Dance Spirit has a great article up about Derek and 8 things we should know about him. Some details below, but, be sure to visit the site for much more. If you are like myself, there are some fascinating things you might not have heard before. Special thanks to Heidi and Pure Derek Hough for this news. Plus, if you haven’t swung by her site for Derek lately, be sure to do so as she’s got some great new high quality pictures of Derek and Julianne performing in Hong Kong and MORE.
4. He’s a perfectionist.
Derek holds himself—and his partners—to an incredibly high standard. But at one time, it was almost too high. “I mentally self-destructed on competition days,” Derek says of his early days on the ballroom scene. “I was terrible—I would fall apart, I would throw up. I’ve always danced better in rehearsals than I’ve ever danced in any competition.” Derek credits his time on “DWTS” to helping him let go, saying it taught him
“to have more patience.”
5. The “DWTS” schedule is demanding, but Derek’s no stranger to hard work.
While training with the Ballas family in London, Derek undertook an extremely intense training regimen. His days were filled with classes at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, where he studied everything from math to acting to music. After school, Derek, Mark Ballas and Julianne honed their Latin ballroom skills until 11 pm every night. Weekends were filled with lessons and competitions, and the rigid routine repeated every week. “It was a seven-day training regime that was hardcore and full-on,” Derek remembers.
6. The Ballas family changed the course of Derek’s dance career.
When he was 7, Derek met ballroom legend Shirley Ballas while taking master classes at Center Stage, and she immediately took notice of the budding superstar. “He and Julianne were like little stars,” she recalls. “One time, he didn’t come to class. I inquired about where he was and found out they were going through family difficulties. I asked someone to get in touch with him and, out of the blue, he asked if he could come live with me in London.” Derek and Julianne went on to live with Shirley, her then-husband Corky and son Mark (now both “DWTS” pros as well) for close to a decade.
7. Derek loves to take risks—on and off the floor.
Rick Robinson affectionately calls Derek “wild and crazy”—and we can see why! He’s been known to do everything from back-flipping off the judges’ table to breaking the “DWTS” rules with illegal lifts. Although Derek credits Corky for inspiring his “out of the box” ideas, Shirley Ballas says Derek’s been a daredevil ever since he was a tiny dancer. “He loved gymnastics and was always trying different tricks,” she says. “We tried to make him feel like he could conquer the world. If you instill fear, fear is what you will have—Derek is fearless.”
8. If it wasn’t for “DWTS,” Derek might not have returned to the U.S.
Derek was a star of the stage way before he stepped out on the small screen. While still in London, he had the lead role in the West End production of Footloose, and last year, he starred on Broadway opposite “DWTS” pro Kym Johnson and “SYTYCD” fave Mary Murphy in Burn the Floor. Without “DWTS,” Derek says he might have taken an entirely different course: “I was in London, busy doing my thing, and got the opportunity to come do the show,” he says. “I couldn’t pass it by.”