Roger Karnbad/ CelebrityPhoto
December 05, 2007 12:00 AM

Dancing with the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy wants to set the record straight with fans: He’s not leaving the show, contrary to reports that this past season was his last.

“I am not quitting the show,” Chmerkovskiy told PEOPLE Wednesday from the Las Vegas stage where he’s choreographing La Reve for the Wynn Hotel.

Chmerkovskiy says his comments about leaving and wanting to move on from the show were made “at a time when I was very stressed out. Sure, there’s lucrative offers. There are things that I really want to do with my life other than this show–that’s a given,” he concedes. “After coming down from two seasons back to back, ten weeks each season–it takes its toll.” Now that he’s had a week off since the season five finale, Chmerkovskiy says he regrets speaking so flippantly about his future on DWTS.

“This show is amazing and it’s rewarding. After last season I thought there’s no way I could top off the experience with Laila (Ali) and then I get Mel B. (Spice Girl) as a partner this season,” he says. “I want –especially my fans–to know that I appreciate their support. I am not turning my back on the show. I don’t want to feel betrayed. I love this show. –Monica Rizzo

Roger Karnbad/ CelebrityPhoto

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