Maksim Chmerkovskiy to Take Break from Dancing

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Photo: Roger Karnbad/ CelebrityPhoto

When the much-anticipated, sixth season Dancing with the Stars casting announcement is made on Monday’s Dance War finale, one name missing from the roster will be that of pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

The 28-year-old, who took celebrity partners Laila Ali and Mel B. to the finals in back-to-back seasons, is taking some time off, his rep confirms to PEOPLE.

“He just needs a break,” says an ABC spokesperson. “He is part of the Dancing family, and he will be back.”

Last December, Chmerkovskiy told PEOPLE that he was feeling burnt-outafter the show’s grueling schedule.

“After coming down from two seasons back-to-back, 10 weeks each season — 14 weeks, if you count all of the rehearsals — it puts a lot of pressure on a person and it takes its toll,” Chmerkovskiy said.

A fan favorite, Chmerkovskiy may appear on several of Dancing’s results shows when the pros are featured in group-choreographed dances. It’s also very likely he will be back for the seventh season.

Meantime, Chmerkovskiy — who choreographed the Wynn Las Vegas’s theatrical water show Le Reve — is putting the finishing touches on a DWTS fitness DVD with fellow pro Cheryl Burke, and this spring he will continue to work with students at his Rising Stars Dance Academy in Saddlebrook, N.J. — Monica RizzoRoger Karnbad/ CelebrityPhoto

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