‘DWTS’ season 27 premieres Sept. 24, and pro Val Chmerkovskiy spoke with HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about the ‘pressure’ to get creative with dances to impress judges and audiences year after year and more!

Over the past 27 seasons of Dancing With the Stars, the audience and judges have see their fair share of dances in the ballroom. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Val Chmerkovskiy, 32, and his celebrity partner, The Facts of Life star Nancy McKeon, 52, about season 27, and the pro dancer admitted that the stakes continue to get higher with every season when it comes to the judges and the audience. “It’s a lot of pressure,” Val told HollywoodLife. “They don’t necessarily are always satisfied by the same thing. After 26 seasons, how many cha chas and rumbas have you seen? So, for us to recreate those dances and make them look fresh and new and make them appeal to the public, sometimes you have venture outside the rule book and those are the times that the judges are usually not the nicest. But, I think, in art in general, rules are there to be broken, but they have to be learned first. So, our job as the choreographer and teacher is to create a routine to showcase we know the genre, understood the genre, fulfilled the assignment, and then venture out into our own creative world.”

Val will be dancing with Nancy this season, and he said the actress is working on gaining confidence in the ballroom. “I think it’s a common challenge for a lot of people, and it will be to gain confidence and believe in herself and know that that’s not something she will just do overnight, and that’s something she needs to earn for herself,” Val explained. “But I’m excited for the moment where she will finally stand up tall and believe in herself and trust herself that she’s good enough.”

Nancy added: “I think he’s right. The biggest challenge is with myself, just stepping into something I’ve never done before, trying to breathe with it, and believe you can do it and stand in those shoes, have some fun and joy, and not look at my feet!” Nancy’s outside of her comfort zone, but she’s more than ready for the challenge. Dancing With the Stars season 27 premieres Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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