Early Life and Passion for Dance
Born in Utah, Derek Hough discovered dance at a young age and was hooked instantly. He began training in ballroom, jazz and tap around age 12 under the instruction of champions Corky and Shirley Ballas. Seeing Hough‘s raw talent and potential, the Ballas‘ brought Derek to London to study and compete in prestigious international ballroom competitions.
From a young age, Hough displayed incredible artistry, technique and stage presence. He honed these natural abilities with relentless training and competition experience. During his dance training in London, Hough also began landing professional stage roles, appearing in productions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the West End and a stage version of Footloose.
Unparalleled Success and Popularity on DWTS
At 21 years old, Hough landed a role as a professional dancer on the smash hit show Dancing with the Stars in 2007. Paired with actress Jennie Garth, the duo finished a respectable 4th place – an impressive debut for the newcomer.
The next season, Hough won his first Mirrorball trophy with Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson. Their win kicked off a historic 6 championship reign on the show for Hough. His record now includes:
- Season 7 with Brooke Burke
- Season 10 with Nicole Scherzinger
- Season 11 with Jennifer Grey
- Season 16 with Kellie Pickler
- Season 17 with Amber Riley
- Season 21 with Bindi Irwin
Hough is renowned for his ability to transform novice celebrity dancers into skilled ballroom performers. His brilliant choreography and dazzling routines on DWTS broke creative boundaries, incorporating contemporary styles while still highlighting his partner‘s abilities.
Beyond the Mirrorball trophies, Hough‘s popularity and sex appeal made him a breakout star. His boyish charms, magnetic stage presence and undeniable talent earned him 9 Emmy nominations and the affection of fans across the globe.
Branching into Stage, Screen and Tours
While best known for DWTS, Hough has explored projects across mediums while taking breaks from the show. His stage credits include:
- Leading role in Footloose: The Musical on Broadway
- Title role in productions of Jesus Christ Superstar
- Tony Award winning performance as Don Lockwood in Singin‘ in the Rain on Broadway
On screen, Hough has appeared in films such as Rock of Ages and Make Your Move, as well as TV shows like Nashville. From 2017-2020, he was a judge on World of Dance alongside Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo.
Hough has also toured extensively, bringing his talents on the road for Move Live tours with Julianne Hough. These tours allowed Derek to connect with fans through high-energy dance performances in arenas across North America.
Returning to DWTS as a Judge and Choreographer
After some time away from the ballroom, Hough returned to DWTS in 2014 as a guest judge and choreographer. His visionary choreography continues to push the envelope of creativity and modern dance styles on the show.
In September 2022, ABC announced Hough would return as a full-time judge for Season 31. With decades of history and insight into the competition, his expertise will be invaluable in guiding a new generation of star dancers.
Derek Hough: Master of Movement
With his magnetic charisma, limitless talent and trailblazing choreography, Derek Hough has undoubtedly made an indelible impact on dance and reality TV. His artistry and athleticism have brought dance to the forefront of mainstream entertainment.
Leaving a Lasting Legacy on Television Dance
As the most titled dancer in DWTS history, Hough‘s record-setting 6 Mirrorball trophies may never be surpassed. His legacy lives on through his ongoing choreography and now judging role, as he continues to shape the future of dance on the show he defined.
Pursuing New Creative Ventures
While he will always be intrinsically linked to DWTS, Hough‘s talents extend far beyond the TV ballroom. With his sky-high ability and name recognition, the possibilities are endless as he pursues new creative projects across mediums as a triple-threat entertainer.