Derek Hough – Biography

Derek Hough is a two time Emmy winning choreographer (2013 & 2015) and the only six time champion of Dancing with the Stars. He was born on May 17, 1985 and grew up in Utah until the age of 12, when he moved to London to live and train with the Ballas family.

DWTS: Derek’s first appearance on Dancing with the Stars was during the fourth season where he helped his sister Julianne and her partner Apolo Anton Ohno with choreography. He also appeared the same week in a pro number during the results show with Julianne, Elena Grinenko and Tony Dovolani. His first season as professional was in Season 5 with actress Jennie Garth where they reached the semifinals and finished in fourth place. Till then, he appeared in 17 seasons, winning 6 times. His last season was with Marilu Henner (Season 23) where the two of them finished on 6th place.

TV & Big Screen: Outside of dancing, Derek has made cameo appearances in movies including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and got his first major starring role in the movie Make Your Move in 2011. The same year he guest starred on ABC’s sitcom Better with Your, while in 2014, he played a recurring role on ABC’s drama Nashville (Seasons 3 & 4). He appeared in 5 episodes in total on the show.
During 2016, Derek also guest starred on The CW series, Jane the Virgin, and hosted three special shows for Disney on ABC. The first one, Disneyland 60, celebrated the 60th anniversary of Disney, and the other two, Disney Holiday Celebration, co-hosted with Julianne, kicking off and celebrating the Christmas holidays. On December 7, he was part of the ensemble cast of Hairspray Live! where he played the part of Corny Collins.

On stage: Derek appeared in different theater productions while in London including starring in Footloose: The Musical on the West End. He made his Broadway debut in 2008 in Burn the Floor paired with fellow Dancing with the Stars pro Kym Johnson closing the show’s run at the Longacre Theater. In 2015, Derek was part of the show New York Spring Spectacular which took place in “Radio City Music Hall”. Along with him on stage were Laura Benanti, Jared Grimes and the iconic Rockettes. In 2017, he is set to be the lead on Broadway’s production for Singin’ in the Rain.

Music: In 2009, Derek and his best friend Mark Ballas founded a pop rock band, Ballas Hough Band, where he shared the lead vocals and guitar with Mark. He also wrote part of the songs for their debut album. Derek is also the co-writer of “Let me in“, a song that can be found on the soundtrack of Make your move.

Author: Adding author to his list of accomplishments, his first book, Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion, was released on August 2014 and made the NY Times Bestseller list.

Move Live Tours: Also the summer of 2014, Derek came full circle from his start in the DWTS Tour Company, to producing a sold out MOVE Live On Tour with Julianne, co-created and directed by fellow Emmy winners Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo, known as Nappytabs. The next summer, a second MOVE Live on Tour followed that was “bigger and better” according to Derek and Jules. The tour was also sold out and got great reviews by fans and critics. After taking a break for next year, Derek and Julianne returned with their third tour in 2017, MOVE Beyond Live on Tour, that both said it was “beyond everything they had ever done”.

Pictures from Move Live on Tour 2 in Thackerville and Nashville’s shows by Jo Swafford

2 thoughts on “Derek Hough – Biography

  1. I’m so excited about Derek staring in Singing in The Rain….I love tap I love Gene Kelly and I love Derek Hough….making plans now to see him on Broadway!!!


    • Same here! And I really hope I can manage to watch him on stage! I want it so bad! I wish you can make it there Darlene…and when you do, we are here if you want to share your experience 🙂


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