Chmerkovskiy was born January 17, 1980, in Odessa, Ukrainian SSR to parents Aleksandr “Sasha” Chmerkovskiy and Larisa Chmerkovskaya. He began dancing at age 4 when Chmerkovskiy’s parents enrolled him in maksim sex school of aesthetic education. The aim of the school was to train children to become young gentlemen or ladies, and the education included manners and ballroom dance.
He eventually began competing in ten-dance, which includes both ballroom and Latin dances. As a child Chmerkovskiy also participated in tennis, soccer, and swimming. At age 13, he broke his right leg in a skiing accident and had a titanium rod put in to stabilize his leg. The family immigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1994. The challenges of immigration for Chmerkovskiy and his family included financial and language barriers.
On his second day in the United States, Chmerkovskiy had a new pair of roller blades stolen. As a dancer, Chmerkovskiy competed at the professional level in the International Latin category. At age 16, Chmerkovskiy and his father opened a youth-oriented competitive dance studio, Rising Stars Dance Academy, on the second floor of a building his father owned in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Chmerkovskiy said he chose New Jersey because there was a plethora of dance studios that he disliked already established in Brooklyn.
In 2001, Chmerkovskiy had his first major success as an instructor when he helped his brother, Valentin, then 16, and Diana Olonetskaya, 15—became the first U. In addition to Rising Stars, Chmerkovskiy owns several social and competitive dance studios under the brand “Dance With Me. Most are in the New York metropolitan area. Chmerkovskiy competed as a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars for fifteen seasons. He was often referred to as “the bad boy of the ballroom. Chmerkovskiy first appeared in the second season of the ABC series Dancing with the Stars partnered with actress Tia Carrere. He returned for the show’s seventh season, this time paired with two-time Olympic volleyball gold medalist, Misty May-Treanor.
Chmerkovskiy and May-Treanor were forced to withdraw from the competition in Week 3. During a practice for their jive, May-Treanor ruptured her Achilles tendon and required surgery. In season 10, Chmerkovskiy, returning for his eighth season, was partnered with Erin Andrews. Andrews and Chmerkovskiy’s partnership was notable for their good rapport and Chmerkovskiy was protective of Andrews as she coped with threats.