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Karina Smirnoff makes all our Dancing with the Stars dreams come true

Look who’s strapping back on her dancing shoes.

It’s Karina Smirnoff! The Dancing with the Stars alum might have taken a season off to pursue a few other endeavors, but ultimately she felt she needed to return.

She said, “I was a little nervous about not dancing on the show at all last season. I was doing it for the last 10 years. I had other things to do in my life, but not going back to the show felt like trying to see if I can walk on my own two feet!”

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The Ukrainian-American did say, though, that she had those pangs of longing to get back to the ballroom. She said, “I’ve had obvious moments when I missed it.”

Smirnoff will head back onto the dance floor for the show’s 21st season. This will be her 14th appearance on the show. During her yearlong hiatus, she spent it promoting her new book, We’re Just Not That Into You: Dating Disasters from the Trenches and also starred in the indie film Tango Shalom.

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The casting for the upcoming season of DWTS is just being slowly revealed. We already know Season 20 champ Val Chmerkovskiy and Witney Carson are both slated to return. Good Morning America is expected to reveal the rest of the cast and stars the first week of September, but Smirnoff says, “The pros will only find out the first day of rehearsal.”

Smirnoff admits, though, “I’m excited and a little nervous. Normally I can at least narrow it down a little bit, like whether it will be an athlete or an actor, but I have no idea.”

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The dancer’s past partners have included Mario Lopez, Billy Ray Cyrus, Aaron Carter and Sean Avery, and she took home the mirror ball trophy with partner J.R. Martinez.

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