword Maksim Chmerkovskiy ix

I Am Valentin Aleksandrovich Chmerkovskiy 1

Part 1 A Journey In Dance


First Season 33

Steps 47

Part 2 A Journey In Life

Family 63

Odessa 71

Immigrant 85

School 97

Music 109

Part 3 A Journey In Dance

Zendaya 123

My Teenage Dreams Come True 137

Rumer Has It 155

Part 4 A Journey In Life

Rising Stars 171

Choices 185

Competition (1) 189

Competition (2) 199

Dance with Me 209

Lust 221

The Ukrainian Bachelor 247

Leaving 257

Part 5 A Journey In Dance

Two Pair 269

Laurie 285

Harmony 293

Final Thoughts 307

Valentin Chmerkovskiy: Competitive Ballroom Dance Record 319

Gratitudes 321

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I'll Never Change My Name: An Immigrant's American Dream from Ukraine to the USA to Dancing with the Stars 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a long time fan of DWTS, and especially the brothers, I really enjoyed this book! Val has a great writing style, which makes this book a joy to read. Congrats Val, on your first book! Hope we hear more from you. MJ Mason
Anonymous More than 1 year ago