After rising to fame on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and making cameos across TV screens and Broadway stages, Derek Hough laces up his dancing shoes once more for Derek Hough Live!, the Emmy winner’s first solo tour. Featuring dynamic numbers and a live band, the performance draws influence from Latin, hip-hop and Hollywood’s Golden Age. The leading man took an intermission to chat with us before the show hits the stage at the Boch Wang Theatre on April 23.
Out of all of the dance styles, what in particular spoke to you about ballroom? I think the human contact, where you’re dancing, but it’s not just about you, it’s about your partner and the connection that you have, both physically and the performance connection emotionally. There’s something about it that just amplifies the experience.
What can audience members expect from the performance? You can definitely expect a lot of energy—very dynamic and filled with a lot of color. I’ll be doing everything from ballroom and Latin to sambas to Argentine tangos to hip-hop to tap to musicals to Broadway, big bands and rock ’n’ roll. That’s the joy about what I do. I’m able to flex and flow between so many different genres and so many different styles. There’s definitely going to be something in the show for every single person. It’s going to be high-energy, high-impact, a lot of fun and a guaranteed good time, without a doubt.
Do you have any big influences or inspirations when it comes to your choreography, in the show or in general? I get a lot of inspiration from the classics and old-school stuff. Actually, I’ll be replicating some of these classic iconic moments from the Golden Age Hollywood movies in my show, which I’m really excited about. Also, a lot of my inspiration comes from friends of mine who are choreographers right now and who are going to be choreographing some pieces for my show. They’re so talented and so amazing. I get a lot of inspiration from them and my dancers. The dancers I’m taking on the road, some of them I saw and wanted to take them from World of Dance season two. They actually competed on the show, and I’d love for them to be on the road with me. Their abilities, their athleticism, their artistry inspires me to create.
Do you prefer dancing solo or with a partner? Personally, I prefer dancing with a partner. That’s why it was so important for me to cast a phenomenal partner, and I have this incredible champion Latin dancer. Remarkable. She’s the current champion, accomplished and Olympic-level ready. There’s something about dancing with a partner that I enjoy more.
Photo: Rosalie O’Connor
■ Boston Ballet presents George Balanchine’s Coppélia on March 21-31, bringing romance and whimsy to the Boston Opera House. Set in an Eastern European mountain village, the comedy chronicles a man’s journey to woo a woman after spotting her reading on her balcony—little does he know the woman is actually a lifelike doll crafted by an eccentric toymaker. Balanchine, who served as an adviser to Boston Ballet in the ’60s, reimagined this old tale in 1974, adding a third act. And while the company didn’t debut it until 2010, the passionate story was also performed in 2013—meaning there’s likely to be plenty of love for this crowd-pleasing ballet.
Photo: Julieta Cervantes
■ Boston native and choreographer Will Rawls collaborates with poet Claudia Rankine for What Remains, showcased at the Institute of Contemporary Art on April 12-13. The piece, weaving together movement and poignant verses, meditates on the notions of presence and surveillance through the lens of the black American experience. Four dancers clad in billowing black costumes will use stillness in contrast with bouts of measured, continuous movement to explore these ideas in both a historical and present-day context.
Photo: Rachel Neville
■ The Dance Complex packs a triple threat during Elevate, an evening-length program featuring three female choreographers running April 19-20. Heather Bryce, Erin Carlisle Norton and Shana Simmons will each showcase a piece from their repertories before presenting a collaborative work inspired by their experiences as well as feminism in our current political climate. Drawn together by a passion for creating multi-layered performances, the three choreographers aim to spurn social change and empower women through dance.
Photo: Timothy Avery
■ Boston-based contemporary dance company Project 31 grapples with how internal and external forces affect an individual’s personal authority during Under Control, the troupe’s follow-up to its promising debut. Taking the stage at the Boston University Dance Theater on March 2-3, the work explores the degrees of emotional pressure we face in our daily lives and in extreme circumstances using choreography by artistic director Kenzie Finn and company member Lindsey Orgren.
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