The District Dude - Val Chmerkovskiy

Head shot and group photo provided by Jerry Metellus

Head shot and group photo provided by Jerry Metellus

Taking the stage (literally and figuratively) as this month's District Dude is professional dancer, Val Chmerkovskiy! You may have seen him as one of the pros on this kind of well-known show, Dancing With the Stars, or from his Confidential Tour with his brother Maks and sister-in-law Peta Murgatroyd (which is coming to Houston TOMORROW!)! In addition, this ballroom star has just released his memoir and is opening his SECOND Houston Dance With Me USA studio in the Galleria later this year! Is there anything he can't do? Cha cha check out his feature for more!

What stands out about Houston compared to other cities you’ve spent time in for dance, work, and travel?

I love how pleasant and laid back everyone is, but at the same time how much they love to have fun. People love to let loose, dance, and have a great time. 


Now that you’ve been to Houston a couple times, do you have any favorite spots you like to visit?   

In terms of Houston restaurants,  I like B&B Butchers, Hugo's, and State of Grace. I actually prefer to visit the local no name bar and play some billiards and have a beer, but once in a while if schedule permits we'll visit the nearest salsa club. 


River Oaks District is known for high-fashion apparel and accessories – Tom Ford, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana … what’s your favorite retailer when shopping for a good look?

I like to switch it up and don't stick to just one retailer. I try to get inspiration from as many places as possible. For more classic looks I like Ted Baker, Tom Ford. I like the NIKE athleisure and casually Zara or Topshop


Your Galleria studio is going to be a neighbor when it opens later this year…what are some places in the area you’re excited to check out?

Honestly...The Galleria. I haven't had a chance to really check it out. Apparently there is an ice skating rink in there? I might have to lace em up and whip out a few triple axels haha. 


What was the inspiration behind deciding to write a memoir?

My biggest inspiration was my love and gratitude for my family and mentors. I wanted to put my emotions down on paper when it came to the people I attribute most of my success to. My family, my friends, and the mentors that became like family to me. 


Let’s imagine you step into Toulouse for a coffee…what’s your go-to order?

Black coffee (in the blue we are happy to serve you cup) and bagel with cream cheese... NY style. They have that right? 


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Sit down. Be humble. 


If we were to take ballroom lessons from you, what would be the first style of dance you’d want to help us nail down?

I think we'd have to learn some International Rumba Walks. It's kinda like you need to walk before you dance. If you can impress with your technique in just one step, everything else from there becomes easier. 


Houston is known for delicious, cultural food. What’s your favorite type of cuisine to grab down here?

I like to eat everything but when in Texas I feel like you just got to have some Texas style BBQ. 


If you could dance with anyone alive or dead – who would your dance partner be?

I’d love to be able to dance with my grandfather. His name was Valentin and he passed away before I was born, I was named after him but never got to meet him. I’d love to be able to dance with him. 

Stacie Ellis