When Maksim Chmerkovskiy announced he wouldn’t be returning for Dancing With the Stars 2013, we have to admit: we were bummed. But one of the best parts of Season 16 (so far) has been watching his younger brother Val Chmerkovskiy  come into his own on the dance floor. If Val’s success during the All Stars season was any indication, it looks like this Chmerkovskiy bro is finally stepping out of his brother’s DWTS shadow.

“The first two seasons were very difficult for me because I didn’t transition into television very well... I was still considered ‘Maks’ brother,’” Val told Wetpaint Entertainment during a visit to his New York City dance studio. “But I’m glad I stuck with it, and production stuck with me, so now I don’t have to act. This is me. I’m exactly who I was since day one.”

Even though Maks didn’t sign on for Season 16, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been helping Val behind the scenes. When it comes to choreographing his routines, Val always takes his older brother’s opinion into consideration.

“He’s always there to offer advice,” said Val. “He’s like, ‘Dude, listen. I think you need to change this, this, and that. That part at the end, it’s too slow. I feel like the energy really dips.’ So nothing has changed, really. Right now, I go home and show him the videos from rehearsals and he gives me the feedback. I go back to rehearsals and make those changes.”

Maks will return to the DWTS ballroom for Week 5, where he will help mentor Val and his partner Zendaya.

“My brother is always open to be there, to be there and contribute to my career,” Val added. “All I have to do is ask.”

Are you excited for Maks’ return to the ballroom? Sound off in the comments below!

Catch Dancing With the Stars -- and Maks’ return! -- on Monday, April 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.