“Dancing with the Stars” is springing forward with a new slew of professional dancers for Season 20 of the hit ABC reality competition – and Karina Smirnoff isn’t one of them. The 37-year-old dancer revealed the shocking news on Instagram Tuesday, explaining that after 16 seasons of shaking it on the ballroom floor, she’ll be sashaying away to pursue a new chapter of her life.
"Many of you have been asking if I will be back for season 20 of ‘DWTS’ and I wanted all of my incredible family to hear it directly from me. After a lot of thought and prayer, I've decided to focus my energies on some other exciting endeavors including adding author to my resume,” Smirnoff revealed before the official Season 20 roster of “DWTS” was announced. “I have absolutely loved dancing for all of you for all these years and feel blessed to have been given a platform to put my passion for dance, choreography and creativity on display. ‘DWTS’ has been a huge part of my life for the last 10 years and I will always have a special place in my heart for it.”
The dancer, who made her “DWTS” debut during Season 3 and walked away with the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy in Season 13, elaborated on her reasoning of why she decided to quit the series. “I am thrilled that now you will be seeing more of me in new arenas in the days and weeks to come. My first book ‘We're Just Not That Into You - Dating Disasters From the Trenches’ was released today, and I look forward to hearing from you as you read it! I love all of you so very much and couldn't feel more grateful for your support in all that I do! #werejustnotthatintoyou," she stated.
Smirnoff won't be the only dancer absent from Season 20 of “DWTS" when it premieres on ABC Monday, March 16. Derek Hough will be sitting out to dabble in theater as he headlines a show at Radio City Music Hall. Cheryl Burke also decided to leave the show. She will be joining the cast of a new NBC series, E! Online reported. "I never thought I'd be able to walk away," Burke told People Magazine of why she quit the series. "But after a decade of something, it's time for me to move on and try something different, to be challenged, to feel inspired."
So what professional dancers will be returning to the ballroom floor come Season 20? The roster for the upcoming installment was announced Wednesday on “Good Morning America.” According to the official list from Us Weekly, Mark Ballas, Kym Johnson, Sharna Burgess, Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Tony Dovolani, Allison Holker, Peta Murgatroyd and Emma Slater will all be twirling around the ballroom with celebrities in tow during the new installment. Julianne Hough, who made her debut as a permanent judge in Season 19, will also be back this spring to critique even more celebs as they attempt to win the title of “Dancing with the Stars.”
What do you think about Smirnoff leaving “Dancing with the Stars”? Are you happy with the Season 20 roster of professional dancers? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts.