'Dancing with the Stars' surprises: Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Chelsie Hightower will not return for Season 16

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There may be a few surprising shakeups among the professional dancers of "Dancing with the Stars" when Season 16 begins on ABC this spring. At least two fan-favorite professionals -- Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Chelsie Hightower -- will not return in the upcoming season.
One of the dancers is leaving by choice. The other... not so much.

It's Maks who has chosen to leave the show. A permanent fixture on "Dancing with the Stars" since Season 2, Chmerkovskiy has been indicating for a few seasons now that he might want to move on. This time, he means it and will not return for Season 16.

There is no indication that Maks was forced out, despite his past run-ins with the judges (especially Len Goodman). Instead, TMZ.com reports that the dancer wants to spend time pursuing film and other projects.

That's not the case with Chelsie Hightower, apparently. When TMZ.com ran into the dancer, they were surprised to learn that she wouldn't be back for the upcoming season. Even more surprising was the revelation that Chelsie had no choice in the matter. "Sometimes we take breaks," was the only comment the dancer would make directly on the situation.

On the plus side, Hightower's wording indicates that this might be a single season issue, allowing her to return in the future.

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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