Maksim Chmerkovskiy will leave ABC’s Dancing With the Stars when his contract expires at the end of next year. Maksim has had a prominent run on the show, on which he has been partnered with such big names as Denise Richards, Brandy, Hope Solo and Kirstie Alley. Maksim, 32, has enjoyed his time on the show, but lamented the rather static nature of his position.

“Essentially, 80% of our job is to give somebody another push in their career,” Maksim told the New York Post. “Or we make them into likable characters. But at the end of the day, they go off and they better themselves.

“I loved doing it," he added. "But to be honest with you, at 32, I am at what-about-me time."

Maksim, who owns four dance studios in and around New York City, intends to make the jump into acting, and he already has a movie role in a romantic comedy lined up in which he plays a seductive Latin dancer. "With nothing but love, gratitude and respect to all that played a part in that amazing aspect of my life," he tweeted.

As for his current role, Maksim has had an entertaining, if not tenuous, run on the hit ABC show. Olympic gold medalist Solo claimed Maksim hit her during rehearsals in her autobiography Solo: A Memoir of Hope, Despite being a gifted and demanding partner, the highest finish Maksim could lead his celebrity counterparts was second, with Melanie Brown in season five and Alley in season twelve.

Maksim will appear in Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars alongside Alley again, as well as two more cycles on the show before his departure. Dancing With the Stars: All Stars premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC. —Hal Sundt

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