When the two time Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography Derek Hough watches dance, he wants to feel something. He’s willing to gawk at gravity-defying tricks, but he also searches for the sensitivity of a moment that can speak volumes.
“It’s that feeling: how does it make me feel, and did it move me?” he said.
The Emmy-winning dancer and choreographer, who rose to fame on “Dancing with the Stars,” will don yet another hat this summer when he sits alongside Jennifer Lopez and NE-YO as a judge on NBC’s new dance show, “World of Dance.” Based on an international competition of the same name, the 10-part series will star performers of all backgrounds and ages when both groups and soloists take the stage. Jenna Dewan Tatum hosts as competitors vie for a $1 million prize.
Hough fans may be disappointed to learn that his distinctive, finessed lines and bubbling charisma will be hidden behind a judge’s table. He has made a reputation for himself as one of the most accomplished ballroom dancers in the country, both on- and off-screen, and is currently filling auditoriums on-tour with his sister, Julianne Hough. But while there is a time to steal the spotlight, dancers also have a responsibility to give back to their community and advise the talent of the future.
As a child, Hough had mentors of his own who fostered his love of dance. Rick Robinson taught a young Hough hip-hop and instilled a passion in him that had yet to take root. “I didn’t want to be a dancer. I didn’t want to go to dance class. I was young,” Hough admitted.
In his New York Times bestseller, Taking the Lead, Hough writes as a kid, his hyperactivity often steered him toward trouble. To avoid emergency room visits, his mother would fill his schedule with classes so he wouldn’t injure himself while at play. Though Hough may have fought against karate lessons, eventually, dance stole his heart thanks to Robinson.
“He just made it really cool and took me under his wing,” Hough said.
When he moved to London as a preteen, his coaches Corky and Shirley Ballas drove him to competitions around Europe every weekend and rehearsed in the evenings to grow him into the performer he is today. Like contestants on “World of Dance” who may idolize Hough, he had his own inspiration during his training years: Ukrainian latin dancer Slavik Kryklyvyy. At a competition in Holland, he watched Kryklyvyy and realized that he wanted to follow in his footsteps.
“I was mesmerized by the way he moved his body, and the control with it,” Hough said.
Through his role on “World of Dance,” Hough raved he has seen extraordinary performances from up-and-comers. He said the show demands a certain caliber, and his first reaction to a piece is usually positive. But as he goes through a focused rubric that grades routine, execution, presentation, and crowd appeal, he is able to dissect the strengths and weaknesses of each work — even when confronting drastically different dance forms, like ballet and hip-hop.
“The truth is you can’t really compare the dancing itself, but you can certainly compare the feeling it gives you,” Hough said.
As a judge, he empathizes with the competitors because he has often stood in their shoes. But he, JLo, and Ne-Yo have a responsibility to offer constructive criticism, and to challenge each performer to go beyond their comfort zones.
Derek Hough showed off his sculpted dancer’s body when he was photographed shirtless out and about in Studio City on Friday.
The 32-year-old Dancing With The Stars professional had pulled on a pair of navy and midnight blue shorts, completing the ensemble with pine green sneakers.
His hair in a perfect coiff, the elder brother of Julianne Hough had a smile on his face as he strolled down the pavement, a box, a bag and a bottle in his hands.
Scroll down for video
Stepping out: Derek Hough showed off his sculpted dancer’s body when he was photographed shirtless out and about in Studio City on Friday
He’s recently become the brother-in-law of ice hockey player Brooks Laich, whom Julianne married this July – on, as it happens, the same day her Dancing With The Stars colleagues Peta Murgatroyd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy got married, per ABC.
Salt Lake City born Derek had given an interview to the Los Angeles Times last year dishing about the eating habits that have helped him maintain his exquisite figure.
‘Well, my guilty pleasure is popcorn. I’ll eat so much that I’ll get a popcorn hangover. I’ll go see the worst movie ever just to eat popcorn. But besides that, I eat meat, chicken, fish and a lotta greens – for the alkalinity,’ he explained.
On the move: The 32-year-old Dancing With The Stars professional had pulled on a pair of navy and midnight blue shorts, completing the ensemble with pine green sneakers
Sunlit stroll: His hair in a perfect coiff, the elder brother of Julianne Hough had a smile on his face as he strolled down the pavement, a box, a bag and a bottle in his hands
‘I used to juice a lot, but noticed that I wasn’t feeling right. Juice is all sugar and acidic. The amount of sugar in a glass of juice is not normal for human beings – eight, nine, 10 apples or oranges. It messes up your system,’ Derek’s claimed.
‘By contrast, a single apple is packaged perfectly – lots of fiber, a little sugar. When I stopped juice and ate more greens, I noticed a big difference in mind and body – a clarity, a lightness, an energy, where you just jump out of bed. Not this whole process where you need an artificial stimulant to wake up,’ said he.
‘I don’t drink caffeine – it makes me very blurry. Unfortunately, this is a caffeine-driven society; we rely on Starbucks. The problem is that people, including myself, think: “Oh, this is just what happens; I’m getting older and having less energy.”‘
Derek, on the other hand, ‘didn’t want to accept that. I want to have as much energy as I possibly can. I look at people and role model them and say: “Wow. This guy is 60 years old and has more energy than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. What is he eating?” Success leaves clues; so does health.’
He went on giving his thoughts of a ‘role model’: “Why does he wake up at 4 a.m. on four hours of sleep with tons of energy and look fantastic? What is he doing?”‘
Derek has been a professional instructor on Dancing With The Stars since its 2007 fifth season, and has gone on to win six times, more than any of his confrères.
Background: Derek has been a professional instructor on Dancing With The Stars since its 2007 fifth season, and has gone on to win six times, more than any of his confrères