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The Daily Dish Dancing Queens

"Have Joy Out There": Val Chmerkovskiy Gives Dancing Queens Star Pivotal Advice

Beloved dance pro Val Chmerkovskiy was on hand to help Donie Burch after some ballroom dancing missteps.


By Joe Dziemianowicz

With Millennium, the Super Bowl of ballroom competitions, approaching fast, Donie Burch seeks advice from reality star Val Chmerkovskiy, as seen on a recent episode of Dancing QueensHere's why he's the perfect person to help her get her groove back, and why his tip for Donie may change her approach to ballroom dancing.

Who is Val Chmerkovskiy?

Valentin “Val” Chmerkovskiy made his debut on Dancing with the Stars in 2006. He’s been a regular presence in the cast since 2011, the same year he and partner Rumer Willis won the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. He repeated that triumph five years later with Laurie Hernandez. 

How to Watch

Watch Dancing Queens on Peacock and the Bravo app.    

Most recently on DWTS, Val and The Bachelorette contestant Gabby Windey partnered up and placed second in Season 31 in 2022. Long story short: Val knows his way around the dance floor — and how to help others put their best foot forward. 

RELATED: Meet The Cast of Dancing Queens

Donie Burch Seeks Help From Val Chmerkovskiy

Val Chmerkovskiy and Donie Burch in conversation while filming Dancing Queens.

Donie has been struggling with her grief over her dad's death as well as concerns about her body image. She also hasn’t been placing near the top in competitions, despite dancing well. 

“I have Val from Dancing with the Stars coming in next week to get his opinion,” she said. Why Val?

He’s one of the owners of the New York studio where Donie dances. “We’ve known each other since I started ballroom dancing,” she said. “I trust Val's opinion, he’s not going to sugarcoat anything.”

Val showed up and was ready to get down to work.

“I’m excited to dance with you. I haven’t been dancing with you in a while,” Val told Donie.

The two share trust and a rapport — as well as a past smooch. In a dance performance, Donie recalled, Val had to kiss a woman in the audience. “I was lucky it was me,” she said.

What Advice Does Val Give Donie?

Val was upbeat but direct, emphasizing the need to “find the best way to represent you out there.” Donie, meanwhile, was eager for some inspiration.

“I’m tired of placing fourth,” she said. “I know I can do better.”

After dancing together, he had dance-focused tips about being a bit more “elastic” and a little less in control. Then he went beyond fancy footsteps to what she feels when she dances.

“When you’re out there, I want to see that you’re a fierce competitor,” he said. “Have you ever looked at yourself as a fierce competitor at any point in your life?”

Donie Burch while filming an interview on Dancing Queens.

Donie was moved to tears by the question.

“I’ve never failed at anything,” she said, wiping her eyes. “It’s just that I feel out of place.” 

Donie admitted that she wants to win but doesn’t want to conform to be a duplicate of everyone else on the floor.

“Being authentic but still pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone … they can coexist,” said Val.  "It's hard not to compare yourself. Compare yourself to the little girl that loves dance. If you're not having joy out there, none of what you're doing is effective.”

Val sent Donie out of the studio with homework.

“Leading up to the competition,” he said, “the best thing you can do is the things that make you happy, things that make you feel in love with dancing.”

Donie left energized and totally Val-idated, noting, "You're like a therapist."

To learn more about Donie and the whole cast including Pooja Mehta, Leonie Biggs, Colette Moratto, Sabrina Strasser, and Gaëlle Benchetrit, watch Dancing Queens, airing Tuesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.

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