Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Photo: Maks' Big Smile at the Organic Liaison Store Opening

Maksim Chmerkovskiy looks like such a natural out there on Dancing with the Stars, but he didn't grow up wanting to be a dancer. "My parents made me do it," he told The Insider. "I was a swimmer, tennis player, played soccer and everything. I was on every team, somehow that didn't get stuck. 'Cause, you know," he adds sarcastically, "soccer players don't make money, apparently."

The Ukraine native moved to New York in 1994 and that's when his love of dancing kicked in.

"I started dancing when I was 4 and hated it until I was about 15," Maks said. "And then I came to America. Money was tight and I started dancing in restaurants and next thing you know I'm competing. Next thing you know I'm on Broadway. It's been an incredible journey."

We're sorry we missed Maks back when he was dancing in restaurants, but we bet he made serious bank in tips!

Maks made his Broadway debut in the summer of 2009, along with then fiancee, fellow DWTS pro Karina Smirnoff. They danced in Burn the Floor, which was produced by DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba. By November of that year Maks and Karina had broken up and Maks agreed to return to Burn the Floor, but only if Karina was not there. "I wouldn't do it if she was asked back," Maks told E! Instead, DWTS pro Kym Johnson filled in for Maks.

Watch the full Insider video for personal thoughts from Maks’s fellow pros, including Cheryl Burke’s experience with domestic violence and how Nirvana inspired Mark Ballas’ love for guitar.

Source: The Insider