5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
Emmy Award winning and New York Times Best-Selling author Derek Hough, the only six-time champion in franchise history of the hit ABC show Dancing with the Stars, started dancing in his hometown of Salt Lake City, UT, at age 11. Just one year later, he moved to London to live and train with the top dance coaches in the world and attend the prestigious Italia Conti performing arts school where he studied theatre, music and dance.
Hough is best known for his innovation and daring choreography on the show. Hough is the winningest professional dancer with six Mirror Ball Trophies. His work has brought him Emmy nominations and inquiries from the film and music world regarding his dance knowledge and ability.
SD: You have performed in Boston a few times. Is there anything that you like about the city?
DH: Oh my gosh, I love Boston! I was just there a couple of weeks ago with my girlfriend. One of my favorite things to do in Boston is just to walk. It’s the perfect walking city. I love going visit the library, the aquarium, and walk around the wharf. It is such a special place.
SD: Did you think “Dancing with the Stars” would be a hit?
DH: My first thought was “that show sounds ridiculous.” Who would have thought that it was going to be such a huge hit? I am lucky enough to have been a part of such a fantastic show.
SD: What types of preparations do you have to go through to prepare for this tour?
DH: For the first time, I am having a live band on stage with me while I perform. The live music component is going to be great. I have been getting all the music and the arrangements together for it. I also enlisted help from my friend, Michael Bublé. He sent me his original recordings, so my band can play them. I want to make sure that we have the best live sound possible. As for the dancing, I really treat it like bootcamp. I want to make sure that I am at my absolute best.
SD: What are some of the most important elements of storytelling for you in your dance work?
DH: Making sure that the narrative is clear. If you’re going to tell a story in dancing, you need to make sure that the message is absolutely crystal clear to the audience. You want it to invoke the right emotions from the audience, but in order to do that, you have to truly embody either the character, the story or the narrative. Most importantly, you must believe it, or the audience won’t.
SD: Pick the one word that describes your dance career?
DH: Unbelievable – When I look back at where I started and the journey that I have been on is just unbelievable. I was a kid growing up in a small town in Utah, who then moved to London to train with the best in the world, then I became a world dance champion, it’s just unbelievable. It all has been really a dream come true and a privilege for me.