When talent show hit Dancing With the Stars waltzes its way back to ABC’s primetime lineup this March, the popular series will be missing one major fixture: Three-time Mirrorball Trophy champ Derek Hough.
Hough — the most-decorated pro dancer in DWTS history — is taking Season 12 off to concentrate on filming Cobu 3D, a dance movie in which he has scored the lead role.
Filming is scheduled to begin this spring. Hough is preparing for the role by hitting the gym and practicing tap dancing. The 25-year-old hoofer promises the movie will showcase a “much edgier side” of his character.
Hough will return to the DWTS ballroom for the show’s 13th season next fall.
“I will be making it back to Dancing with the Stars in the fall. I’m just taking a little break and taking this chance to grow and expand a little bit as an artist,” Derek told PEOPLE Monday. “It’s like I told one of the producers on the show – I’ll come back with a whole new set of skills.”