Serving as a pro for seasons 3-9, Karina took her first mini-break from the ballroom in its 10th season. She then competed in nine consecutive seasons before her next brief hiatus in season 20. At the time, she explained, “I’ve decided to focus my energies on some other exciting endeavors including adding author to my resume.”
She ended up returning for two more outings, but Karina officially left DWTS for good after season 22.
Since hanging up her Dancing shoes, Smirnoff appeared on E!’s Famously Single and returned to professional dancing. In 2017, she opened up about her decision to leave the ABC series, admitting she does “miss the show” and wouldn’t rule out a return.
“I love dancing with celebrities on the show, but it’s a different type of experience. You’re not just their dance partner. You’re their coach, their shrink, their cheerleader,” she told Fox. “But when you perform with your professional partner, they’re as strong as you and it becomes a different type of performance. And I missed that when I wasn’t doing it while I was on the show.”
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