‘Derek Hough Live! The Tour’ comes to Mohegan Sun Arena
Derek Hough is clearly delighted to serve as a judge with Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo on NBC’s Sunday night “World of Dance” series. And why not? Who wouldn’t want a front row seat to all those sensational acts competing for a $1 million prize?
But the six-time “Dancing with the Stars” champion isn’t one to stay off the stage too long. That in mind, he’s embarked on his first national solo tour, including a stop at Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday, April 27.
Although it’s called a solo tour, he won’t actually be alone. Hough will have seven world-class dancers with him, plus a live band. “We’ve never had live musicians and I want to catch that live concert feeling, where if you just came for the music you’d love it,” he said.
The Emmy winner (for choreography) shared more in a phone chat last month. “The dancers in the cast are blowing my mind every day in rehearsal,” he said. “They’re doing things I wish I could do. That’s why I wanted this level of dancing in the tour.”
Hough, 33, started dancing in his hometown, Salt Lake City, at age 11. A year later he moved to London to train with some of the world’s top coaches, attending the prestigious Italia Conti performing arts school. His talents grew from there.
This tour is a way to really experience the relationship and energy between the audience and performers, said Hough, who has been known to pull people onstage from the audience. If you don’t meet him that way, you might catch him at a meet-and-greet; he said he really enjoys “those moments where we can connect.”
Hough said creating this show was “like a jigsaw puzzle.” He’s been involved in every piece, “from the musical arrangements to the mash-ups,” playing instruments and even singing. And there’s so many different kinds of music, he had to find the right flow so it would feel seamless.
“The most challenging thing is the physicality — maintaining high energy, but being smart about where to takes breaks and breaths,” he said.
“I didn’t even mention the costumes. Oh my gosh! The costume department has pulled out all the stops. I joke the dresses are so beautiful, diamond encrusted, sparkly and stunning, the dancers don’t even have to dance; they can just walk out and we’re good.”
Since many fans know Hough from “World of Dance,” we also asked him to share something about himself and Lopez that folks may not know. “She literally drops everything for her kids,” he said of Lopez. “If they Facetime her in the middle of a taping, the whole production shuts down (for that time). I love seeing that firsthand, that she’s busy with a million things but she’s a mom, too, and her priorities are in the right place.”
As for himself, Hough said fans sometimes ask if he’s always as high energy/happy as he seems? “I’m just like anyone else,” he said. “I have those doubts and negative feelings and dark moments, but I consciously work at it ... to have the life that I want. It’s not just automatic; it’s conditioning — the way we condition ourselves to honor it and move past it.”
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Mohegan Sun Arena, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville. Saturday, April 27, 8 p.m. $39, $29, $19. 800-745-3000